In this video, I’m going to break down the good, the bad and the ugly when it comes to duplicate content in SEO terms. How do you identify duplicate content? What do you do when you find duplicate content? What kind of duplicate content does Google actually care about and actually want you to optimize and fix? Well, all of that will be revealed and more coming up.
Darren Taylor: Hey guys, Darren Taylor of thebigmarketer.com here, and my job is to teach you all about digital marketing. Now, if that sounds up your street, you should consider subscribing to my channel. In this video, as I said in the intro, we are going to break down the good, the bad and the ugly when it comes to duplicate content and SEO.
I think the first place to start is identifying what is duplicate content anyway? Well, it’s exactly as it sounds. Duplicate content means that the copy and the content on your web pages is duplicated either on your own websites or another website across the web. If you have a page with content and text on, and that exact copy of that text is put on another page of your website, that is duplicate content.
Again, if you have that same text but on another page on a different website as well, that is also duplicate content. In terms of actual duplicate content, it all depends on one key factor and that is the volume of duplicate content. Now, what do I mean by that? What I mean is, if you have a website, like a lot of websites have, where you have a repeat amount of content on every single page that’s fixed in place, this could be a footer, it could be widgets, it could be contact regions, it could be a fixed piece of content on your websites, that is usually okay.
If you have a page that fits that criteria and you are duplicating that piece of content across your websites, you won’t be penalized by that because the volume of that much content is quite low, Google expects the footer to be duplicated and that’s absolutely fine. Now where the problem comes up is if the volume, in terms of the content on the page, is highly duplicated as well. This is where it becomes a problem.
Now, what I mean by that is, if I have a web page with, for example, 300 words on it, and of those 300 words of body content, excluding the footer and excluding other fixed elements in place, if those 300 words are replicated on another page of my website, word for word, then I have a duplicate content problem. Again, if I go into that, and say, if I duplicate that content or someone else takes that content and duplicates it on another page across the web, then that’s also a duplicate content crossover and Google will look at that and decide what to do depending on the scenario. Let’s start off with the first one, which is what are the implications of duplicating content across your website? Well, simply put, it confuses the hell out of Google.
When you have duplicate content across two pages of your website, Google will look at those two pages that are trying to, I guess, answer a question that somebody would potentially type into Google and they think to themselves, “Which one of these two pages should I give the answer to the user for?” If they’re identical, then there’s a problem so Google decides to do something which is indecision.
What might happen is– It’s called flux in the SEO world is that one page might be ranking highly and then all of a sudden, it will switch and they’ll keep switching places because the content is so similar, and then eventually, Google will ultimately not make a decision, and it will really negatively impact your ranking. It’s really important to stay on top of your duplicate content and make sure you tell Google which page to index or remove the page that’s not relevant and just keep one fresh piece of content that’s unique.
As I said there, you might need to keep both pages because even though the content is duplicated, they might still serve a purpose of your website. In that scenario, what can you do? Well, what you’d need to do in that scenario is tell Google which version of the page you want to index. Now, a way of doing that is using a canonical tag. A canonical tag is simply a way of telling Google which page holds the master or the original piece of content that you want Google to index.
What would happen is on your main page, you’d have a canonical tag self-referencing itself and on the secondary page that you don’t necessarily want Google to index, you’ll have a canonical tag referencing the original piece so Google will know at that point what page should be indexed on the search engines. You’ll see an example of a canonical tag on the screen right now and this is exactly what the tag is. This tag should be added to the head tag of your websites in order for Google to find it and to utilize it as well.
Another thing to mention about duplicate content is that it doesn’t just come down to having multiple instances of a page you know about, it can also come down to your URL structure. Now, historically, I’ve made videos about the best types of URL structure to use for your blogs and articles but what might happen is that the type of website you’re building or the type of content management system you’re using might create multiple variations of the same page because the URL might be different.
For example, one URL might have a trailing slash after the URL another one might not. One might have dot php at the end, another one might not. Another one could also have a query string on the end of it as well. If all of these are being indexed, then technically, they’re all duplicate content pieces and canonical tagging can help resolve this as well. That’s another thing to think about when it comes to duplicate content.
Now, I mentioned at the beginning of the video that there are implications of external duplication as well. If somebody copies the content on your websites, or if you copy the content on someone else’s website, or indeed if there’s an agreement in terms of new syndication where a story could be generated by multiple websites and shared, what is the implications of that on SEO? Well, first of all, if someone tries to copy your content, and you’ve identified that they’ve copied your text word for word, and it’s a competitor or it’s a website spamming, then you can actually report these to Google.
If you go to the URL on the screen right now, then Google will actually be able to look into the issue and resolve it for you. This issue is something Google will have to resolve themselves. The same goes for you by the way. If you copy someone else’s website, they can more than likely report you to Google as well and again, it can have a negative effect on your SEO so guys, just don’t copy people’s content. I know you won’t anyway.
Finally, when it comes to syndication of content and copying articles that are meant to be syndicated in an agreement then the original poster, and the original person who listed the content and indexed it will get the benefit from an SEO point of view so it won’t necessarily be a good thing if you’re a content syndication site and you’re publishing the content on behalf of someone else, the person who published it originally will have the better SEO results long term. That’s something else to think about as well. I know some of these things can’t be avoided. There are obviously content syndication platforms and content does get passed around by that syndication method and there’s nothing that can be done about that but that’s just something to be aware of as well.
Now you guys know the good, the bad and the ugly when it comes down to duplicate content and the implications on SEO. I really hope you guys understand that and I’ve linked up in the description below further reading for SEO and further videos around SEO for you as well. Thank you guys so much for watching this video. If you liked it, leave a like below. Let me know in the comments if you’ve come across any duplicate content issues or maybe a competitor has stolen all of your content, let me know in the comments. More important than that, don’t forget to subscribe. Check out the other content on my channel and I’ll see you guys on my next video.