Duplicate content is content that appears on more than one URL. The overall goal for any website is to have zero duplicate content. Although that makes sense, it’s pretty much impossible for your website to have nothing but unique valuable content. Google’s Matt Cutts came out in 2013 saying that 25-30% of Web’s content is duplicate. So what does that mean for your authority with Google? Matt goes on to say it’s ok to have duplicate content and you won’t be penalized for it.
THE PROBLEM WITH DUPLICATE CONTENT
Technically, duplicate content doesn’t come with a penalty but it still can affect your rankings. If the same content is in multiple places, the search engines can have a tough time deciding which page to rank higher. Search engines can get hung up on duplicate content for many different reasons.
- The search engines can not separate which versions to include or exclude from the indexes.
- They also do not know whether to direct the link metrics to one page or keep it separated between multiple versions.
- Lastly, they do not know which versions to rank for the keyword or query results.
Search engines are not the only ones who have issues with duplicate content. You can lose rankings and traffic as well. As Google’s algorithm has evolved, so has its priority on user experience. . For this, search engines in most cases won’t show the same content multiple times. They will have to make their “best guess” on which content to show. In other words, the best way to make sure your content shows up where you want it to show up is to have the content be as unique as possible.
HOW TO FIX DUPLICATE CONTENT
Most digital marketers say the best way to fix a duplicate content error is to set up a 301 redirect. Not only do you fix the duplicate content error, you also can pass on link equity to the new page and stop them from competing against each other on the results page. Another effective way to deal with duplicate content is placing a canonical tag. A canonical tag is a way of telling search engines that a specific URL represents the master copy of a page. Say you have a page built for your ads that contains the same content as another page on your site, but frames it in more of a conversion rate optimization format, you would want to be sure and add a canonical tag to the ad-based page telling search engines you would like to rank the core page on your site in search engine results. Using the canonical tag prevents problems caused by identical or “duplicate” content appearing on multiple URLs. When Search engines crawl your site they like to be able to see everything in case you’ve made an error somewhere. Google has been very clear that restricting crawl access to duplicate content on your website is ill advised. While there are reasons to keep search engines from indexing certain pages, duplicate content is not one of them. The meta robots tag allows search engines crawl your links without indexing them. There are other ways to combat duplicate content but these are the most common and help against ranking drops.