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Duplicate Content SEO Guide: Cause & Effects

Kevin James Curran
Oct 16, 2021 5:00:23 PM

The problem of duplicate content is on the rise today. And dealing with it has become a source of constant worry for every website owner out there.

 

With thousands of blogs being written and hundreds of sites coming up every day, it becomes almost impossible to avoid duplicate content altogether. However, there are several effective ways to prevent it.

 

In this guide, we'll take a closer look at what duplicate content is, how it is caused, and its effects on your website. We will also walk you through the best ways of checking and fixing duplicate content. So, let's get started!

What is Duplicate Content & What Are its Various Types?

As the name itself suggests, duplicate content is content that is not original. A piece of content that is somewhat identical or exactly identical to the content on another website or different web pages of the same site is deemed duplicate content.

 

Duplicate content is mainly of two types: onsite or internal duplication and offsite or external duplication. Let's have a brief look at both of them.

 

  •     Internal or Onsite Duplication: This type of duplication occurs when similar content is duplicated on your website's more than one unique URL. In other words, when you have identical content on two or more pages of your website, it is known as onsite or internal duplication. You or your development team can control it.

 

  •     External or Offsite Duplication: This type of duplication occurs when exactly similar or somewhat similar content is published on two or more different websites. External duplication is generally out of your control, and you cannot control it directly.

What Are The Causes of Duplicate Content?

More often than not, website owners don't intentionally create duplicate content. Unless we are talking about somebody plagiarizing your entire content and publishing it as their own, most of the duplicate content on the Internet is created unintentionally. 

 duplicate content seo

Let's take a look at some common causes of duplicate content:

 

1.   Having More than One Version of the Same Website

One of the most common causes of content duplication is having two or more versions of the same site. For example, say you have a website called www.example.com. You also have another version of it named example.com (without the "www" prefix). Both of the versions are visible to search engines and have the same content. This will naturally create a problem of content duplication.

 

Similarly, if you maintain both the http:// and https:// versions of your site and both of them have identical content, you may have to face duplication issues.

2.   Scrapers and Content Thieves

Third-party websites copying your content and publishing it as their own without your knowledge and approval is also a common cause of content duplication.

3.   Variations in the URL

Many times, URL parameters that are used for tracking or sorting can also cause content duplication issues. For example, look at the following URLs:

 

https://www.xyz.com/product-1

https://www.xyz.com/product-1?source=rss

 

Now, both these URLs will lead to the same page. But search engines often treat such URLs as two separate pages containing the exact content, causing duplicate content issues.

Duplicate Content SEO: Why is Duplicate Content an Issue for Your Website’s SEO?

Duplicate content is harmful to your website for the same reason unique content is beneficial to it! Unique and original content helps you stand out. And it makes it easier for Google to index and rank you. But when you have pieces of content available on several other places on the Internet, it becomes difficult for Google's crawlers to discern the original one. Hence, it provides all the duplicated pages with lower ranks.

 

Google does its best not to index pages with duplicate content. In Google's own words, "Google tries hard to index and show pages with distinct information."

 

While content duplication is generally not penalized by Google, it most certainly hurts your search engine rankings, affects visibility, and causes SEO problems. When you have poor visibility, the chances of you reaching your target audience or increasing sales decrease significantly. Therefore, it is crucial to identify content duplication and fix it before it can cause severe damage to your website.

 

Effects of Having a Duplicate Google Site

A duplicate Google site has to face several negative impacts. The two major ones are:

1.   It Reduces Your Organic Traffic

As we explained earlier, Google, or any other search engine for that matter, doesn't want to rank pages with duplicate content. Therefore, when there are multiple pages with the exact or almost similar content, it makes it difficult for Google to rank you, and thus, it decreases your organic traffic.

2.   Less Indexed Pages

Another negative of having duplicate content on various pages of your site is that sometimes Google refuses to index them. So, your pages will not even appear on the search engine results. Naturally, this will negatively affect your traffic, visibility, as well as SEO efforts.

 

How to Fix Duplicate Content SEO Issues?

Fixing the problem of duplicate content is not as difficult as it may sound. There are several simple and effective ways to improve it like a pro! Let's take a look at the most popular ones.

1.   Leverage the 301 Redirects

301 Redirects is the simplest and quickest way to fix content duplication. It allows you to redirect all the duplicate content pages on your site to their original source. This ensures that Google bots only index the original pages, and you'll get rid of the duplicity.

2.   Add the Noindex Tag

Have you ever wondered how can a third-party website avoid duplicate content issues with republishing your content?

 

Well, they do this by using the "noindex" tag. This tag basically tells the search engine not to include a particular page in its search results. So, this prevents the search engine from indexing those pages, and you can use them without worrying about content duplication.

3.   Use Third-Party Tools

You can also use various third-party tools like Siteliner, Copyscape, etc., to spot duplicate or plagiarized content on your website and deal with it accordingly.

4.   Include the Canonical Tag

Google advises webmasters and developers to use the rel= "canonical" tag to fix content duplication issues. This tag informs Google crawlers that "we have several pages with duplicated content but THIS ONE is the original. So, you can index this and ignore the rest."

 

Using the canonical tag is a great and effective way to fix duplicate content issues without blocking your duplicated web pages.

Conclusion

So, there you go! That was all about duplicate content SEO issues and how to fix them. Unfortunately, discovering and fixing duplicate content can be a daunting and time-consuming task. So, if you think you need a helping hand to deal with these issues, we are here for you!

 

At NewReputation, we follow the industry best practices to help you fix your duplicate content issues. Not only that, but we also ensure that you don't have to encounter them ever again! Our extensive SEO services will boost your traffic and help you achieve all your goals.

Contact us now!

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