Copied content on your website can harm your brand’s reputation to an extreme level. It is not just something that makes Search Engines doubt your website’s credibility but is something that tends to leave a bad impression on your audience. This content is the kind that pops up on the web on more than one site (a unique site URL). Most marketers don’t refer to it as a penalty but duplicate content does harm your Search Engine rankings. Starting with the basic reason i.e. why the search engines don’t prefer duplicate content is - the similar appearance it has on different URLs! This makes it confusing for the search engines as to which website’s content is more appropriate for the audience’s perusal.
Why is duplicate content an issue?Duplicate content poses a possible threat to domain authority due to several reasons. For website owners, suffering traffic blows and search engine rankings going down is pretty common and such issues stem from these two possible reasons -
- To offer a good search experience to the audience, most search engines like Google avoid displaying different search results of similar content. Therefore, they are obligated to decide which version will be more suitable as per the searched query. This further weakens the appearance of all duplicate search results.
- Links equity can be adulterated since other websites handpick the duplicates too. Other than the inbound links aiming at a blog post or webpage, they tend to link to several pieces which further spreads the link equity amongst the duplicates. And as we know that the inbound links are one of the highest-ranking factors, they can severely affect the search appearance of any content.
Two Reasons Behind Why Duplicate Content Issue Takes PlaceIn most cases, site owners don’t produce plagiarised/ duplicate content intentionally but as per some studies on the internet, more than a quarter of content on the web is duplicated.
- URL Prefixes
- Plagiarised/ Scraped content
How can a website owner fix content duplicacy?A website owner needs to specify which duplicate content is the right one to be considered. Content that is found on several different sites or URLs has to be canonicalized for Search Engines. Here’s how you can do it:
- Use a 301 redirect to the right URL
- The rel=canonical attribute
301 redirectOne of the most accurate ways to fix content duplicacy is to set up a 301 redirect from the ‘duplicate’ page to the original content page. At the point when various pages that can rank well are consolidated into a single page, they not just quit rivaling each other; they additionally add more to the relevance and popularity in general. This will emphatically affect the "right" page's ability to rank well.
The rel=canonical attributeWebsite users can also use the rel=canonical attribute as it informs the search engines that the provided page needs to be considered as a copy of the specified URL. In addition to this, it also tells the SE that all other attributes like metrics, ranking status, etc., need to actually be credited to the specified URL.
Other methods that can fix content duplicacy
- Make sure to link internally on a consistent basis if you are a website owner. Such as, if the webmaster decides that the canonical version of a domain is www.abc.com/, then all its internal links should go to http://www.abc.com, rather than http://abc.com/ma.. (Note the absence of www).
- While you syndicate content, you need to make sure that the website you are syndicating the content at, adds a link back to the original blog page & not a variation on the URL.
- Always make sure to add a rel=canonical link to your existing web pages that acts as a self-reference. To make sure that the scraper isn’t robbing the SEO credit of your content, it’s imperative to insert a self-referential rel=canonical link to all your existing website pages. This helps redirect to the URL it's already on and combats the scraper’s content-stealing issue.
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