Duplicate content is a major burden on websites and their webmasters. Just a few cases of it can trigger Google, Facebook and Bing to rank it lower in search results. As well, the presence of duplicate content can interfere with your user experience, leaving visitors feeling that your site is more about fluff than substance.
Even if you’ve taken the necessary steps to ensure your content is original, it’s possible that your website has been flagged by Google for violating the webmaster tools guidelines; original content is one of the requirements of webmasters as outlined in Google webmaster tools guidelines. As such, it’s crucial that you and your staff check your site periodically for all duplicate content issues and address them as quickly as possible.
Types of Duplicate Content
- Straight Plagiarism – This occurs when site takes content from another site and copies and pastes it on their own their own webpages.
- Search Engine Manipulation- This occurs when a site takes content from their own site and duplicates it on all or some parts of the site in an effort to produce more scannable content without the extra effort of creating something original. The purpose is to manipulate search engines to rank the website in question higher than the others.
- Duplicate Title Tags/Descriptions – These are far more forgivable by search engines as they are not as visible to the users. They do not interfere with the user experience and are only duplicated accidentally. Still, it is important to ensure that your title tags and descriptions are unique and pertinent to you. It’s what gives your visitors the first impression before they click on the result.
- Multiple URLs for 1 Page – This often occurs when multiple URLs are assigned to a specific page and are not properly canonized or redirected. When search engines see two different pages with duplicate content, your search visibility could be affected.
The fortunate thing about duplicate content is that search engines are very forgiving of it. If it’s just a few cases and less than 30% duplicates per page, search engines will understand that you are not trying to manipulate them and your users. And if you did get penalized, once you correct the issue, your visibility will improve.
Where to start?
- Search Console – When you log into the Google Webmaster Tools account, you can easily see pages with both duplicate titles and meta descriptions. Click on “HTML Improvements” under “Search Appearances”. Google will highlight all pages that have duplicate meta descriptions, long meta descriptions and short meta descriptions.
- Screaming Frog – This tool is a web crawler. It’s free for the first 500 pages you scan. It then sends you a report of all content on your website that is duplicated.
- DupliChecker – A free tool for detecting plagiarism. All you have to do is attach a file with the content and within seconds you will get results. If you are not a registered user, you will only be allowed to search for a maximum of 3 times.
- Copyscape-This is a premium online plagiarism detection website that checks whether texts and links appear elsewhere on the World Wide Web. There is a free version; however, you can only view the first 10 results.
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