Yes, even though Google does expressly advise against creating duplicate content, it also tells users that it won’t exactly destroy their hard-earned search engine rankings either. Generally speaking, Google’s algorithm does a decent job of figuring out which page out of several containing the same or similar content should actually rank. So how do we go about this exactly?

why is having duplicate content an issue for seo

Avoiding duplicate content

Avoiding duplicate content is important for both SEO and page ranking. In most cases, the problem is caused by inconsistent links and URLs, so standardizing the link structure is important. Another option is using canonical tags to program the preferred URL and version of a page. This option is available in Google’s Webmasters account. Although it does require some programming, it can help avoid duplicate content problems.

Duplicate content can happen due to human error or copying content from another website. When it is done intentionally, a website can face penalties. In other cases, duplicate content can be caused by improper configuration of a web server or different canonical domains. It can also be caused by cloning content, which is prohibited by Google.

The best way to avoid duplicate content is to use canonical tags, which tell Google which version of a page is the original one. This way, when Google sees pages A and B as being identical, it will recognize the main page as the original, which will give them more link equity. In addition, canonical tags point to your main page instead of redirecting users to the second page. This method is preferred over any other option for removing duplicate content, but it isn’t always recommended.

Internal and External Duplicate Content Issues

There are 2 kinds of duplicate content issues, let’s start with the internal one.

Internal duplicate content issues occur within one specific website, as with an eCommerce shop or an extensive informational website. Sometimes they may occur due to purposeful content reuse, but they are often accidental. Things such as product descriptions, meta elements, and URL-related issues. Do keep these aspects in mind to remain consistent and to avoid SEO issues. Now we’ll move on to external duplicate content issues.

Of course, not all duplicate content problems are internal. Websites, or content producers, with much original content of value to their names, will likely eventually see some of it republished, either with or without permission. Things like syndicated posts (which are permitted ones) and scraped content (non-permitted ones). Syndicated posts not only make you and your brand more visible, but it also has backlinks to your site which can send extra traffic on your way too while scraped content is usually very easy to spot. There are also serious penalties for deliberately trying to manipulate Google’s algorithm and search rankings in this way. If you do find yourself becoming a victim of content scraping then you should report the offending site to Google as soon as possible.

For more information about optimizing SEO come forward to us at Digital Specialist Co. for a free consultation.