What is Duplicate Content and Why You Should Avoid it
The way in which search engines now work is far different from that of the early days of the internet. Therefore, search engines and Google, in particular, are now looking for uniqueness. When it comes to content, Google uses algorithms whereby it seeks out the most relevant content that relates to the search query. Of course, the internet is massive and there is a lot of content out there but Google wants to deliver the very best results and so, it expects website owners to create content that is unique and so, duplicate content should be avoided.
What is Duplicate Content?
Essentially, this is content that appears in more than one location on the internet. The one place ie defined as a location that has a unique website address but if the content is found in more than one location, then duplicate content is present.
As mentioned, Google loves fresh, authentic and unique content. While having duplicate content is not considered to be a penalty, it can impact search rankings. When Google crawls the web, if there are multiple pieces of content out there then Google calls it “appreciably similar” content that sites in more than one location. Therefore, it can prove difficult for search engines to determine which is more relevant to the search query. So, why does duplicate content matter and why should it be avoided?
As mentioned, it makes it difficult for search engines to determine which version to include or exclude. But they also are unsure whether to directly link metrics such as trust, anchor text, authority and many other variables to one single page or separate them from other versions. This then means that they are unsure which version to return in the results page and that is where rankings can be affected.
Duplicate content is a problem for search engines but it is also a problem for site owners. If duplicate content is found then site owners might find that their rankings drop and their traffic decreases. This can be caused by two problems.
Search engines do not have the ability to display several version of similar content and so, it has to make a decision based on what it thinks is the best result. This then reduces the visibility of all duplicate result in a loss of traffic.
Link equity can also disappear as it can mean that other sites have to decide between duplicates. In a perfect situation, every inbound link will point to one piece of content that is displayed on one page. However, they then link to several pages. This dilutes the link equity over the several duplicate pages. As search engines use inbound links as a ranking factor, they can then have a negative impact on the visibility during a search for each piece of content.
What Does it All Mean?
You should not ignore duplicate content, it is as simple as that. It can cause problems for search engines, cause a reduction in traffic and can have an impact on rankings. To deal with duplicate content, regular monitoring is required but it can be fixed very easily. Therefore, ensuring that your website is free of duplicate content will help it to perform better when it comes to search engine rankings.