If you are a content marketer, you likely already know that the content on your site should always be originals. If you are using other people’s content on your site without their permission, or plainly copying and pasting, you can severely hurt your search engine rankings and website reputation. Not only is doing this considered plagiarism, which is morally and legally wrong, it’s also considered to be duplicate content.
What Is Duplicate Content?
Duplicate content can be defined as content that shows up in two or more locations on the internet. For example, copying someone’s blog from their website and posting it on your own can be considered duplicate content. Similarly, posting an original work on two different sites that you own is also considered duplicate content.
When duplicate content starts to appear it can have a very negative impact on search engine rankings. How search engines work is by trying to provide users with the best information relevant to their search query. If there are two pieces of content that could provide a good answer, but they’re essentially duplicates of one another, the search engine will eventually choose to show neither of them. Since both pieces of content say the same thing, this makes it incredibly difficult for a search engine to pick one over the other.
Why Do People Post Duplicate Content?
Typically, duplicate content is not created with malicious intent. It most often occurs accidently in product descriptions, downloadable pages, and different resources that are created to inform users. The best way to avoid accidental duplicates is to try your best to be as original as possible in your content writing.
Deliberately posting duplicates however, is another story. Some people will try to manipulate search engine results by posting the same content to multiple locations. This is typically done in an attempt to gain more traffic, or to try and dominate the first page of results with their content. What ends up happening is users become frustrated with seeing the same answer to their query, and will start to bounce from those pages more and more. Once users start to bounce at a consistent rate, Google soon realizes that this resource is subpar and lowers it’s position in the search results.
Additionally, Google wants to provide their users with the best experience and information they can. If they keep serving the same content every time you search for something, users will quickly become frustrated. This is why Google and other search engines greatly discourage making duplicate content, and will penalize content that appears to be duplicated.
How To Find and Avoid Duplicates
One easy way to see if your content is a duplicate, or has been duplicated, is to copy and paste different sections of your content into Google with quotation marks. By adding quotes to a search query, Google will try to return any content that is identical or similar to what you searched. Doing this will provide you with any results that may be duplicating your content for their own benefit.
Another way to find out if someone is duplicating your content is with different online tools that are free to use. Tools such as Copyscape, Plagspotter, and Duplichecker allow you to paste your content into their program and tell you if they detect duplicate content or any sort of plagiarism. These different tools also highlight the duplicate copy and provide a percentage of how much of your copy is considered duplicate.
The key takeaway is content marketers should do their best to avoid duplicate content whenever possible. By creating original content, and checking your content for duplicates, you’ll be able to avoid any hiccups in your search engine rankings and provide users with unique and accurate information.
–written by Jonah Ericksen