You know what every business owner or marketer like you should aim for? The first ten spots of search engine rankings for your target keywords.
What do these translate into? A source of revenue, and of course, good brand placement.
What is stopping you from getting there? It might be multiple factors, and one of them could be duplicate content.
What is duplicate content?
Duplicate content on your website is a huge red flag for search engine crawlers. Duplicate content is exactly what it sounds like - content on your website that is duplicated.
Here is how Google defines duplicate content:
“Duplicate content generally refers to substantive blocks of content within or across domains that either completely match other content or are appreciably similar. Mostly, this is not deceptive in origin.
Examples of non-malicious duplicate content could include:
- Discussion forums that can generate both regular and stripped-down pages targeted at mobile devices
- Store items shown or linked via multiple distinct URLs
- Printer-only versions of web pages”
Any content that is duplicated on your website from a different domain is considered malicious by Google. You have to ensure all of the content on your website is original. In the event you do decide to use content from a different blog or publication, you should cite the source. While doing so, you are giving an indication to the search engines that you have, in fact, picked up content from a different domain.
Often there are cases where website owners don’t know that they are hosting duplicate content. You might be promoting content that is the same as other websites, unintentionally. If you are looking to check your website for duplicate content, you can make use of this free tool.
Duplicate content and search engines
Let’s say there are two pages on your website with different URLs, but have the exact same content. You might have created the pages with the idea of ranking higher for the same set of keywords, with different URLs. But this is not how the search engines see it.
When a search engine comes across multiple pages on the same website with the same content, it raises a red flag. It might not understand which URL it has to index and which one to give more preference.
It makes more sense for you to have a single page with original content and work on the SEO for it. You should focus your efforts on ranking higher for a single page. This will turn out to be beneficial in the long run.
In case you decide to have multiple pages with the same content, you will have to look at canonicalization. Here is a simple guide of how and why it is done. You can use canonical URLs for your duplicate webpages to make Google understand which one is more important. In a way, you are telling Google to ignore the other page and to rank you for the preferred one. You also end up helping Google by saving their time crawling multiple pages.
Another route that you can take with duplicate content is setting up 301 redirects. Although these are generally used for redirecting old domains to new ones, you can make use of them in this case as well.
There are cases where Google understands the need for duplicate content. Some website owners create print-only versions of certain pages. This page might feature the same content as the original. In this case, Google would understand the need.
How does duplicate content affect my local SEO?
When hosting multiple URLs with the same content, their SEO score gets divided. You might be lucky enough to start ranking for both those links, but it would make more sense for you to combine the two into one URL and increase your SEO stats for that one page.
Another aspect of hosting duplicate pages without canonical tags is - giving the search engine the power to decide which one of the links is more important. The search engine might pick one over the other and it might not be in sync with your marketing strategy. If the same situation occurs multiple times, it is possible that your site gets blacklisted.
Content on your website plays a huge role in your local SEO rankings. It is advisable to concentrate on the bigger picture with your SEO strategy and aim for the tasty pie. Every marketer worth his money out there understands the importance of organic search engine rankings and is eyeing a slice. Grab onto your pizza slice before anybody else does. Getting the pizza slice doesn’t just mean a tasty meal, it also entails fresh and highly qualified leads coming in organically. That can directly translate into revenue.