As a blogger and content creator, one of your main goals should be to grow your traffic by gaining search engine rankings. Being one of the first search results on search engines helps you get more page views, reach new audiences, increase your readership, and take your digital marketing to the next level. For that, you need to follow SEO best practices strategy and stick to creating high-value, quality, original content! No thin content here! BUT creating SEO-friendly content is more than just high-value content. It also means avoiding any no-nos. Those big mistakes that can risk penalizing your SEO are just as important. And you might not be super aware of them.
One SEO issue we see quite often, is called Duplicate Content. Duplicate content is content that’s identical or a near duplicate of another piece. This can happen either externally (through your website content being copied ) or internally ( if you have a duplicate page or blocks of text on your blog ). Duplicate content is dangerous for your SEO since Google can’t identify which piece of content is the original one. So you definitely want to avoid this! And this is exactly what today’s post is all about. Keep reading to learn exactly what is duplicate content and how to avoid it!
What Is Duplicate Content?
Duplicate content is either purposely copied and republished somewhere else, or it’s the exact same content featured on multiple by ges on accident. However it also applies to nearly identical content and replicated snippets! Duplicate content refers both to content copied by an external site or duplicate pieces of content within your own blog. This means duplicate content can happen if your site is displaying the same exact information on various pages. That’s why it’s important to keep it in check! We can’t tell you how many times we find duplicate content on new client websites. It’s honestly one of the biggest SEO mistakes we see. If you end up with duplicate issues on your site, it can negatively impact your rankings and hijack your reach. So let’s see how duplicate content affects SEO!
Does Duplicate Content Affect SEO?
First off, Google doesn’t impose a direct penalty.
If you’ve accidentally created a duplicate page on your own site or have a similar piece to an already published article, Google won’t impose a penalty on you. The only true case when Google punishes you for duplicate content is when you maliciously copy someone else’s blog posts. If you try to trick the search engines, then Google will take the matter into its own hands and hurt your rankings as a result. Still, if you’re just having technical issues or your site is set up inefficiently, you most likely won’t receive any kind of intentional penalty from Google! However, having accidental duplicate content on your site does reduce crawl efficiency and therefore isn’t helping your SEO efforts. So it’s best to avoid duplicates on all fronts!
Search engines don’t know which piece of content to index.
This is where your SEO efforts can take a hit. If you have duplicate issues, you might notice a decrease in your usual organic traffic and overall page views. That’s because Google can’t tell which version of the replicated piece of content is the original one. This can lead them to only index one of the pages, leading the other out of the rankings altogether. Since search engines filter identical content, the piece you actually want readers to find might get lost on the internet.
Your rankings might take a hit.
Even if Google doesn’t just quit indexing your web page altogether, having duplicate content might hijack your rankings! Duplicate content issues can lead to one of the copied pieces of content going down in the rankings. This hurts your organic traffic, reach, and page views. It’s distressing because even if you’re doing all of the SEO work right, your rankings might keep going down! That’s why you need to get rid of the multiple versions of a page as soon as you can.
How To Avoid Duplicate Content
How to find duplicate content on your website:
You’ll need to conduct a site audit for this. We are happy to do it for you, for free. Just fill out our free SEO site evaluation and we’ll send you a report with all of the issues on your site, including duplicate content. Rather solve your website issues by yourself? You can use Google Search Console Tools to measure website traffic & performance, and work through those SEO inefficiencies that are dragging your content down in the rankings.
Configure your SEO plugins properly.
A lot of duplicate content is actually created by accident due to your web design or plugin configurations. So double-check you have these pages set up properly. Again, the free SEO evaluation is going to be your quickest, most simple way to figure out if you have things set up properly. But in a nutshell, you want to make sure you’re de-indexing low-value pages that feature snippets of content but not the full content. So think of category pages. And enter all your metadata settings properly to display individual information rather than blanket data across all pages. We handle this for all of our clients in both SEO packages.
Use canonical tags on your blog.
Canonical tags are a lifesaver when it comes to duplicate content! If you have two separate pages on the internet with the same content, use canonical tags to show search engines which one they should take into account for rankings and indexing. For example, Medium lets you add the canonical URL parameters ( to signal the original page with that content ) on every story that you post on the platform. If you want to add it to your site, it’s only a small bit of HTML code that makes it clear that the publisher owns that content even if it’s published somewhere else. It’s a quick and effective way to be safe from duplicate issues!
Beware of duplicate URLs.
Because search engines understand that different URLs mean different pages, you might risk a duplicate content penalty! For example, if you have a perfect About Page but there are multiple URL versions of it – one HTTP and one with HTTPS – Google will take it as duplicate content. There are also the cases of www. and non-www. And pages without trailing slashes and those with them. Just monitor these duplicates and stick to one version of each page on your site! If you’re not sure if this is set up properly, again the free evaluation is really your best bet.
Add the no-index tag to be extra safe.
If you’re knowingly creating a page that’s similar in content or has extracts from other blog posts, the no-index tag can be handy. This tag tells search engines to avoid indexing that particular page. Sure, you won’t have any traffic to it. But if it’s a logistic piece of content or something you don’t really mind getting no traffic, then go for it. It’s better to protect one page than to end up with two low-ranking ones!
Eliminate duplicate content with redirects.
If you accidentally create duplicate content, you can delete the page and redirect it to the original piece. A 301 redirect is an efficient way to tell search engines that there’s a main page alternative to the duplicate piece. Again, this kills all traffic to the replica version of the page. But if your original post is strong and SEO-optimized, it shouldn’t be a problem! Create a 301 redirect linking to the top-performing version of the page to avoid both of them suffering from duplicate content issues.
Regularly monitor if someone has copied your content.
Not all duplicate content issues arise from your blog! Sometimes, malicious people copy high-performing content to try and manipulate search engines into their sites. It just happens! That’s why you need to know how to check if your website content is copied. By implementing a few simple strategies, you can stay on top of everyone who tries duplicating your content as their own! Pay attention to any copiers and report them to Google as soon as you realize what’s going on so they can remove the page from all search engines. And do this often, because Google’s crawl budget can be up to 4 million pages a day.
Do you have any duplicate content issues on your blog?
That’s a wrap! As you can see, it’s not too complicated to avoid this issue from hijacking your SEO strategy. You just need focus to create unique and valuable content and follow the tips above! If you have any other questions about duplicate content or SEO for bloggers, don’t hesitate to shoot us a DM on Instagram. We’re always here to help! Now good luck keeping duplicate content in check!