Duplicate content is one of the issues that SEOs and Singapore webmasters have to deal with on a daily basis. Over the years, Google and other search engines have put in place stringent rules to prevent this vice. Sure, your site current ranking and credibility can be lowered if a section of the content on your website is not unique. However, there are specific steps that you can take to prevent such a scenario.
However, before we look at these tips, it is important to note that Google has in the past stated that duplicate content on a site does not attract a penalty unless it appears that the intent of publishing the material was to manipulate search engine results.
There are three categories of duplicate content namely:
- Exact duplicate: Two URLs with identical content
- Near-duplicates: Content that has small differentiators.
- Cross-domain duplicates: Multiple domains that have exact match or deal duplicate content
Consequences of Duplicate Content
1# Wasted Crawls
Search bot lands on your website with a crawl budget. This means that if you have duplicate content, you will waste the bots crawl budget and only a few of your essential pages that do not have duplicate content will be crawled and indexed.
2# Wasted Link Equity
It is possible for pages with duplicate content to gain link authority and PageRank. However, Google will not rank the content, and so you will waste the link authority from such pages.
3# Wrong Listing in Search Engine Results Pages
No one knows how search algorithms work. If you have pages with exact match or near duplicate information, you have no control over which pages are ranked or filtered out. Therefore, the pages that you want to rank may be suppressed by the other less relevant pages.
How Can You Avoid Duplicate Content
Use Robot.txt File Block
Robot.txt file can help you to block pages that have duplicate content from being crawled. Google, however, does not recommend this approach because if the engine is unable to crawl such pages, it will not tell if the URLs are directed to the same content and will, therefore, have no option but to treat them as unique and separate pages.
Use 301 Redirects
If you are planning to get rid of duplicate content from your site, 301 redirects is an ideal approach for you. If some of the pages have received links, redirecting them to the correct URL will ensure that you still profit from the links. This move will help the search bots to know where to find proper content.
Use rel=”canonical” Link Element
Rel=”canonical” link element will help search bots to know which version of the content is true or original. All you need to do is add the link to the header of the duplicate article or page. For example
<link rel=” canonical” href=“https:mytruecontent.com”>
Should you worry?
From MediaOne’s experience – Google does not penalise duplicate content. Here are some reasons why:
- if you are a subsidiary or reseller, you may not be allowed by your principal to vary the specifications and description of your product or service – penalising you would be grossly unfair
- if you have an e-commerce website – its virtually impossible to vary your content because you have thousands of products from hundreds of suppliers – Google understands the e-commerce sites have this innate business challenge
- if you have multiple branches in different countries – you really wouldn’t want to say things too differently in different countries if you can help it as it can cause significant corporate branding and product/service variations
So what Google does is not penalise but it will not award points either.
Then How Do I Get Around This Issue?
Therefore in order to rank, you will need to vary your content if you are allowed to; OR add more content to reduce the duplication. Here is an illustration on how this is done:
Try to remember the real core reason why Google will want to put you on 1st page. Its because it thinks that what you are saying is USEFUL + ORIGINAL. “Useful” as Google wants to be the Oracle Of Everything so you will learn to depend on it from the moment you wake to the moment you close your eyes. “Original” because if you are simply copying or rehashing what others are saying – why should you be entitled to 1st page is where Google wants to put the BEST answers. To think in another way: if everybody is called “Simon” why should “Simon #9” be promoted above all the other Simon’s?
Even though duplicate content can affect your site ranking on search engine results pages, it is not as scary as most people perceive. Unless the reason you posted the content is to manipulate SERPs results, search engines will not typically impose a penalty. That does not mean that there are no adverse consequences of having such content on your site. It is recommendable to crawl your site and resolve such issues to be on the safe side.
Here at MediaOne we will assess your site, reduce the duplicate content where necessary and create strategies to add in new original content to help you score. Give us a call at 6789 9852 today!