A closer look at how duplicate content really affects your SEO rankings.
There are a number of different debates around SEO rankings and the factors that can make or break your website – duplicate content is one of them.
There is a lot of different information floating around about whether or not duplicate content can affect your SEO rankings but the truth is that many people are still misunderstanding how Google treats duplicate content.
Duplicate content is defined as any copy that appears online in multiple places. This means that content needs to appear at one or more URLs for it to be deemed a duplicate.
When a search engine runs into duplicate content, it causes two potential issues:
On the website owner’s side, duplicate content can affect them in the following ways:
In 2008, Susan Moska created a post that cleared this issue up. She stated that there is no such thing as “duplicate content”. Let’s explain this a little further.
Google doesn’t actually penalize duplicate content, it merely filters duplicate results so that only certain versions are included in search results. It’s important to keep in mind that Google’s main goal is to provide searchers with the best answers and results for their search queries, which is why it doesn’t make sense to show similar results on page one.
Google’s algorithms are designed to sort through duplicate content by placing similar versions of content into a group, after which the preferred URL is then displayed in search results. Google uses several different signals from each website to determine which URL’s content should be displayed. Basically, Google will also try to determine which URL is the original source of the content and display that one.
The only time that a website would ever be penalized for duplicate content is if it was proven that it was being done to manipulate search results.
If you have picked up on any duplicate content issues on your site, there are a few things that you can do to correct them. Before we get into these methods though, it’s important that you always allow Google to crawl your duplicate content. Always give Google the option to make the final call on your content for the best results.
Duplicate content is definitely something that webmasters should be aware of and address but unless you’re deliberately trying to manipulate search engines, there is no reason for Google to penalize your website.