DUPLICATE CONTENT

Definition and how to fix it for SEO improvement

Duplicate content in the SEO context is always an interesting topic when it comes to online visibility. Despite Google explicitly addressing it for almost a decade, it continues to persist on many websites.

In an online marketing strategy, positioning a website higher in search engines is one of the goals to achieve if you want to stand out among your competitors. There are many tactics and SEO rules to implement for this purpose, and training in this field is what you need to understand them. If you want to acquire the right skills, I recommend a course like the SEO Specialist Certification, a highly sought-after professional role by companies.

So, why is it so important to avoid duplicate content for SEO purposes?

In this article, I will explain what duplicate content is, why it is risky, and how to remedy it even if you are dealing with e-commerce websites.

What is Duplicate Content and how it is generated

First and foremost, it’s important to clarify what duplicate content is in SEO, and in this regard, the Google guide explains the concept well without leaving any doubts:

The term “duplicate content” generally refers to significant blocks of content either within or between domains that are identical or very similar.

In essence, the term duplicate content refers to portions or blocks of identical text present on pages with different URLs. This can involve the duplication of excerpts from articles published on other websites, as well as on your website, effectively creating internal duplicate content.

In addition to the plagiarism of others’ texts, which may seem obvious, duplicate content is also generated in other situations, such as:

  • parametric URLs: if you use Google Analytics, you may have created a link to track traffic from a specific source. As a result, you would have a parametric link that duplicates the original one.
  • different versions of the website: if your website exists both as www.yourdomain.com and as yourdomain.com, you will have two duplicate pages. The same applies if your page is online both in http:// and https:// versions, not to mention when you have a page online with a URL ending with or without a trailing slash (/).
  • boilerplate content: the footer or sidebar of different pages often contains similar or identical content. This could be a problem if not properly diversified based on the utility the user might derive from it.

What are the risks of SEO

Search engines always strive to provide the best possible user experience and avoid offering similar or, even more so, identical results on the same SERP (Search Engine Results Page). By filtering out redundancy, Google ensures diverse results for every query entered by its users.

With the introduction of Panda in 2011, Google’s algorithm aimed at minimizing the ranking of low-quality sites further strengthened Google’s efforts in combating duplicate content.

Search engines will rank among the top results in the SERP, which brings the most added value to the user and everything original. In this case, among the various ranking factors, the algorithm takes into account the chronological indexing date and the site’s authority, consequently receiving a better position than content published later.

Although there is no actual Google penalty (at least not in the sense that this word is usually attributed), the risk for SEO is not positioning your content on the first page of the SERP, resulting in a loss of traffic.

Understanding the mechanisms to generate traffic and positioning yourself well in search engines is essential for those involved in web writing.

 

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Solutions to avoid duplicate content

Creating original and quality content for the user is the first rule. In addition, there are some SEO tips to implement to avoid internal duplicates:

  • set up a 301 redirect to the duplicate page so that traffic is redirected to the main page without wasting the crawler budget;
  • specify a canonical URL to indicate to the search engine the preferred version of the page to index in case of identical resources;
  • insert the rel=”noindex” attribute to prevent the indexing of a page with duplicate or low-value content at risk of penalty;
  • apply the rel=”nofollow” attribute to links pointing to pages on our site that are not indexed or have duplicate content;
  • use the rel=”alternate” attribute in case of multiple versions of the site, such as multilingual or mobile versions;
  • include the preferred URL in the Sitemap;
  • vary the content of the Footer and sidebar depending on the destination page.

One last suggestion: periodically check the health status of your site through Google Search Console and submit it for a complete SEO audit to check its optimization and remove duplicate content.

These may seem like technical remedies, but those who write web content, in addition to providing unique, useful, and high-quality content, must be able to constantly work on their site.

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E-commerce content duplication

The issue of duplicate content also affects e-commerce sites. In fact, due to the structural nature of the site itself, the possibilities are even higher.

Consider product listings, whose descriptions are often copied from the original supplier without adding additional value to the page. Furthermore, some Content Management Systems (CMS) for e-commerce management may generate different URLs for the same product if it is present in multiple categories, effectively creating duplicate content.

Optimizing categories and product listings and hierarchically structuring the site hierarchy helps prevent situations that are difficult, if not impossible, to correct later.

Not sure how to identify such content? Below, I provide some useful tools.

Tools for identifying duplicate SEO content

Your site might have also been a victim of plagiarism in other domains. That’s why it’s important to conduct a test for external duplicate content. Similarly, it’s useful to check if your content is too similar to what’s already online before publishing.

Here are some SEO tools for checking for duplicate content.

Copyscape

It’s a premium tool that allows plagiarism checks on all site pages and offers professional solutions to prevent and scan for content fraud daily.

In the free version, all you need to do is enter the site’s link for direct verification on the home page, and the tool will provide a list of pages with duplicate content if any are found.

copyscape checker for duplicates

Siteliner

It’s a free service that very simply analyses your site, indicating factors that affect quality and search engine rankings. Among these, it reports any duplicate content on each page so that it can be corrected promptly.

Its operation is straightforward: copy the URL of the site page to be checked to verify any plagiarism, broken links, internal Page Rank, redirects, and much more.

siteliner tool duplicate content

Screaming Frog

It’s an emulator of Google’s spider and allows for a complete diagnosis of your site. If you’re not an expert, it’s not easy to use. However, it has great potential and is one of the tools used for SEO Audits.

Inside, you can filter duplicate content and URLs that need to be canonicalized or redirected.

Copywritely

It’s software that supports the work of copywriters, bloggers, and SEO experts in optimizing web texts.

It includes a plagiarism content check tool that can identify which parts of the text are similar to external sources. To fully utilize its capabilities, a paid plan is required.

copywritely plagiarism check

Duplichecker

This is a free online plagiarism software used by bloggers, webmasters, and text authors to check for possible document or text plagiarism.

This system provides a simple and intuitive service: you need to copy the text you want to check, the URL of the site’s web page, or directly upload the file and click the plagiarism check button. Another option is to perform a grammar check.

Conclusion

Managing duplicate SEO content is one of the most challenging optimization tasks for the proper positioning of your website. Google’s algorithm is becoming increasingly intelligent, and minimizing similar content has become one of the tasks to perform to avoid penalties that can harm your search engine rankings.

Continuous monitoring of duplicate content is essential to improve your website. Understanding how to identify the right SEO elements and prevent their reappearance by correcting the issue will allow you to grow in Google SERP ranking and achieve the search visibility you aim for.

If you’re interested in this topic and want to learn how to do SEO and optimize your website effectively, get a free career coaching session with an expert who can advise you on the best path based on your needs and characteristics.

 

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