Content Marketing

What Is Duplicate Content?

Unlock the secrets of duplicate content and its impact on SEO. Learn how to identify, manage, and enhance your website's content for optimal performance.

Jess Sawyer

You may have heard that you should be on the lookout for duplicate content because it can hurt your SEO efforts. And unfortunately, this is true - but not in the way you might think. The good news, though, is that the more you know about duplicate content, the easier it is to spot and fix.

In this article, we’re going to discuss duplicate content. We’ll talk about what it is, how it can affect your SEO, and give you some ways to identify this kind of content on your website.

What Is Duplicate Content?

So, what is duplicate content, exactly? Well, it’s probably just what you think it is: it’s when the same or highly similar content shows up on multiple URLs.

Okay, that “highly similar” part may be new. Yes, even similar content can count as duplicate content. For example:

The black cat is chasing a mouse.

The black cat is running after a rodent.

Sure, it has some different words, but that second sentence may as well be an exact copy of the first. As a general rule of thumb, if a piece of content:

  • Has very similar wording or structure with another page
  • Lacks originality
  • Provides no additional value to the reader

…then it may be considered duplicate content.

This means that it’s possible to copy your own content on your own website. For example, even a printer-friendly version of a page can count as duplicate content if both versions of the page get indexed!

While it can be easy to avoid posting the same content from other websites, it’s these often unintentional instances of duplicate content that owners need to be aware of. Especially when you consider the potential SEO-related consequences.

How Is Duplicate Content Bad for SEO?

Before we get into the SEO of it all, it’s important to note that there is no specific “duplicate content penalty” on Google. As long as the content isn’t being duplicated in an attempt to manipulate search engines, then Google isn’t going to tank your rankings for this reason alone.

However, duplicate content can impact your SEO efforts in other ways.

It Can Hurt the Ranking of Your Original Content

Google’s ranking system prioritizes original content. And so they should - what’s the point of providing searchers with an entire list of results if they all say the exact same thing? 

If you create original content and copy it elsewhere on your site, though, Google may have trouble figuring out which page is the original. And if they can’t, it can negatively affect your rankings. In some cases, your pages may not even rank at all.

It Wastes Your Crawl Budget

Your crawl budget is the number of web pages search engine bots will crawl in a certain period of time before moving on. So, if they’re busy going over the same content on multiple pages, your fresh, new content may not get indexed. And as you can probably imagine, this isn’t going to help your visibility on the search engine results pages.

It Can Weaken the Impact of Backlinks

Google likes pages with a lot of backlinks. If other websites are linking to your content, it lets them know that you’re likely providing some accurate, helpful information here, which can help your search engine rankings. But when you have multiple pages with the same kind of content, you run the risk of diluting that backlinking power.

For example, let’s say you have two web pages with nearly identical content. You may end up with 10 backlinks to one of those pages, and 15 to the other. This just won’t have the same SEO impact as having all 25 backlinks to the same page.

How to Identify Duplicate Content on Your Website

Do you think duplicate content is hurting your SEO efforts? It wouldn’t be a surprise. In their study on on-page SEO, Raven found that nearly 29% of web pages contained duplicate content. So, even if you’re fairly confident that your stuff is 100% original, it’s worth checking to see if any unintentionally similar content managed to get through.

Fortunately, there are a few ways you can identify this type of content on your website:

Do a Manual Check

If you have a small site (or a lot of time on your hands), you can go through your pages yourself to check for similar content. Then, you can rewrite and rework any potential issues that come up.

Use Google Search Console

For a faster method, you can always use Google to see how many pages they’ve indexed from your site. You can find it in your Google Search Console in the “Indexing” section under the “Pages” tab. 

Not only will it tell you the number of pages that are indexed, but it will also tell you when duplication is the reason that others aren’t.

Use a Plagiarism Checker

If you’re just looking to identify similar or identical content, then the previous methods may work well for you. But if you’re looking for something a little more efficient and comprehensive, then the best way to avoid any SEO-related issues from duplicate content is to use a plagiarism checker. 

Take Originality.AI’s plagiarism checker, for example. In seconds, this tool can identify and flag the types of duplicate content and advanced plagiarism that the others may miss, including unintentional, patchwork, and mosaic plagiarism. And to make things even easier, you’ll even get a plagiarism report with the matching quotes, paraphrasing, and URLs.

It’s Time to Make Duplicate Content a Thing of the Past

Sure, there’s no “duplicate content penalty” from Google. But that doesn’t mean that having this kind of content on your website can’t affect your SEO efforts. That’s why it’s still worth taking the time to identify and fix any duplicate content-related issues before they can impact your rankings.

So, whether you want to put in the effort yourself or use a quick, easy, and comprehensive plagiarism detection tool, start checking your site for duplicate content today. It could be what’s keeping you from the top of the SERPs!

Jess Sawyer

Jess Sawyer is a seasoned writer and content marketing expert with a passion for crafting engaging and SEO-optimized content. With several years of experience in the digital marketing, Jess has honed her skills in creating content that not only captivates audiences but also ranks high on search engine results.

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