What is Duplicate Content?
Duplicate content is identical content that appears in more than one URL in search engines. Such content may exist because:
- A website might be copying content from others
- A single product may share identical product information across the many websites that it’s listed on
- A website might have changed to a new web domain and both domains share the same content
- Printer-friendly versions of content are created
- Multiple session IDs are created due to individual IDs being assigned to new web visitors
Why Avoid Duplicate Content?
When you have duplicate content online, it will be difficult for search engine robots to index your content and choose one over another. To prevent showing multiple identical search results, these search engines will most likely show only one version of your content in the SERPs (search engine results pages). The final content displayed may or may not be the version you want. You don’t have to leave that up to the search engines to decide. You can have control over the content that is listed in the SERPs through proper on page optimization techniques.
Another reason to avoid having duplicate content is to not have your website appear as a spam website because of efforts to drive more traffic through content taken from other sources. Though Google has stated that they do not have a penalty for duplicate content, they aim to only list original content that has great value, and they reward these content creators in kind by ranking the content better in the SERPs.
How Do You Avoid Duplicate Content Problems?
To reduce and avoid duplicate content problems, you should:
- Create content that is unique and valuable for your visitors.
- Maintain consistency through proper internal linking.
- Syndicate online content carefully. Search engines will choose the most appropriate version of the same content - and that may not be yours.
- Use a canonical tag - a HTML attribute that tells search engine crawlers what your preferred URL is for the versions of your content that is similar. This lets search engines decide which is the page you want connected to in a keyword-specific search query.
- Reduce the use of similar content. If you have a product that has the same product information across different websites, change the information by crafting variations of the details.
- Remove duplicate pages in the index of search engines by adding no index tags.
Learn more about why you should avoid having duplicate content and using other black hat SEO techniques in today’s world of online search.