Beware of 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.
Duplicate content poses challenges not only in the realm of textual elements but extends its reach to the visual domain as well. While search engines may not penalize the reuse of images, the ‘alt texts’ associated with them play a crucial role in conveying content to search engines. It’s imperative to ensure that these ‘alt texts’ are as unique as your textual content. This holistic approach enhances not only the SEO performance of your website but also contributes to a more enriching user experience.
Moreover, as you meticulously craft distinct ‘alt texts’ for your images, remember that the quest for uniqueness should extend to other critical elements on your site. Meta titles and meta descriptions, often overlooked but pivotal in attracting user clicks from search results, should each tell a unique story. By presenting a diverse digital footprint across all elements, you not only cater to the algorithms of search engines but also captivate the attention of your audience.
The synthesis of unique textual content, image descriptions, meta titles, and meta descriptions creates a comprehensive and distinct online presence, ensuring that your website stands out in the competitive landscape of search engine results. If this all sounds like a lot, hiring an SEO expert to do the work for you might be an option for you.
So, embrace the journey of crafting a unique digital narrative—your users and search engines alike will thank you for it. Happy copywriting!