Duplicate Content: I Know Just Where to Put That

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Duplicate content should not be used. Plain and simple. What is so evil about duplicate content that you should flush it down the toilet, or place it someplace else? Why is it so evil and how is it affecting you?

Google defines it:

Duplicate content generally refers to substantive blocks of content within or across domains that either completely match other content or are appreciably similar.

There’s also such a thing as non-malicious duplicate content and deliberate duplicate content. Let’s just take a guess and figure out which one you should NOT do. (Hint: it’s deliberate duplicate content). Non-malicious duplicate content includes (a) discussion forums (b) store-items linked via multiple distinct URLS (c) printer-only versions of web pages.

Okay, so that’s not intentional and there are ways to fix it, so you don’t get penalized. However, the content that you want to flush down the toilet or shove it someplace else is the deliberate duplicate content. This is the content that is intentionally copied to manipulate search engines and increase your rankings. This results in a poor user experience and Google is cracking down on these sketchy practices. (Pro-tip: don’t do this)

Search Engine Trouble

When the Panda update rolled out in 2011, Google put an end to poor quality content sites showing up in the SERPs. Some have called it a “penalty”, while others refer to it simply as “reorganization”. Either way you slice it, your site is not being found on Google and it can be attributed to duplicate content.

Here are the actual repercussions of duplicate content:

  • Search Engines aren’t sure which version of the content is the original and which to include or exclude from their index.
  • Search Engines won’t know where to point the trust and authority. Is it the original page; are there other factors on your site that make it more relevant and helpful?
  • Search Engines won’t know what version to rank in search results (it inadvertently does affect your rank).
  • And the results that Search Engines return are less relevant (now, who wants that?)

There are ways to protect your site from being penalized by Google. These rules apply to the non-malicious duplicate content and Moz offers some great tips on how to prevent duplicate content from affecting your website.

Fresh & New

Sounds like an awesome tagline, doesn’t it? Well – it’s the tagline you should adopt for your content. Google wants to see a content being consistently updated or added to your site.

  • Don’t be stagnant – adding fresh and unique content to your site can only benefit you.
  • Implement best practices – Make sure you aren’t just regurgitating other sites information.
  • Follow the Rules – If you have not yet reviewed Google Webmaster Guidelines take the time to really understand them. It’s for your own good.

Don’t suffer from duplicate content, and don’t try to manipulate the process – it won’t work.

So, forget the ctrl +c and ctrl +v (copy / paste), toss that notion down the toilet and flush it. It’s time that you showcase just how unique you are. And if all else fails, let us help – we’ll show you just where to put your duplicate content.

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Vicky Simpson

Director of Content Strategy
Vicky Simpson is the Director of Content Strategy at Customer Magnetism. Her days are filled with brainstorms, content creation and promotion. When she's not being creative for CM, she is baking cakes or walking her dog!

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