If you know anything about SEO, you know that duplicate content is a huge red flag for Google. But what is it, exactly, and how can you avoid it? Here’s what you need to know.
What is duplicate content?
Simply put, duplicate content is content that appears word-for-word on more than one URL. It can also refer to content that is really similar to content that appears on another URL.
You can have duplicate content on several pages on your own website. Or, you can encounter duplicate content when other websites copy your content and post it as if it’s original content. The latter is arguably more problematic since this type of duplicate content gets into issues of plagiarism and copyright.
Does duplicate content cause a penalty?
A common myth about duplicate content is that it causes a penalty from Google. But, that’s not the case. That doesn’t mean you should feel free to copy and paste content from other websites onto your own URL, though. There are a lot of reasons not to duplicate content.
Problems with duplicate content
For users: When a user sees the same copy appearing over and over again in search results, it leads to overall poor user experience.
For site owners: Google has to pick which content is the best to show in SERPs, so in cases of duplicate content, one website will be shown and another will be hidden from search results. If your website is the one hidden, you lose valuable traffic.
How to avoid duplication
Google webmasters has an informative post detailing what you can do from a technical standpoint to prevent duplicate content when you have webpages with similar content.
Some simple strategies to avoid duplicate content from a writing standpoint include:
- Only write original content: The best way to prevent replicating content from other webpages is to write only original content. Doing primary research in the form of interviews and writing from experience will benefit users and ensure your content is wholly original.
- Make sure syndicate content includes links back to the original post: This goes for instances when your syndicated content appears on other websites along with when you post syndicated content on your website.
- Use a plagiarism checker: Here at People First Content, we run everything we write through Grammarly’s plagiarism checker to make sure there isn’t any unintentional content duplication. It’s a simple step to take to ensure the writing you publish is truly original.
- Set up Google alerts to track your website: It takes roughly 30 seconds to set up a Google alert for your website, which allows you to track mentions of your website. This makes it easier to find instances of copied content.
- Sign up for Copysentry from Copyscape: If you’re really concerned about people copying from your website, it might be worth paying for a service like Copysentry from Copyscape. This service checks the web for your copy and emails you whenever it finds any.
Original writing solutions for your business website
Writing professional, original copy is the best way to make sure your writing isn’t duplicated. Using tools to track your website will let you know if your writing is ever copied onto another website. From there, you can take steps to remove duplicate content.
A lot of businesses look to other websites for inspiration. They’ll ask us to write content in a similar manner or style as a competitor website. This practice is OK, as long as the content you publish is original and catered to your specific business. You never want to copy original work. This practice doesn’t just hurt you in search results; it’s also unethical.
If you’re struggling to come up with original content for your business website, don’t worry. We’re here to help and have experience crafting original content for businesses in a wide range of industries. If you’d like some professional support developing content that’s unique, let’s talk!