Duplicate content is content that appears in more than one location on the internet. It can be an exact copy of the content or even very similar content only with a few differences. Duplicate content can exist on the same or different websites. It is important to note that duplicate content is frequently penalised by search engines because it makes it challenging for them to determine which prototype of the information to show in search results. As a result, website owners must recognize and deal with any examples of duplicate content on their website.
Why does duplicate content matter?
For search engines
- They are unsure which version(s) to include or exclude from their indexes.
- They are unsure whether to consolidate the link metrics (trust, authority, anchor text, link equity, and so on) on a single page or keep them separate across multiple versions.
- They are unsure as to which version(s) to rank for query results.
For site owners
- Site owners may suffer ranking and traffic losses if duplicate content is present. These losses are frequently caused by two major issues:
- Search engines rarely display multiple versions of the same content, so they must choose which version is most likely to produce the best results in order to offer the best search experience. Each duplicate is less visible as a result of this.
- Because other sites must choose between the duplicates, link equity can be further diluted. As a result, the link equity is distributed among the duplicates rather than all inbound links pointing to one piece of content. Because inbound links are a ranking factor, this can affect a piece of content’s search visibility.
What causes duplicate content issues?
The vast majority of website owners do not create duplicate content on purpose. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. According to some estimates, up to 29% of the web is duplicate content!
Let’s look at some of the most common ways duplicate content is created unintentionally:
- URL Parameters
URL parameters such as click tracking and analytics code can result in duplicate content issues. This can be caused not only by the parameters themselves, but also by the order in which they appear in the URL.
- HTTP versus HTTPS, or WWW versus non-WWW pages
If your site has separate versions at “www.abc.com” and “abc.com” (with and without the “www” prefix), and the same content is present on both, you’ve effectively duplicated each of those pages. The same is true for sites that have both http:// and https:// versions. You may encounter a duplicate content problem if both versions of a page are live and visible to search engines.
- Content that has been scraped or copied
Not only do blog posts and editorial content count as content, but so do product information pages. Scrapers republishing your blog content on their own sites may be a more familiar source of duplicate content, but e-commerce sites face a similar issue: product information. If multiple websites sell the same items and all use the manufacturer’s descriptions, identical content ends up in multiple places across the web.
We hope that you’ve enjoyed our blog post on duplicate content. As you can see, duplicate content can be a problem for your SEO efforts. But if you follow these helpful tips to avoid duplicate content, then you can ensure that your SEO efforts are working as hard as they can.