When the same content is appearing at different URLs on the web, then it is termed as Duplicate Content.
This is the kind of content which is copied from one place to another all across the internet. In such situations, Google does not understand which URL should be shown in SERPs.
So, when your site has duplicate content, then your website starts losing its ranking.
You cannot call duplicate content to be a penalty as per Google Algorithms, but it is impactful in the search engine rankings.
You need to understand that when Google finds similar, duplicate content in more than one place, it can be difficult for the search engines to understand the relevance of the website.
Example of Duplicate Content
Let us now understand the concept of Duplicate Content with an example. Imagine your content with keyword SEO Tips appear at-
And same content also appears on
Such situations cause duplicate content issues. It can get aggravated when some of the bloggers are linking to the first link while others are linking to the second link. Google considers it as the problem of site owners. It can show both of the content for a search query with the keyword ‘SEO Tips.’
Instead of this situation, if all the bloggers are linking to the same URL, chances of ranking higher for that keyword will increase. That is why avoiding the duplicate content issue is important.
Let us understand how duplicate content can damage your site in a more in-depth manner-
Problems of Duplicate Content
1) Confusion for the Search Engines
The very first problem that duplicate content can cause is for the search engines. Because of duplicate content, Google does not understand which website should get the first preference.
Also, it cannot get the authentic link metrics, and therefore, it gets confused within multiple versions. The search engines get confused in ranking the right content in SERPs.
2) Traffic losses and decrease in Rankings for Bloggers
If you talk about how the duplicate content problems for the site owners, you need to understand that to give the best search experience, the copied content will be blocked by the search engines. This will decrease the visibility of the website.
Also, the linked equity can be distracted because instead of all the inbound links pointing towards a single content, the link is being diverted towards multiple copies of the same content. A ranking factor of the site can be distorted, and search engine ranking will go down.
Reasons behind Duplicate Content Issues
In most of the cases, it has been seen that the writers do not deliberately create duplicate content, and in some cases, the words and phrases are coincidentally similar. Today we are going to talk about some of the best reasons why content duplication takes place-
#1 Copying or Plagiarizing your Content
In some places, it has been seen that the person who is writing the blog or the article is copying the content from another website, which is why there might be a Plagiarism in the article.
Situations when other sites use your content without your consent, Search Engines need to deal with other versions of your site that can be a major issue.
#2 Variation in the URL
One of the primary reasons why content replication takes place is the variation in URL because, in many cases, a website is given the different session ID that was stored in the URL. In many of the printer friendly versions, it has been found out that duplicate content may take place.
In the case of the HTTP versus https all the www vs. Non-www pages, it has been seen that the content can be similar and can show to be duplicate. Many of the sites have been able to mention the versions of content at both HTTP as well as https, and if both the websites are going live, then there can be Plagiarism shown in the content.
#3 Having HTTP and HTTPS or WWW and Non-WWW Versions
In case your site is having two different versions like www.example.come and example.com, plus you are also having live content on both the sites, then it can be the solid reason behind the duplicate content issue.
In the same manner, if HTTP and HTTPS versions of your site are existing simultaneously and content is also present on both the versions, the duplicate content issue will arise.
How will you be able to fix duplicate content problems?
If you want to fix the issues of duplicate content, then you have to understand which one is the correct content and there are several ways in which you will be able to get the rectification.
When there are multiple pages which have the potential to have a really good rank, then you have to understand which one is the correct website so that the rank of the page can be improved to a great extent.
For this, you can use four different methods-
- Using 301 Redirect
- Using Rel = ‘Canonical.’
- Using the Preferred Domain and Parameter Handling in Google Search Console
- Using Meta Robots NoIndex
Let us understand these by one-
1) Use of 301 Redirect to avoid Duplicate Content
If you want to rectify the duplicate content, then you will be able to set up 301 redirects from the duplicate page to the correct page.
In the image above, you can see how version 2 and Version 3 is using 301 Redirect to Version 1, which is more capable of ranking good in Search Results. By using this method, you will be able to increase the relevancy of different pages that are having similar content.
2) Use of Rel = ‘canonical’ to avoid Duplicate Content Issue
The next way in which you can deal with the duplicate content is to use the rel = canonical attribute. It helps the search engines in understanding that the page is a copy of a particular page whose URL is given.
You have to understand that the search engine ranking has to be credited to the specific URL. It can be added to the HTML Head so that you will be able to get the best of ranking power and it will take less time to implement.
Above you can see the format used by Rel = ‘Canonical’ tags.
In the below-given image, you can that canonical tag is letting Search Engines know that URL B is the duplicate of URL A-
3) Use of Preferred Domain and Parameter Handling to avoid Duplicate Content Issues
You can also choose the preferred domain amongst the different domains having similar content, thanks to Google Search Console.
It lets you specify the URL that Googlebot should crawl.
4) Meta robots NoIndex
It is a meta tag that can be used for dealing with the duplicate content because it can be added to the HTML of every individual page, and it can understand the correct authentication of the content.
These Meta robots should be used by choosing the values “noindex, follow.”
This meta robot can be added to HTML head of that page which Search Engines should not index.
5) Internal Linking should have Consistency in choosing Canonical Version
The one thing that you have to do is to maintain the consistency of the internal links in the website so that the content that is generated is authentic.
6) Content Syndication should link back to Original Content
When you are syndicating the content, you have to make sure that the website can be traced back to the original content and the duplicate content URL can be checked out.
7) Know how to protect your Content from being Plagiarized
In case other bloggers or site owners are directly copying text or images from your site, then this can also lead to duplicate content issues, as their sites will also be having similar content as your site.
There are also duplicators who scrap RSS feeds for plagiarizing content. Below given techniques will help you protect your content from being copies in such manner-
- Using No Right Click Images Plugin
- Text Selection should be disabled via JS code or wpcopyprotect plugin
- Adding a DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) badge to your site
- Use of Watermarks on the images
Wrapping It Up!
Now that you have a fair Idea regarding the duplicate content and how it affects the search engine ranking, all you have to do is to make sure that you are implementing the correct strategies to remove any kind of duplicate content issues.
We hope the tips shared in the post will resolve the content duplication issues, plus will also reduce the plagiarism of your content piece.
Still, if you have other techniques to protect your content from being plagiarized or copied? Feel free to share with us in the comment.