How Duplicate Content Hurts Your SEO


Many websites are based on templates which is a great way to create a consistent design. Templates can be modified to meet the specific design needs of clients and many clients in similar industries have websites with similar templates.  No problem here as long as the design is templated. However, when content is not original your SEO is negatively impacted. This applies not only to plagiarizing content from other sites but even repeating content within your own site can adversely affect your SEO.

Technically Google doesn’t have a policy for penalizing duplicate content.  Nevertheless, duplicating content confuses search engines and when search engines are confused your site suffers from SEO ranking dropping. It’s common for websites to have 25%-30% of duplicate content.  If you would like to learn more about how Google manages duplicate data you can go to Google Search Central

Search engines become confused when they are presented with duplicate content and are forced to choose the site they perceive to be the best one based on users search criteria. The search engines will also try to determine which site created the original content and rank it higher in searches.

Here are some general rules for avoiding duplicate content on your website:

  • Obviously, don’t plagiarize content from any other websites or sources.
  • Don’t create pages with minimal content.
  • Create content that offers value to your readers and clients.
  • Minimize using the same boiler-plate design on all your pages, change it up!
  • If you are using some links to other sites for informational purposes, be sure to manage it and keep it minimal in the context of your page.  For example, if you are providing resource links for clients keep those links on a separate page on your site.
  • Avoid duplicating content within your own site. You can re-enforce data but word it differently, don’t repeat phrases verbatim. 

If you’re concerned about duplicate content on your site you can use a program called Copyscape to check your site. Another quick and easy way to find out if a specific phrase is a duplicate is to simply do a search for the phrase using quotes (“) to frame the phrase. 


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