What You Need to Know About Duplicate Content
Building a massive, healthy repository of content for your website or blog takes ample time and commitment. As the months and years pass, your brand’s content offerings will expand and provide opportunities for targeting search engine results, social media followings and even mailing lists with an unending selection of posts and pages.
Over time and through certain blogging and content creation tactics, the issue of duplicate content can arise. With as much as 1 in 4 pages being potentially considered duplicate content, it’s crucial to know what effects this can have on your brand’s SEO efforts.
Let’s examine the nature of duplicate content and what else you need to know about its presence.
The Basics of Duplicate Content
In short, duplicate content pertains to pages and/or posts that are pinging servers across one or more locations on the internet. Content that is republished on different websites as well as boiler-plate forms of content published across a variety of location-based subdomains can fall into this category. In the vast majority of cases, duplicate content is an organic occurrence and not the result of plagiarism or theft.
How Duplicate Content Can Affect SEO
The biggest concern over the existence of duplicate content obviously relates to SEO, but how can it impact overall performance? There are several reasons why such forms of content can negatively influence your SEO.
One such example is the way in which search engines choose to rank content that has multiple instances. For example, a short and tidy URL tends to take precedence over an unruly one, but this isn’t always true. The end result in these exceptions can be that search engine users choose not to click on your ranked URL given its unwieldy appearance.
Earning backlinks is another critical function of SEO. When multiple pages exist for a particular form of content, each page variation may earn its own backlinks. Rather than earning all of those backlinks for one instance of the page, they’re spread across multiple versions. This leads to less link juice for each instance of the content, meaning your visibility could be impacted in certain situations.
Last but not least, some websites actually attempt to steal content from lesser-known sources through a process called “scraping”. In instances where this occurs, the more prominent brand is likely to get credit for the content in question and therefore enjoy its SEO potential. While this doesn’t happen often and rarely will cause any direct negative backlash for you, it does once again lead to less SEO clout and traffic for your website.
Can Duplicate Content Directly Harm My Rankings?
Many express concern over the possibility that duplicate content may be treated comparably to other black-hat tactics such as keyword stuffing. The truth is that there are no direct penalties for duplicate content, meaning you don’t have to worry about such consequences from other people pinging servers with your own content. In the most egregious of situations where duplicate content is being used to obviously game the system, however, search engines may implement manual penalties and adjustments to counter such behavior.
Duplicate content can be confusing and worrisome for those who don’t understand it, but many concerns are overblown. While you want to minimize the number of instances in which it occurs, this is mostly to ensure you receive the full benefits of the content you created rather than suffering from repercussions. With this information, you can now rest a little easier knowing how duplicate content works.