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SEO Audit

Duplicate Content Can Affect Your SEO

While there is abundance of “how to” resources on SEO for your business website in books, newsletters and blogs, knowing what not to do is equally important. As a business owner, you should be aware that both searchers and search engines love unique, fresh, quality information. Duplicate content has gained a hazardous meaning thanks to new search engine filters.

What is duplicate content?
Duplicate content using its general meaning relates to pages with identical or similar content either in the same domain or spread across external web pages throughout the web. The information that is defined as duplicate does not have to be exact and could simply be alike or comparable in nature.
However, search engines don’t quantify their selections on a simple test of duplicate content percentage. Search engines do take into account other factors such as site authority, domain age, link popularity and many more.

Why Duplicate Content Doesn’t Work
As you read above, major search engines reject duplicate content. The reason for this is that search engines want to show the most relevant results. Pages with indistinguishable content confuse them and therefore duplicate content filters had to be put in place.

These filters compare one page against the other. E.g. If a search engine comes across two identical pages they will leave the most trusted one in the primary index and move the other to the supplemental index.

You is most likely to be penalized by copying pages from different domains or if your unique vs. duplicate content ratio is too low.

How you can avoid duplicate content
Don’t copy and paste or paraphrase others content! Many people don’t realize that EVERYTHING that is on the internet is automatically covered by Copyright Laws, whether it displays the copyright symbol or not. It’s not good for your search engine rankings and can possibly end up with a lawsuit against you for copyright infringement. Keep your content unique and your own.

Check to see if someone is stealing your content. There are plenty of free duplicate content tools around, these tools will check for copies of your pages on the net.

If you come across a site which duplicates your content, you can file a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) infringement with Google, Yahoo and MSN, as well as having their site removed by their host. You could even file a legal suit. Tools are also available to prove that your content was posted prior to theirs using tools such as WayBackMachine and WhoIs.

If you publish an article on a syndication website and your blog, make sure you include a link back to your own site. This will ensure the syndication page is not ranked above your own.

If you run more than one site and publish your posts on both make sure to tell the search engines which domain you would prefer to be indexed. We suggest redirecting one domain to point to the other and then only update and maintain the one.
If you have exact content on multiple URLs within your site, consider either changing the content or using robots.txt to block the page from being indexed.

If you have several domains with duplicate content targeting different countries you will need to use unique content on each one, otherwise you run the risk of only one site being indexed.

From a business point of view it’s important to drive as much traffic to your site as possible. To make sure this happens its important to understand what duplicate content effects your rankings and how best to avoid it. Create quality pages that add value and reduce the risk of your website being penalized.