Duplicate website content… This is a simple concept, mostly misunderstood and easily fixed. I’m going to approach this from a few perspectives and give you the links and tools that can help you.
First, understand that it’s the search-engine’s goal to provide the best search results for the user. While Google, Bing and Yahoo rank website pages a bit differently they all have the same outcome of a positive and relevant user experience. That experience comes from listing unique pages on their search result pages (SERPS).
For this blog posting, I’m just going to use Google as “the search engine”.
Duplicate content generally refers to blocks of text or entire pages that are virtually the same.
If you have the same article content and it’s used on several different websites, Google will try and decide which website is the originator of the content, give them the credit and show that listing. Yes, that means that even though it’s your content from your website if someone steals it, or even if you submitted it to them and they posted it with your permission, it’s possible that website and not yours would get the credit. I’ve seen my blog postings, YouTube video descriptions, and articles used on several other websites without permission or even back-links to my website.
For clarifications sake, we all want higher search engine rankings and more targeted traffic. We understand that we have to have keyword-rich content with those keywords used appropriately (keyword density) and optimized according to the rules of the search engines.
So maybe you started out by creating new web pages targeted around a keyword theme. Then you wrote a few articles or blog postings about the same subject thinking… more keyword-rich content means more traffic. Then you took those same articles and submitted them to other websites or even posted them on other social media websites.
Now you have fallen into the trap of duplicate content and even if you did so innocently, you may find that your website pages or entire site isn’t indexed anymore. That means no search engine traffic. Do I have your attention yet?
There are several things you can do to get higher rankings, avoid duplicate content and prevent Google penalties.
1. Understand that you need original, relevant keyword-rich content on your website and that each page should have a unique page title, unique meta-description tag, unique h1 header text, and focused content around a theme.
2. Article marketing. Having your articles posted on article directories and other websites or blogs with links back to your website is a great way to increase your traffic when done correctly. Back-links help Google understand the relevancy of your website because if you have several other websites with similar themes or focus all linking to you, like from your articles, you get more rankings. In short though, you need unique or mostly unique versions of the article posted on different websites with a reference link back to you, not the same article everywhere. Having the same article everywhere is just a waste of time.
3. Check your website and learn more about duplicate content using Google’s Webmaster Tools. It amazes me that people may think that Google’s ranking structure is a secret. While the algorithm may be secret, Google wants you to build your site properly so it can give you the credit.
4. You can search for duplicate copies of your content using the online website, https://www.copyscape.com/. They offer a free service and premium service to check if content is unique and original. Works fast and you’d be amazed by the results. Recently, I re-wrote all of the landing pages copy for our Prime Concepts website and found over 80 other websites that had taken my copy word-for-word, and just switched out the company name. Go to CopyScape and check your website.
6. Get unique versions of your articles out on different websites. If you send the same article out to 500 different websites, Google is going to look those 500 websites and see the exact article on all of them and simply index only one or two of them and your efforts would have been wasted. You need to submit a unique variation of each article to each article directory. There are literally hundreds of article directories. This way Google and the other search engines will see all of the unique content and those pages will get indexed and credit the links back (back-links) to your website.
7. We believe strongly in article marketing campaigns, but the titles, main content, word count and resource box links have to be mostly different to avoid the duplicate content problems. There are tools, called “article spinners” that can help you modify or re-work the content of your articles, but again, I urge you to use caution, as attempts to manipulate the search engines may cause the Google bitch slap and you’ll lose your rankings.
8. Be careful about services or websites that claim to create quick back-links or automated article submissions to other websites. There are no short cuts to an effective back-linking campaign. If you find a service or other tool that you love that’s produced great results, add a comment with details on this blog posting.
Take action now. Go write unique, keyword-rich content for your website and original content articles that you can place on article directories. Turn them into Videos and podcasts too. Remember that keyword-rich content drives traffic, so focus on delivering relevant information and watch your business grow!