If you’ve dabbled in SEO at any time, or spoken to anyone who has, you’ve probably heard about duplicate content. This is content that appears the same across multiple URLs and whilst sometimes unintentional, it can also be malicious in an attempt to manipulate search results. Either way, duplicate content can have a severe negative impact on SEO and your website in general.
Duplicate content has a negative impact on user experience, and a good user experience is exactly what Google aims to offer its customers. If users are pointed to the same content over and over again, rather than fresh content that is relevant to their search queries, it can be frustrating and thus creates a poor user experience.
Indexing your website will also become increasingly difficult. If multiple pages are populated with the same content, keywords and images, search engines won’t be able to determine which version to index and which to exclude.
Google also states:
“Duplicate content on a site is not grounds for action on that site unless it appears that the intent of the duplicate content is to be deceptive and manipulate search engine results.”
So if you have duplicate content on your website for the purpose of black-hat techniques and manipulating your search rankings, you may find that your website will be removed from Google’s index. If not, it may just be the case that your original content will rank higher than the duplicate, but your overall domain ranking won’t be affected.
It is important to have quality, original content across your website. This provides a good user experience and ensures that you have the best possible chance of ranking highly on search engines, particularly if Google has no reason to think that you are attempting to manipulate search results with black-hat strategies. If you are struggling, take some time to to read Google’s Quality Guidelines to see precisely what falls into the realms of ‘quality content’ in the Big G’s eyes.