The Best Way To Find And Fix Duplicate Content On Your Website

The Best Way To Find And Fix Duplicate Content On Your Website

Duplicate content is plaguing the web and slowly destroying the organic traffic driven by real people.

In the past, a site might have had a blog section with a few articles on how to cook a specific meal, alongside product reviews and other articles relating to that subject. Nowadays, however, with all the multi-platform content creators, the temptation to just “copy and paste” an article from one platform to another is incredibly tempting.

The easy way to fix this is via a content schedule. By creating posts regularly and publishing them at the same time each week, you can ensure that every piece of content is unique and will not be “cloned” by others.

Why Is Duplicate Content a Problem?

There are several reasons why duplicate content is a problem, and it is slowly ruining the web as we know it. To begin with, having duplicate content on your site makes it appear less authoritative.

When a user types in a search term in their browser’s search bar and your site comes up high in the search results, you want to appear expert and authoritative. If you have duplicate content, you are not appearing as such to your audience. While it is acceptable to have duplicated content for linked or affiliated purposes, appearing authoritative and trusted when your users search for something is an altogether different matter.

Aside from this, users might stumble upon duplicate content and be confused as to whether two pieces of content are related or if one was simply copied from the other. When users are confused by duplicate content, it can cause them to leave the site altogether or, at the very least, click through to another page in search of an answer.

How Do I Avoid This Problem?

The best way to avoid duplicate content is by creating unique content regularly and on a schedule. This will not only help establish your site as an authoritative source regarding your topic, but it will also prevent you from appearing as a copycat website. If you want to appear to be an expert in your industry, you must put in the hours and ensure that your content is up-to-date and as relevant as possible. While it is tempting to copy and paste content from one blog post to the next, ensure that your posts complement each other and add value to your audience.

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If you want to take this a step further, you might consider using a content strategy guide to keep track of all your content and ensure that it follows a coherent brand voice and style guide. A content strategy guide can also help you identify duplicate content and point out areas you need to improve. When you have a clear picture of what is going on across all your platforms (blog, social, and so on), you can ensure that all your content is working together to establish your authority in your industry.

The Importance Of Syncing Content

If you are one of the many content creators who dabbles on multiple platforms, you must pay close attention to how content “cross-posts” or “sync” between platforms. For example, if you write a blog post on creating an itinerary for a trip to Italy, that post might get picked up by a travel blog that covers Italy. In this case, the content creator will likely cross post an updated version of your article with the words “Trip to Italy” in the headline so that it appears they originated the content. This is completely acceptable in a situation like this, but it still needs to be pointed out that the original article came from you.

The same phenomenon occurs when a Twitter user re-tweets or “quotes” a blog post. In these situations, it is usually accepted that the content creator provides “more info” on the subject. However, citing the source of information is still important because it can still be considered “duplicate content.”

Monitoring Keyword And Content Trends In Your Niche

Keeping abreast of your niche’s ever-changing keyword and content trends is essential for establishing yourself as an expert in that space. If you want to remain competitive, it is important to always think about what your competitors are doing and consider whether or not you can do something better.

Keeping track of these trends can be difficult, especially if you are not a professional copywriter. The ability to thoroughly vet new keywords and content ideas can help you cut through the noise and ensure that you always create relevant and profitable content.

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Avoiding The Black Hole Of Search

The Google algorithm favors content that is regularly updated and relevant. If you want to avoid appearing in search results for certain keywords, you must ensure that new content is always being published consistently. For example, if you want to ensure that the word “paprika” does not bring up your site when a user types it in the search bar, you need to make sure that you are publishing new content frequently enough that it does not accumulate duplicates.

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If you want to understand how the Google algorithm works and what actions you can take to better your SEO, you can attend a Google SEO workshop or take a free Google SEO course. In either case, understanding and using the fundamentals of SEO will greatly improve your results and allow you to focus on creating useful content for your audience rather than worrying about meaningless keywords.

Establishing Yourself As An Authority In Your Industry

As we mentioned above, duplicate content gives a user the impression that your site is not authoritative. Depending on the kind of user you are trying to reach and your industry, you might even be doing yourself a disservice by having duplicate content on your site. For example, suppose you are a real estate agent and have many listing details that you post on your site often. In that case, you may be losing out on some business to other agents who have not established themselves as the authority in their industry.

If you want to establish yourself as an authoritative source for your industry, consider getting involved in your community. Joining groups with other industry experts and participating in online forums can do wonders for your SEO and allow you to communicate with your audience and establish your expertise more humanistically.

Creating Long-Form Content

With the rise of the “shareable” blog post, content creators learned pretty quickly that shorter content performed better when it came to getting shared on social media. As a result, we started to see a rise in the “tweetable” or “status” as they are often called.

If you enjoy spending lots of time writing a detailed blog post, consider switching to a more digestible style. When someone scans a blog post on their mobile phone or reads it on social media, they will usually not want to click on every link or spend the entire post length in one sitting. If you want to encourage your audience to engage with your content, consider creating a longer-form narrative that can be broken down into smaller chunks, like tweets.

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Avoiding The Impression Of Paid Content

Another problem with duplicate content is the impression that your content is “paid for.” While it is acceptable to spend money to hire a freelance copywriter to help you with your content or to buy a few tools that can help with SEO, going the extra mile to create “sponsored content” can cause unwanted attention.

For example, if you are a wine brand and hire an author to write about the merits of your product, people may think that you have paid for the article, and it is perfectly acceptable to show it to your visitors in this case. However, if you are a small business owner who is trying to promote a local restaurant, having your blog post appear as if it is paid for can hurt your credibility.

Creating Archival Content

Sometimes we might want to go back and read about what happened before. If so, we often visit Wikipedia or similar websites archiving news stories from years ago. To maintain the authenticity of these stories, the content creators will often include a block of quoted text or a link to a different source in case the reader wants more info about the topic.

If you have a blog that you think is doing well and you want to create a resource to let others know more about your industry, consider interviewing the industry’s leaders or creating a series of bite-sized expert guides that can be both an educational tool for your audience and a goldmine for you as a content creator—looking for ways to make more money? Consider creating an e-commerce store or selling your own products via an online store.

About the Author

Tom Koh

Tom is the CEO and Principal Consultant of MediaOne, a leading digital marketing agency. He has consulted for MNCs like Canon, Maybank, Capitaland, SingTel, ST Engineering, WWF, Cambridge University, as well as Government organisations like Enterprise Singapore, Ministry of Law, National Galleries, NTUC, e2i, SingHealth. His articles are published and referenced in CNA, Straits Times, MoneyFM, Financial Times, Yahoo! Finance, Hubspot, Zendesk, CIO Advisor.


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