Duplicate content can be defined as content that is either identical or very similar, and that can be found on two or more different webpages. In general, it is true that Google doesn’t like duplicate content, and that it can result in serious penalties that can have a detrimental impact on your website’s ranking in search engine rankings results pages. However, there is a caveat to this general rule of thumb: Not all duplicate content is created equally. There are many types of duplicate content out there, and while some forms of duplicate content are to be avoided at all costs, other types are relatively harmless. Luckily, we’re here to break it down for you.
Copying content from one site and posting it to another is plagiarism and, as any content marketing service will tell you, should never, ever be part of your content marketing strategy. Not only is this against the law; copied content is also a black-hat SEO technique that will likely incur your some kind of Google penalty, and could very well hurt your search engine rankings. Sometimes also known as scraping, this is a tactic that is commonly used by spammers.
Site-mirroring entails publishing two or more identical copies of your website in order to avoid downtime. This isn’t a good practice, and can lead to one or more versions of your website being de-listed from search engine rankings. A similar problem can also exist if your website is configured to display your website’s URL both with and without the ‘www’ in a web browser. In other words, the same content is accessible from two different URLs. As a general rule of thumb, you will want to fix any issue that might display the same content from two different URLs, including content archive duplicates, uppercase/lowercase URL duplicates, URL parameter duplicates, trailing slash duplicates, and http and https duplicates.
This is a common issue when it comes to local SEO, as companies and business will often copy information from one citation to another. This is a bad idea on sites like YP, Facebook, and Yelp. Your best bet is to come up with unique citations and listings.
Social Media Duplicates
When an excerpt of a blog post is posted across social media sites like Twitter, Google+, Facebook, and LinkedIn, it does create duplicate content. This generally isn’t an issue and you likely won’t incur a penalty. In fact, it will likely do more good than harm, as social media posts are excellent ways to generate traffic.
Internal Duplicate Title Tags
Many websites will use the same title tags for the same page. In general, it is good practice to generate a unique title tag for each individual page because title tags are still the most important on-page ranking factor for SEO.
Reviews are a valuable part of any content marketing strategy. But let’s say a customer posts a review on your Facebook page, and then posts the exact same review on your Yelp page. This could be a problem, meaning the review will get filtered on either one or both of the sites. If you ask a customer to post a review for you on multiple sites, make sure that he or she is not posting the same review word for word.
The bottom line is that Google is most interested in going after duplicate content that is “spammy” in one way or another. A huge percentage of the Internet is duplicate content, and it is unrealistic to try and ensure that every single piece of content on your website, blog, or listings will be 100 percent original. It isn’t realistic and simply isn’t feasible. In fact, Google’s Matt Cutts has estimated that up to 30 percent of the Internet is duplicate content. The key is to develop a robust content marketing strategy focused on the development and syndication of high-quality content well targeted toward your target audience, and to avoid black-hat techniques that involve the use of copied content. If for whatever reason you are struggling with penalties related to duplicate content and you don’t quite know what you’ve done wrong or how to rectify the problem, your best bet is to contact an SEO professional or a content marketing service for some expert advice.