Content duplication is one of the most common SEO mistakes that could jeopardize the efficiency of your website in the long run. Although not as dangerous as some webmasters believe, internal duplicate pages can seriously deteriorate your content creation efforts and minimize the odds of growing website traffic.
The main problem of content duplication is the sheer complexity of the subject as there is no clear line that precisely separates good and bad duplication practices. It forces webmasters to invest a fair share of time in learning because it’s the only way to understand what internal page duplicates really are and to deal with them.
We want to give you a hand here, so keep reading to see the following:
- The definition of content duplication
- Common content duplication examples
- Problems caused by content duplication
- Practical ways to identify duplicate content
We have a long way to go here, so let’s dive straight into the topic!
What Is Duplicate Content? Definition and Stats
There are tons of duplicate content all over the World Wide Web, but don’t let it confuse you. In most cases, this is not what we call plagiarism. There are many possible causes of content duplication, but we should first take a look at Google’s definition and see how the largest search engine explains it.
By definition, duplicate content generally refers to substantive blocks of content within or across domains that either completely match other content or are appreciably similar. According to Google’s Search Console Help page, it’s a well-known Internet phenomenon that is mostly non-deceptive in origin.
For example, non-malicious duplicate content is frequent among eCommerce stores showing the same item in different categories. It is also a common thing in mobile-focused discussion forums and lots of other places.
A report reveals that nearly 30% of websites currently active online are struggling with content duplication. In other words, almost a third of all sites contain at least a little bit of duplicate content.
Jake Gardner, one of the best SEO-focused essay writers, adds that Google does not penalize websites with multiple pages relying on pretty much the same content: “They consider it to be a natural phenomenon, but you can suggest Google which one of these URLs should be treated as most relevant. Google even has a special name for this process and it is called canonicalization.”
Common Content Duplication Examples
We already mentioned that Google and other search engines do not consider content duplication to be a bad practice per se, but you should keep an eye on it nonetheless. After all, duplicate content can harm your ranking long-term, as we are going to explain in the next chapter.
Now, the main questions are: Are you aware of duplicate content on your site? What are the most frequently seen examples of duplicate content? If you are not really sure, let us show you a few common cases of content duplication.
1. Product descriptions on eCommerce websites
This is probably the most frequent case of content duplication because different eCommerce stores may use the same version of a product description. For example, you can find a lot of similar or identical product descriptions on Amazon and eBay.
2. The same page in multiple website categories
Another case of duplicate content might take place within a single website. Such internal page duplicates are not a novelty, but rather a well-known feature. Once again, online stores could place the same page in different categories. For instance, a raincoat-related content could go to the raincoat section, leather products section, and special offers section at the same time.
3. Problems with different URL versions
One more detail you should worry about is the URL structure of every page. Sometimes you will find the same content on www and non-www links, which leads to content duplication.
4. Administering several sites with similar content strategies
There is also the option of administering multiple websites with more or less similar content strategies. In this case, it’s easy to make duplicates and place the same content across multiple channels.
5. Publishing someone else’s content on your website
Many websites redistribute other people’s content without ever publishing anything original.
What Makes Content Duplication Bad for Your Website
You’ve seen the main examples of content duplication and learned to recognize it instantly, but you should also know what makes this feature bad for your site in general.
We repeat that it’s not a matter of penalties as Google is not going to harm you directly for creating duplicate content. On the contrary, the problems are much more delicate and you should bear it in mind all the time.
Problem number one comes in the form of link popularity dilution. This happens with all websites that don’t pay attention to URL consistency. Instead of having a unique link to every piece of content, you are allowing different versions of the same URL to be available. In such circumstances, you are wasting the opportunity to build a strong, popular, and authoritative web page.
The second issue is that Google might, for some reason, decide that the worst-looking URL is the one that users should learn about first. It makes the web page link look awful and may even harm the reputation of your site or business as a whole.
Unclear content origin is yet another problem you could be facing here. With multiple pages offering the same sort of content, it’s easy for users and search engines to get lost and identify the initial content designer.
Practical Ways to Identify Duplicate Content
After everything we’ve stated so far, the only thing left is to learn the most practical ways to identify duplicate content on your website. The vast majority of webmasters rely on one of these techniques:
1. Conducting a simple Google search
The first tactic is probably the easiest as all you have to do is to conduct a simple Google search. All it takes is to search for a particular keyword or phrase and analyze the results. If you notice a page leading to your website, but don’t like the URL shown, rest assured you are facing a case of content duplication.
2. Watch for Google Search Console alerts
Another highly practical option is to create an account on Google Search Console and use webmasters tools for duplication alerts. That way, Google will automate the process and instantly inform you about new cases of duplicate content on your site.
3. Analyze the crawler metrics
You probably know that Google uses search crawlers to index web pages, so you might as well analyze the results. If you see that crawlers are indexing more pages than you actually have on your site, then the problem lies in content duplication.
4. Test the site using a digital tool
We saved the best for last. Our favorite solution is to use a digital platform to test websites for duplicate content. For example, a tool like Siteliner will do the job quickly and effortlessly. Your only task is to insert the website domain and see the results shortly.
Up to You
Content duplication is not the most terrifying SEO problem, but it definitely is the most frequent optimization issue. Although it doesn’t have to jeopardize website performance, it is always better to keep an eye on internal page duplicates and eliminate malfunctioning elements from your site.
In this article, we gave you the definition of content duplication, explained the most common practices, and showed you a few practical ways to identify duplicate content on your website. How do you plan to cope with internal page duplicates after reading our post?
Liam Catalan is a digital marketer and a blogger from Melbourne, Australia. Liam is a fruitful content creator who knows how to write my essay with ease. He is the father of a lovely toddler and a passionate long-distance runner.