Our Melbourne SEO Experts take you through a commonly overlooked element of your search engine optimisation plan. Find out why duplicate content is so damaging for your site and how to avoid it…
In 2022 the world of business is moving increasingly towards being online. There is a reason that digital marketing agencies in Australia alone are part of a market worth more than $2 billion every single year!
Search engine optimization is one of the most powerful ways for people to successfully navigate digital marketing.
Unfortunately, a lot of business owners make the mistake of using duplicate content when trying to rank higher on search engine results.
Sure, this is an easy strategy that might actually yield you some good results in the beginning. But what most people don’t realise is the damaging effects this has for the longevity of your site when it comes to Google algorithms.
So what exactly is so damaging about duplicate content for SEO? Here’s some important things to help you understand duplicate content and how to avoid it when establishing your SEO campaign.
What Is Duplicate Content?
Duplicate content is when the same content appears to exist in two different spots on the Internet. It’s also when two pieces of content seem almost identical.
Some people create duplicate content on purpose. They think that by copying existing quality content, they can also enjoy the same results the content is already creating.
But this is not an ideal strategy. Search engines such as Google are smart when it comes to detecting copied content. Over time, sites identified as copying existing content will start to see the impact on their overall search engine rankings. This is commonly referred to as the Google slap.
In saying that, duplicate copy isn’t always a malicious thing. As Melbourne SEO experts, we’ve seen quite a few business owners who have ended up creating duplicate content by accident.
There are a few ways of doing this:
- They don’t realise that someone else has already written and posted similar content on other sites (quite common, really!)
- They are setting up their website so that users can access the same web page by typing in different URLs.
- Copying elements of your existing content onto multiple pages in your site (which is common for businesses who operate in multiple locations).
While these practices seem quite innocent, it does still, unfortunately, have an impact on search engine algorithms.
How Does Duplicate Content Change Your SEO Results?
Search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing use complicated algorithms to determine which sites they want to rank for different search terms. These algorithms decide which web pages end up at the top of search results and which ones end up lower down.
What does that mean?
Essentially, this means that search engines want to show content that provides value for people using the search engine platform to ask their questions. As a result, the algorithm is full of rules that try to determine when websites are genuinely providing value versus when they are just trying to “game the system”.
In general, duplicate content has been identified as a practice used by people who are unwilling to provide genuine value. With that in mind, if you have any duplicated copy on your website, search engine platforms will impose a penalty on your website. That will essentially lower your website in their rankings.
In fact, the algorithm might decide not to show your site for certain search results at all. Think about how damaging that could be to your bottom line if potential customers no longer see you when searching for answers to their problems.
How To Avoid Duplicate Content Penalties
So, now you know the impact of search engine penalties for duplicated content, how do you best avoid these?
As a business owner, you’ve likely placed a lot of time and money into your website and it’s a valuable asset to your company. You want to make sure it meets the strict conditions of search engines so that customers can continue to find you online and do business with you.
Using professional Melbourne SEO experts will help give you the best possible chance to ensure your content is relevant and original. Also, thinking back to our point above, it provides value to your users (and search engines!) when they visit your site.
But, to give you an idea of just some of the ways you can avoid duplicate content, here are some tips to get you started:
- Keep your content original, fresh, and full of value.
- Use plagiarism checks to ensure your content isn’t duplicated from other sites.
- Add NoIndex tags on pages you don’t want to show in search engines.
- And use canonical tags on pages that need to include duplicated content.
- Where relevant, use page redirects.
Following these tips can help you manage some of the simpler ways to avoid copied content on your site. But quite often, as a business owner, your time is much better spent running your business rather than trying to navigate Google penalties. So, in most cases, it’s best to leave this with an expert to manage it for you.
How Melbourne SEO Experts can help you avoid the negative effects of duplicate content
Hopefully, some of the ideas we have shown you today highlight the importance of quality content for your website. Just understanding the negative effects of duplicate content for SEO will be helpful for you and your business.
The better you know the effects of duplicate copy on your SEO results, the less tempting it will be to use cheap and easy methods to gain the ranks of Google search results.
To learn more about avoiding duplicate content, reach out to our Melbourne SEO experts team. We assess your content to see how we can implement a plan tailored for your specific business needs.
Calem Koek is a web designer and owner of leading Melbourne-based digital marketing agency Elevate Websites. He has been helping businesses in Melbourne and across Australia scale their business online through quality website design and world class SEO services.