Duplicate Content Can Ruin Your Google Rankings & SEO.
What is Duplicate Content?
Duplicate content is having the same content on your website as on other websites. When I say the same content I don’t mean the same subject matter but rather verbatim, word for word sections or entire pages of content.
We see entire paragraphs and even pages that are exactly the same on multiple websites. This will have a negative effect on your rankings.
Why does duplicate content hurt my Google rankings and SEO campaign?
Google Values Original Content for Search Rankings
Since Google accounts for over 70% of all searches online, this is the search engine you should be concerned with and since they value original content you better make sure you have it.
Otherwise, your online marketing efforts are going to suffer. Too much duplicate content can cause you website to be ranked lower or even delisted.
The Google Search Console states “Google perceives that duplicate content may be shown with the intent to manipulate our rankings or deceive our users…the ranking of the site may suffer, or the site may be removed entirely from the Google index.”
Being removed from the Google index means you are delisted or completely removed from the search results.
In this scenario it is impossible for you to show up in the Google search results. This means you are absolutely invisible to potential clients searching online for the service or product you provide. Ouch! This can put a company out of business.
I’ve seen clients with hundreds or even thousands of words of duplicate content on their website they were completely unaware of.
How does this happen? Often an industry group or trade organization shared information telling members it was free to use on their websites. Other times a former employee or the owner copied content from other sites or industry resources.
How can I tell if I have duplicate content?
A great free tool to check for duplicate or plagiarized content on your website is Copyscape.
Go to https://www.copyscape.com/ and enter all of your URL’s or website names (i.e. mywebsite.com, mywebsite.com/service, mywebsite.com/service-2).
You can enter all of your pages and it will show you if your content has been duplicated on other websites.
It’s rather mind blowing that out of the hundreds of millions of websites and billions of pages and words of content that Google can keep track of this. But as I tell clients, they have the smartest people in the world working for them and more money anyone in the world and it’s amazing what they can do.
In fact, Copyscape within a few seconds will show you if you have duplicate content from all these billions of pages. If they can do it, you know Google can do it.
What do I do if I find out I have duplicate content?
Easy. Re-write it so that it’s original.
It is important to point out that it’s the wording that has to be original not the subject matter. As I tell clients, Google knows you’re not the only one that will be writing about accounting, real estate, RV repair, carpet cleaning, DUI’s, bankruptcy’s., estate planning, group health insurance, mattresses or whatever your niche is.
You don’t have to come up with a unique topic no one has ever written about before, however, you need unique content in your own words. It can’t be verbatim, word for word as it is in on other websites.
If you suffer from writer’s block, don’t like to write or just don’t have the time you can hire a writer.
Part of our first month SEO set up, along with a website audit and SEO assessment, is the inclusion of having a writer write some original for our clients’ homepage and target pages.
Target pages are pages we are trying to get ranked in the search engines for certain categories of their service and keyword phrases. The reason we do this is that it is so important that we want to make sure it gets done.
If you find you have duplicate content read the duplicate paragraph or page to remind yourself of the subject matter, then open a new window in Microsoft Word or Google Docs or whatever you use to type.
Without looking at the content you just read, re-write about the subject matter again from memory. You will re-write in a new and unique way. This will go a long way to helping your rankings and SEO.