By Brad Keys
One of the largest problems for Google and other search engines is “duplicate content.” As the name implies, this is any type of material that shows up on the internet on more than one website. This means that if there is any bit of content on your site that also shows up anywhere else on the web, you’ve got duplicate content—and it’s not exactly helping your search ranking. Here we will break down the reality of what this actually means and some actionable items to solve the duplicate dilemma.
How Much of the web is duplicated?
A recent study by Raven Tools across all crawled pages with some interesting findings:
- 29% of pages had duplicate content
- 22% of page titles were duplicate
- 20% of pages had low word counts
- 17% of meta descriptions were duplicate
The conclusion of this study gave the prescription to remove the thin or duplicate content and rewrite with unique, high quality content should increase your organic rankings and traffic on Google.
Others feel that is won’t do much harm so the juice is not necessarily worth the squeeze. I have found this to be a case by case basis. If one of your SEO landing pages dedicated to specific keywords is using duplicate content it certainly will be devalued and will not rank as high. However, if you have an ecommerce site and have some “filler pages” that you are not necessarily trying to actively rank than re-writing that content generally gets pushed down infinitely on the to-do list.
While some say that duplicate content doesn’t necessarily hurt your search ranking, it definitely does not help them. The problem is that search engines like Google are trying to provide an excellent service and user experience with the most relevant content possible so they don’t want to list the same result multiple times. Duplicate content, or what Google calls “appreciably similar” content, can make it difficult for the search engine to know which website is most relevant to a specific query, decreasing the viewability of every bit of content that counts as a “duplicate.”
The second way duplicate content hurts you is because of diluted link equity. Inbound links are a ranking factor that search engines use, and when views to the content are split between multiple sites, this impacts the viewability of the content on your site and the authority of specific URLs.
Identifying Duplicate Content
It can be difficult to know if your website contains duplicate content. Even when people try to avoid it, duplicate content can happen. If fact, a majority of duplicated content occurs without any intention of doing so—mainly due to things like URL variations, HTTPS, or using generic product descriptions. Below are some methods you can use to help start finding duplicate content on your website and correct it.
Google Search Console
Source:: Business 2 Community