What Is Duplicate Content Issue:  One of the issues that many websites face is the Duplicate Content Issue. Duplicate Content, as the name suggests, means content that exists in more than one URL. Every page on the web has a unique location called the Uniform Resource Locator (URL). If more than one page has almost similar content, then it is called Duplicate Content.

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What Is Duplicate Content Issue?

Let’s say you have written a blog post with the targeted keyword “Duplicate Content”. The URL for that particular page is https://domain.com/duplicate-content. If the same or almost same content appears in another page with an URL, say https://domain.com/duplicate-content-issue, then the content is duplicate.

Google defines Duplicate Content as “substantive blocks of content within or across domains that either completely match other content or are appreciably similar.”

Many webmasters say that Google penalizes websites with duplicate content. While that is not entirely true, there is no denying to the fact that duplicate content impacts Search Engine Optimization negatively. Also, if done intentionally, there is this question of ethics.

How Does Google Respond To Duplicate Content Issue?

Duplicate Content confuses Google. When Google finds similar content in multiple pages, it cannot decide:

  1. Which particular page to index and show in search results,
  2. To which page should it pass link equity and authority.

Google, in general, doesn’t show multiple versions of the same content in search results. It picks up the one that it thinks is the best result. Ultimately, what happens is that visibility of all the duplicate pages is diluted.

Also, having multiple pages for the same content can result in other domains linking to the multiple pages instead of just one, thereby, distributing the Link Equity among all these pages. Now, since backlinks is a ranking factor, this impacts the visibility of all these pages.

Note that if Google finds duplicate content in two different domains, it is likely that the more authoritative site will be given preference.

Reasons Behind Duplicate Content Issues

While some websites deliberately copy content from other websites, for most it doesn’t happen intentionally. Apart from copying of content, there are various other reasons why duplicate content issues arise. Some of these are as under:

  • Multiple Versions Of The Website: If a website has both www and non-www versions or https and https versions and both these versions are available to search engines, the same content is available in two pages.
  • Use Of URL Parameters: Using URL Parameters to track, for example clicks, can create multiple URLs for the same content. Even the order in which URL Parameters appear in the URL can cause these issues.
  • Content Of Certain Types: Certain types of content are bound to give rise to Duplicate Content Issues. For example, product description on e-commerce websites. Most of the e-commerce websites publish the same description of the products as provided by the manufacturers, resulting in Duplicate Content Issues. 

    I have also seen it in many educational websites as well as websites that provide information about jobs.

  • Printer-Friendly Versions Of Pages: If you have printer-friendly versions of your pages and you link to them from other pages, search engines will discover them.

Solutions For Duplicate Content Issues

There are various solutions to avoid Duplicate Content. Some of these are as under:

  1. Use canonicalization to direct different versions of the same content to the Canonical or Preferred URL.
  2. If your CMS creates printer-friendly versions of the pages, block them.
  3. If your website has both http and https versions or www and non www versions, set a preference using Google Webmaster Tool.
  4. Avoid using URL parameters for click tracking. You can use tracking that are hashtag based.
  5. Use 301 redirect to direct the duplicate page to the original page.

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And lastly, do not copy content from other pages, even if the pages are on your own website.

I hope I have been able to understand everything about what is Duplicate Content Issue. If you have any question regarding what is Duplicate Content Issue, feel free to ask them in the comment section below. I will get back to you at the earliest.