Beware of duplicate content

Duplicate content

What is it?

To put it bluntly – a problem.

In the world of search engines and SEO (search engine optimization), duplicate content refers to the existence of multiple identical sections of text located at different URLs or addresses. The problem occurs when Google or another search engine has to decide which address to promote, as they do not want to show the same content twice. Since a search engine is primarily designed to offer the customer the most accurate and relevant results, it should be no surprise that duplicated results are filtered out.

So how does the search engine choose which URL to show?

A number of factors come into account:

  • Which page did the engine see first?
  • Is the domain a trusted one?
  • How high is the page ranked?
  • Are there many links pointing towards the site?

As a result, if your site is not Amazon or Ebay and has copied text on one or more of the pages, prepare to suffer traffic losses and disappear from the first page of search engines.

How do I avoid duplicating content?

Simple. Google is a customer service portal, your customers are also Google’s customers so by making your text unique, rich and informative you will be viewed favorably by Google. For example, if your site is an e-commerce venture (selling products) and it happens to stock items that are being sold on other sites, do not copy your rivals’ product descriptions. Even if you are just looking for inspiration, make sure that no two words that sit next to one another can be found elsewhere. So for instance, if a rival shop describes a product as “with plenty of winter charm,” do not be tempted just to write “winter charm is…etc etc.” Instead, avoid the use of this phrase completely.

So be unique!

But what about images? Will search engines penalise me for using the same image?

Nope. Fortunately, search engines cannot see, only read. However, make sure that all ‘alt texts’ accompanying images are not duplicates. ‘Alt text’ images are the short lines of text that accompany all images on the web and can be viewed either by hovering over an image or through viewing the page source code.

Happy copywriting!