What Is Duplicate Content, And How Does It Impact SEO?

What is Duplicate Content and How Does it Impact SEO? 

Duplicate content is a situation where content exists on more than one website or URL. It may be a blog post, product description, or entire webpage that appears at multiple locations on your website. 

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Whether it’s one page or multiple pages, duplicate content is a bad thing for search engine optimization. What’s even worse is that Google doesn’t just down rank these pages; it refuses to index them. This means that your crawl budget is wasted and you could be losing out on valuable SEO opportunities. 

What is duplicate content?

Duplicate content refers to pages that have the same or similar content across different URLs. It can be exact content that is completely identical, or it can be a slightly different version of the same content that contains overlapping search intent. 

If you’re unsure about the definition of duplicate content, Google defines it as: “A block of text that contains information that is appreciably similar to existing content.” This could include changing words with synonyms or paraphrasing whole paragraphs. 

How does it affect SEO?

When there’s duplicate content, it makes it difficult for search engines to know which version of the content is the most relevant. This can negatively impact your search engine rankings and lead to decreased site traffic. 

Search engines will have trouble consolidating link metrics (authority, relevancy, and trust) for the different versions of the same content. This can result in lower search engine performance for all of the versions of the same content and a confusing user experience. 

Having duplicate content can also lead to internal competition for the same keyword. This can be especially dangerous if you’re an e-commerce business with several products that are sold in multiple sizes and colors. 

This will cause your competitors to compete for the same keywords, which can lead to a downward trend in your website’s search ranking. 

The most effective way to combat duplicate content is to use the canonical tag on your site. This tells Google which version of the content you want to be the original and the one it should credit with links and metrics. 

You can also use hreflang tags to help search engines recognize that different language versions of your content are intended for different audiences. This helps search engines understand which pages should be ranked and displayed in search results for each linguistic variant. 

What are the most common causes of duplicate content?

Often, duplicate content occurs as a result of technical mishaps or manual copying. However, it can also occur as a result of industry specific content services that hand out articles to companies for free. 

In addition, duplicate content can also be caused by other websites that scrape your site for content. This is considered a form of copyright infringement and should be taken seriously by any business that receives this type of content. 

In the end, a lot depends on how much you have duplicate content and what you do with it. If you have lots of duplicate content, you should focus on creating more original content to keep your website fresh and in Google’s good graces.