How Does Duplicate Content Affect SEO?

SEO positioning is paramount in modern-day business. Where you are on the Googles search list and how you position yourself can make or break your enterprise. There are many pitfalls and catch-22s on the way that stand between you and success. Sometimes it may seem like you are doing everything right, and you still are not getting results. SEO rankings are affected by a myriad of factors. Some of them are directly under your control, some are not. Duplication of content is a vast subject but one that is ultimately important for your SEO results. How, what, where, etc., is what we will cover in the coming points so we can help you out as much as possible. Without further ado, let’s get into the gist of the matter.

1. Duplicate VS copied content

Making the distinction between the two is crucial when progressing further into the matter. Simply put, duplicate content happens involuntarily, and copied content is usually a product of malicious practice or voluntary action. Duplicate content can happen by accident when you try to optimise your website. When you have multiple HTTP, HTTPS, http://yoursitename and https://www.yoursite name instances, Google treats them all as duplicates. We will cover how to treat them in the following points.

Copied content is a product of malicious intent, usually by 3rd parties that want to profit from your hard-made content. Locating such dissidents and reporting them to Google will net you two positives. The first is that your rankings will improve as Google will remove the copied content, and the second is that the offenders will get punished. Keeping a vigilant eye out for mistakes and protecting your interest is a good start to improving your rankings.

2. Concrete action

Optimising your website performance and clearing up any confusion helps Google differentiate between an honest duplicate mistake and copied content. Think of these actions as a way to help and ease Google in ranking you, and you will realise how important such actions are. Google appreciates any help it can get, and you will only profit by investing in site clean-up duty. So, what can you do? First, you can implement a 301 redirect, which fills funnel traffic from the non-preferred versions of URLs to the preferred versions.

If you have a location that has to be accessible to visitors at all times then you must not use the redirect method. Instead, you can use a canonical URL or a robot’s index redirected. Plan B is to do a re-write of the original content. When you want to remain fresh and to have different content, a re-telling of the original is the best way to proceed. Don’t show the new writer what needs rewriting, but let him start from scratch. That way, your new content will be unique and not burdened by its previous copy.

3. Professional help

When it comes to fighting the claims against whether your content is a duplicate or a copy, it comes down to experience. Making the distinction between the two and taking action will help resolve the situation as a matter of time, experience, practice and practical know-how. All of which are perfectly fine and obtainable if you have the dedication. Sometimes you need quick and decisive actions. In other situations, it can be too costly for a company to invest in its department, which will tackle any SEO conundrums.

When you put it all on paper and weigh the pros and cons of such options, you will find that outsourcing your needs to a trusted such as ‘corePHP’ or our trusted friends’ who run an amazing SEO agency is the best course of action. Such experts have the necessary manpower, experience and tools at their disposal, to make quick work of any potential threats. And such collaboration does not be a one-time endeavour. A long-term partnership ensures the stability of your content and SEO positioning. When you find the perfect partner for your business, your content stays in safe hands, and you can rest assured that it’s safe once it’s out in the wilds of the internet.

4. What is canon and what is not?

Canonical URLs are the easiest to explain via shows. You may watch two or three series on the same topic and come to ask yourself “What’s canon of this and what’s fiction?”. Now apply the same logic to your webpage, and you can see how duplicates happen and confuse search engines. Let’s say, for example, that your site sells an item X, and you offer ways to customise your page. From the theme to language and outlook.

If you are not careful with your coding, each variation of your settings creates a new version of your page that will conflict with the main one. While not directly a malicious intent as you don’t want to create multiple pages, if not done correctly, Google will treat them as duplicates. To solve this, you need to implement canonical URLs. One needs to be made for your main, starting page, and this will be the anchor. Such action will prevent duplicate content, and it will consolidate your page authority. Plan B is to make it easier for Google web crawlers to do their job and direct them towards what’s your main and only page. You can do so via Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools for the best results.

5. Solving re-publishing

Internet collaboration and re-publishing your content is a great way to grow your audience and revenue. When you partner with a 3rd party publisher and make a willing agreement for mutual profit you can create duplicate content by accident. In this situation, your content is present on two pages, or more if you have more collaborators. Even thou you’ve both done this willingly, and with mutual consent, Google can treat such content as duplicated or, even worse, copied content. Luckily for both parties, such outcomes are easily preventable by ensuring that your 3rd party collaborator clearly states his source.

They can do so by including a backlink to your original article, and a canonical link. Such practices tell Google that this article is published under mutual agreement and that no foul play is involved. Publicly crediting the source is also a good business practice that saves you a lot of hustle down the road. There is also a situation of rewriting content that also needs clarification. Google’s web crawlers are fine-tuned to recognise such actions and to prevent them from false flagging your re-written content always include and credit the original author in the text.

6. HTTP VS HTTPS

Internet standards are always evolving. What is the norm today can change in a hearth beat, and something entirely new can pop up. Such was the case when we all had to switch from HTTP to HTTPS. While this switch is responsible for plenty of benefits, there are a few downsides as well, and those come in the form of how Google indexes your un-optimised pages. Your site is a complex contraption of each page, where some can have HTTP and others can have HTTPS extensions in their URL.

Even worse is if you have made a transition from HTTP to HTTPS and left behind some old HTTP pages. Both of these situations cause involuntarily duplicates to appear and mess up your SEO rankings. Standardize all your URLs and choose only one practice. We suggest going with HTTPS as it’s a new and secure protocol that Google highly values, and it will bring you the most visits.

7. Going Global

When your business has outgrown its borders, and you need to expand to new territories, it’s time for celebration. Business growth is an important milestone in any company’s lifecycle. A possible threat to your international SEO positioning is if you don’t do your site localisation. An example would be when you wish to offer sites for the UK, USA, Canada and Australia (among all others). All content should be localised for best results by country, but sometimes there is no point in creating localised content, and you are best left to employ your resources to market growth.

If you are still determined to implement each page for each country, localise and translate all of your content accordingly then you need to follow the proper procedure to avoid getting flagged for duplication. Always embed hreflangs, as well as language and location targeting for each of your localised pages. That way, you are telling Google that you are willing to offer each market segment the same service, and Google loves good content. Taking steps to ensure your users and Google have a good time navigating your site, is the key to success.

Making any concrete action ensuring your content and SEO ranking remains safe is certainly better than idly standing by. We may view duplicates and copies as synonyms, but Google very much differentiates between the two with its sophisticated algorithms. But even they need a bit of help from us from time to time as a machine still cannot read from context like a human. Going that extra mile which will clear things up and highlight your profitable content will help your overall SEO practice.

 

Michael Pignataro
co-CEO - Operations at 'corePHP'
Michael spearheads ‘corePHP’s software solutions and service offerings. Focus on sales and marketing for the organization. A huge believer in family and has an amazing wife and 4 beautiful children. Loves camping and hiking.

Michael's philosophy is simple: "If you can dream it, we can do it."
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About Michael Pignataro

Michael spearheads ‘corePHP’s software solutions and service offerings. Focus on sales and marketing for the organization. A huge believer in family and has an amazing wife and 4 beautiful children. Loves camping and hiking. Michael's philosophy is simple: "If you can dream it, we can do it."

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