The topic we want to address today is clear from the heading, so let’s dive straight to the point and start with an example that illustrates the perils of content duplication.
Before that, a little brief on what content duplication is.
It refers to content that appears on multiple URLs, either from the same website or different websites. Duplicate content can confuse search engines, which find it challenging to determine which content version should be indexed.
Coming back to the example.
Let’s say you own an e-commerce website that sells watches, and for your website, you have copied product details from the manufacturer’s website. It is likely that other watch sellers sell the same brand and have picked the same product descriptions from the manufacturer’s website. In this case, search engines find it challenging to determine which site from the lot should rank higher in the game. Your site may incur lower search engine ranking in the competition and potentially lose out on sales to your competitors. Moreover, the users may feel frustrated for coming across multiple websites with similar product descriptions leading to trust issues.
Here are some downsides of content duplication for your reference:
Decreased search engine ranking:
Duplicate content confuses search engines, driving them to rank your web page lower in the search results. Search engines like Google prioritize pages with unique and relatable content to the users; on the other hand, copied content gets lower search engine rankings.
A penalty from search engines:
In rare cases, search engines penalize sites for content duplication. This case might result in a significant drop in search engine rankings. It could be a bad influence on sites that rely on organic traffic for their business growth.
Bad impact on customer experience:
Content duplication has the worst effect on customers who feel misled and deceived by copied content. It negatively impacts customer morale, who might ditch the idea of associating with any brand that gives a low priority to its customers.
Here’re some quick fixes to content duplication.
- Start off with fresh content: The simplest way to deal with content duplication is to rewrite it altogether. The uniqueness makes it relevant for both users and search engines.
- Use canonical tags: It is an HTML element that guides search engines to the preliminary version of a web page. Using a canonical tag ensures search engines from indexing the duplicate pages and that the primary pages gain all search engine value.
- USE 301 Redirects: In case you have multiple versions of the same pages, then you can use 301 redirects to redirect all of them to a single version. This is a practical indication that the original page has been moved permanently, and the value related to any duplicate page will be directed to the primary page.
- Leverage meta robots tags: it is another HTML element that informs search engines about pages that need to be indexed and pages that need to be ignored. It is an efficient tool to prevent search engines from indexing the wrong pages.
- Consolidate pages: For different pages carrying similar content, it is best to consolidate them into a single page. This approach allows site owners to collect every information relevant to users in one source; thus, the search engines end up indexing the right page. It prevents content duplication from occurring.
We hope it has become crystal clear to you that it is best to fix the duplicate content as soon as possible, as it can negatively affect search engine rankings and ultimately damage a site’s performance.