When you hear the words ‘duplicate content’ as a website owner, you probably start to quake in your boots. This is because there is a common misconception that all duplicate content, no matter what the reasoning behind it, will lead to severe consequences and penalties. However, this is not the case. Duplicate content can appear on different sites for a range of reasons. In some cases, it is even acceptable such as cases where content has been licensed out for use by different companies.
Having said that, it is important to try and ensure that all of the content on your site is fresh and original. This will mean bonus points for your site and business as well as avoiding any issues that may arise due to duplicate content. While the deceptive and intentionally illegal use of content will result in severe consequences, in many cases it can just cause an inconvenience and reduced visibility for your site. However, you don’t want to take any chances so it is always best to ensure that your content is 100 percent unique and original.
The different variations of duplicate content
There are a number of different variations of duplicate content. This includes:
Exact duplicate content: This is where there is identical content on two different URLs
Near duplicate content: With this variation, two URLs have almost identical content with just minor differences
Cross-domain duplicate content: This is where a number of different domains contain either exact or near duplicate content
The causes of exact or near duplicate content can vary. Of course, illegal use through plagiarism could be one cause, which is why you need to ensure that any content that you create or is created by a professional is thoroughly checked using a plagiarism tool. As mentioned previously, the duplicate content could be through content that has been licensed for use elsewhere. Even problems with the structure and architecture of your website can play a part in the presence of duplicate content.
Avoiding and dealing with duplicate content
When it comes to avoiding and dealing with duplicate content, there are various steps that you can take. Of course, using a plagiarism checker will ensure that the content you create (or someone creates for you) is original and unique. There are also some other methods you can use to address duplicate content, including:
301 Redirect: This will enable you to redirect pages to the original URL
Canonical link: You can use this element to inform search bots which is the true, original content and where to find it
Robot.txt: You can use this to stop any duplicated pages from being crawled by bots
Avoiding negative consequences
In short, unless the duplicate content is there for deceptive reasons, you won’t generally get penalized by search engines. However, there are still negative consequences such as being negatively affected in the SERPs. By making sure you take steps to deal with duplicate content, you can avoid any negative consequences.