Are you a business in Nairobi and this keeps happening to you?
While duplicate content is an issue and can harm you in the SERPs, it’s not as scary as many make it out to be. Unless you are maliciously trying to manipulate the SERPs, Google and the other search engines won’t typically penalize you. But, as stated in the article below, there are still negative consequences for having duplicate content on your site. I recommend crawling your site, then doing your best to clean up and resolve all issues. The crawlers and your users will be grateful!
A shocking truth is that not all duplicate content is created equal.
Since content is a vital element of good SEO, most people trying manipulating this result by using the “copy and paste” approach and google has been known to punishing this practice.
But if you duplicated content unintentionally, continue reading this article and learn how google treats duplicate material. Also, get tips on how to ensure your site’s content is fresh and unique.
Google states that “Duplicate content on a site is not grounds for action on that site unless it appears that the intent of the duplicate content is to be deceptive and manipulate search engine results.”
The above quotation therefore implies that google won’t penalize you, but if you do have some duplicate content, you should clean it up.
Duplicate content is classified into three classes:
- Exact duplicate: Two URLs have similar content
- Near duplicates: Two different pieces of content have small Differences
- Cross-domain duplicates: exact or near duplicate content is found on multiple domains
Before getting into the tips of how to deal with duplicate content, let’s first of all look at the consequences involved.
DUPLICATE CONTENT CONSEQUENCES
If you posted a piece of duplicated content, in most cases, the search engine will simply filter it out and display what they believe is the best version in the SERPs.
Below are some of the common consequences linked with duplicate content.
- Wasted crawls: A search bot visits your site with a crawl budget. If there is a lot of duplicate content on your website, it wastes the bot’s crawler budget, and fewer of your unique, good pages will be crawled and indexed.
- Wasted link equity: Duplicate pages can gain PageRank and link authority, but this isn’t of much help, because Google won’t rank the duplicated content. This means you will have wasted your link authority from those pages.
- Wrong listing in SERPs: it’s a mystery of how the search algorithms work. So if you have multiple pages with exact- or near-duplicate content, you don’t get to decide which pages get filtered and which pages rank. This means the version you want to rank may get suppressed.
AVOIDING DUPLICATE CONTENT
How can one avoid duplicated content? Duplicate content on your site will not be of use for the search engines or your end users. With that being said, aim at preventing negative impacts by taking care of the issue.
You can fix any duplicate content issues using the following ways:
- Using 301 redirects: This is a helpful approach if you are planning on removing any duplicate content material from your site. Since some of those pages may have received links, it’s a good idea to have those pages redirected permanently to the correct URL. This will tell the user, and, in this case, more importantly, the search bots, where to find the proper content.
- Blocking with robot.txt: Another useful option recommended is using your robots.txt file to block duplicate pages from being crawled. However, Google doesn’t recommend this approach, stating, “If search engines can’t crawl pages with duplicate content, they can’t automatically detect that these URLs point to the same content and will therefore effectively have to treat them as separate, unique pages.”
- Using rel=”canonical”: If you are planning on leaving your duplicate content up, using the rel=“canonical” link element is the best option. This step tells the search bots which version of the content is the “true” version. The code below tells the search bots where to find the true piece of content.
Add this tag to the header of your duplicate piece of content, link as so:
<link rel=”canonical” (tag)
Of all of the possible SEO problems to tackle, columnist Ryan Shelley says duplicate content is one of the easiest. So it shouldn’t strike fear in you, as long as you follow the tips provided above, you should be ace!