Website SEO and Duplicate Content
Did you know that duplicate content could hurt your website SEO because search engines will penalize you for having it? When the same content shows up in different URLs, it’s considered duplicate and it’s going to hurt your site performance. It can cause your site to rank low in searches, which will reduce visibility and have a negative impact on your business. If it’s a big problem and Google determines it was intentional, they could even drop you from the index completely, so you want to avoid this problem whenever possible.
When you think of duplicate content, you probably think of someone posting the same blog or article in multiple places online and that is one way to end up with this problem but it’s not the only way. Most everyone knows you’re not supposed to post content in multiple places and they avoid this practice. The problem is that many people still do it by accident. They don’t realize that there are other ways to have duplicate content other than intentionally posting the same information more than once.
Unintentional Ways Duplicate Content Occurs
You may have duplicate content on your website and not even know it’s there. Say for example you have a “services” page that describes all of the services your company offers and then you have a “pricing” page that lists the services and the prices for each one. That is considered duplicate content because both pages list your services even though one adds the prices and because they have different URLs.
Another way to end up with duplicate content is through Pagination, which is when you separate a long article into sections and place them on different pages. Each page will have the same title and description for the article.
Another example is using both http and https or using www sometimes and leaving it out at other times in your URLs. Even though the link goes to the same site, people are getting there two different ways so it looks like duplicate content. A few other ways sites end up with this problem is through affiliate codes, sorting and session IDs.
Why Search Engines Penalize for Duplicate Content
Website SEO and duplicate content do not go together very well. Search engines use spiders to crawl your site to look for information related to the keywords searched. When you have duplicate content, it makes it difficult for the search engines to determine which one is the most relevant. It has to choose which one to use because Google strives to provide original content for users and that won’t happen if search engines place two pages with the same content on the results page.
Duplicate content is a real problem that can hurt your online marketing efforts. If you’re having problems ranking high in searches maybe it’s time to re-evaluate your site. One of the best ways to ensure you don’t have duplicate content is to hire a professional to help look for problems and to make changes where needed.