Effect of Duplicate Content on SEO and Google Ranking

Search Engine Optimization

There is duplicate content when two or more instances of the same content are in multiple places on the internet. This can occur because of several reasons. It is possible that a website owner did it purposely. It could also be a result of unintentional mistakes or technical difficulties. Whether this is accidental, website mismanagement, or plagiarism, the issue needs to be addressed and handled correctly. There is however a right approach to content duplication and one which could result in less value for those that patronize your website.

Having duplicate content with the same SEO technique could cause harm to the original creator of that content. Let’s say there are three of the same content on different websites with the same Search Engine Optimization technique, a search of the keywords will force the search engine to return one of the identical pages as the top search. The problem here is that it may not be the site of the original creator of that content. Whether you manage a website for a small business or a large corporation, all sites can be vulnerable to this type of issue thereby defeating the purpose of using SEO techniques. Creating a guideline that informs people on how to avoid this problem will be a good move towards combating this. You can spread these guidelines around through file sharing on emails or social media platforms. Unzip files so it is easier to share them online. Let us look at the other negative effects.

Google’s ‘penalty’ on duplicate content

The search engine doesn’t like duplicate content very much. So, somehow duplicate content gets punished by Google. It is like a myth though because a penalty for duplicate content is not exactly written down but when there are duplicates on two or more different URLs, it burns the crawl budget and the effect is a dilution of signals. Google’s official page on content duplication on the webmaster guidelines states that:

“In the rare cases in which Google perceives that duplicate content may be shown with intent to manipulate our rankings and deceive our users, we’ll also make appropriate adjustments in the indexing and ranking of the sites involved. As a result, the ranking of the site may suffer, or the site might be removed entirely from the Google index, in which case it will no longer appear in search results.” – Google

So, it may appear that there is no penalty for content duplication, but rankings can be lost and your site was taken out from the Google index if the system perceives any search result manipulation.

Gets Google confused

When there are several duplicate contents, making a search of the keywords related to them may not do you any good. Normally google is supposed to display just one of the identical contents but it doesn’t happen all the time thereby making multiple or similar versions of the same page showing up. Imagine doing a search and Google returns fifteen identical contents. This will not benefit someone trying to get different people’s opinions to form his.

Indexing of URL parameters

Most eCommerce sites face this indexing of URL parameters. It is not exclusive to the eCommerce sites alone though. It has been noticed that some sites use URL parameters to create page URL variations. This can lead to search engines indexing different versions of the URLs, including the parameters which might affect someone else who is innocent and oblivious of what is happening. So if your website uses URL parameters, you need to be wary of the crooks trying to create a variation of what you have.

Lower Google ranking

When content is duplicated, it means it is available on different URLs on the web. Since more than one URL is showing this content, search engines will not know which one to rank higher in the search result. It could cause the URLs to be ranked lower while preference is given to other web pages.

Final word

No one wants to do a lot of work creating unique content for the purpose of making his website more visible only for someone to steal his work and rank higher on Google. It is discouraging and very annoying which is the reason why a solution to this problem is very important. This may take some time to fight off but if you make it a point of duty to manage duplicate content, you will be able to improve your rankings.

As an SEO specialist Norvin identifies strategies, techniques and tactics to increase the number of visitors to a website and obtain a high-ranking placement in the results page of search engines

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