Visable 360
The B2B magazine for digital sales
Visable 360
The B2B magazine for digital sales

Duplicate content: good Google rankings are in danger

When it comes to duplicate content, the same or similar content appears on several URLs. So, if you integrate duplicate content on a website, you have to reckon with being “punished” in the search results. Read here what you need to pay attention to and how you can move forward.

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Internal and external duplicate content

Duplicate content is content which repeats, or that is very similar, on the same or different websites. There are two forms of duplicate content: internal and external.

Internal duplicate content is usually coincidental. When a website can be accessed via various URLs (e.g. with or without “www” at the start). Or, in the course of a responsive design, which is in addition to a normal website, the website’s digital appearance is optimised for smartphones too. Many webmasters simply copy content from various areas of the website, as this content is also ideal for the different subcategories. The solution: with the help of an XML sitemap, certain individual pages can be indexed for Google, while all the others can be ignored.

External duplicate content can occur, for instance, when the same content is used on the various country versions of a website. Or when a competitor takes content from a website and places it on their website in the same or a similar form. Also in the case of content collaborations, external duplicates can appear, such as when other sites contain the same references (press releases, agency news, etc.).

The same content, for instance, may also occur in a YouTube video and a blog article; however, this is not considered duplicate content by Google.

How Google punishes duplicate content

Search engines like Google recognise such doubled content and ignores it, with the aim of preventing the same text appearing several times in the search results. When it comes to internal duplicate content in text form, such as two pages which are the same on a website, Google simply chooses one of the pages and displays this one in the search results – so, just one of the pages is blended out, punishing the non-displayed website as a result. However, it is recommended anyway to not confuse the user with more or less identical text in various sections – instead, each section on your own website should be filled with unique content. 

If Google suspects a conscious action behind the duplicate content, however, with the aim to increase the website’s visibility through an increased amount of content, it may be the case that the website in question does not appear at all or only at the very bottom of the search results list. All in all: too much content on a website which appears in a similar or in the exact same way on other websites could negatively influence the search engine ranking. This is because Google and others do not pick up enough positive signals in terms of quality, the added value for the user or the uniqueness of the content.

Duplicate content with local searches and online shops

Duplicate content not only plays a role in organic Web searches. In the area of local searches, too, content that appears several times can lead to problems. More than one Google My Business entry per company leads, in certain circumstances, to losses in the local rankings. In turn, the combining of duplicate entries leads to better local rankings.

And when it comes to developing online shops, duplicate content should be avoided. This can play a role for companies that have separated their B2C and B2B areas into two different shops. After all, the information about the products or services are usually fed into a single, joint database. In this case, shop operators should ensure that the communication, the product descriptions and content types are adapted to the target groups.

Duplicate content checker: find out where you have the same content

If you want to make sure your content is unique and no unauthorised persons have taken it over, there are various tools that enable you to check this. The easiest solution is to enter sections of text using double inverted commas into the Google search field. Several hits mean there is duplicate content.

On top of this, there are a host of free duplicate content checkers, such as Siteliner, which you can use to identify double content. However, if only parts of all the content are identical, this will not cause a problem with Google.

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