A quick guide to duplicated content and Google

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All clients, and without exception, who are looking to optimise their websites to get better ranking on Google (other search engine do exist…) will have asked me about the dangers of duplicating content. So here is the low down.

Why is this important?

Google rewards fresh and regular content; but there is limit to the amount new and interesting topics one can write about (and chances are someone else in the world has written a similar article), and we all have so little time.

Legacy of cheating

Early Google algorithms based rankings on the amount and frequency of content updates. Sadly there was nothing to stop wise guys stealing / copying vast amounts of content and pasting it directly on to their own website to get to number 1 in the ranking, and this became an epidemic. To stop this blatant cheating Google launch their Panda update on duplicated content, and many subsequent updates.

  • Only sites that are blatantly copying large amounts of content for profit have been banned
  • Duplicated copy across your own website is ignored
  • Duplicated content from other sites is downgraded depending on the similarity and frequency

Examples of duplicated content

  1. Systemic duplicated content – this is content duplicated due to the nature of the website, most frequently e-commerce website where there is a page for a blue jumper and a red jumper. Google can handle this and will make up its own mind on which page to index and which to ignore, alternatively you can manage this Google decision manually by using canonical tags.
  2. Press releases – sharing a really good press release is good for customer experience but not good for SEO. Google won’t penalise, it will just give that page no value.
  3. Accidental duplication – most people don’t know that http://www.mysite.com and  http://mysite.com are in fact two identical sites. This is simply resolved using Google Search Console.

Checking your site for duplicated content

There are services available for checking your site for any duplicated content, though these are typically paid for services. Best thing to do… hire Crush design to help you manage your website and its optimisation!

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