Does Duplicate Content Hurt SEO Rankings?
Content is the lifeblood of a website. After all, it is the very thing that people visit a website for. It is no wonder that in SEO, so much focus has been placed on content optimization. One of the most controversial topics of discussion within the SEO community is duplicate content. When content appears on a site in two or more locations, it is what SEO experts refer to as duplicate content. Does duplicate content hurt your SEO rankings? The short answer is yes. Duplicate content is almost always a red flag and can have a detrimental effect on your site’s overall performance. Let’s take a look at why and how.
What is duplicate content?
Duplicate content is content that appears on multiple pages within a single website. It can refer to a small amount of content or an entire page, and it can appear both intentionally and unintentionally.
In the case of duplicate content on your own website, it usually happens by accident — you may have forgotten about a blog post or product description and it is showing up on multiple pages. Duplicate content from other sites is usually intentional — webmasters may have plagiarized or copied your original article.
What causes duplicate content?
Duplicate content is any set of web pages that has the same (or nearly identical) content. Some examples of duplicate content include:
- Multiple URLs for the same page.
- Using the same content on multiple pages.
- Copying content from another site and publishing it on your own website.
- Using content from your own website on another website e.g blog syndication.
How to find and remove duplicate content
There are several ways to find and fix duplicate content on a WordPress site. If you have access to Google Search Console, the easiest way is often to use the “HTML Improvements” report, which identifies duplicate page titles and descriptions. However, a better option is often a plugin like Yoast SEO, which offers canonical URLs as well as other features that help with duplicate content issues.
If you don’t have access to Search Console but still want an easy way to find potential duplicate content issues on your site, we recommend using Siteliner. This nifty little tool crawls your website and makes note of areas with identical or very similar text (including title tags). However, it has its limitations; like any automated tool, it’s not always accurate. Nevertheless, it can be a great starting point for finding problematic areas of your website.
How does Google treat duplicate content?
Let’s say we’ve got a product that’s been around for a while, and we’re just adding a new version or modifying some of the features. Is this duplicate content? According to Google, it’s not. This is because Google will choose one version of the page to be its “canonical” page—the version that will be indexed by search engines like Google. The other versions will then be removed from the index and won’t appear in searches. That means that the page with the canonicalized version (indexed) will have more visibility in Google search results than any of its duplicates would have had before.
Duplicate content can have a negative impact on your SEO rankings if it isn’t handled properly.
There’s no search engine penalty for duplicate content. But that doesn’t mean it’s not hurting your website.
Duplicate content is a common issue that many website owners don’t realize they’re dealing with. In fact, Google estimates that about 30 percent of the web is composed of duplicate content.
If you have duplicate content on your site, it means Google isn’t able to index all your pages. That can cause major problems for your site’s SEO and traffic.
The best way to eliminate duplicate content on your website is to continuously improve and optimize your website’s content for search engines. This means staying ahead of the curve and focusing intensely on developing new content that improves lives. An SEO agency can radically improve the content of your website and make sure that your website is ranking high on Google and other search engines.