Duplicate Content can be something that causes a lot of anxiety in the minds of SEO managers. While plagiarism is a clear indication of duplicate content, that will be penalized, the real problem is typically internal. Internal duplicate content, especially for websites that have been around for a while, can be a complete unconscious mistake. While Google will not necessarily penalize you for this, as they really only penalize sites that are clearly trying to be manipulative, it can still cause you a lot of problems. Below are some of the consequences of duplicate content:
- Wasted Crawls: If crawlers see duplicate content, they will abort the crawl and in turn, lower the number of pages indexed.
- Wasted Link Equity: Your duplicate content can gain link authority, and Pagerank, but will not be indexed. This means that some of your domain authority is essentially going nowhere.
- Page Competition: Some of your pages will be competing with each other, causing issues in regard to ranking.
- Penalties: While penalties are typically not incurred, they can happen, so just be wary of what you post.
While these consequences can be relatively severe, there are lots of ways to avoid doing this, even by accident. Let’s take a look at some of these preventative measures.
- 301 Redirects: Making sure that your page redirects to the original page can help to avoid crawlers picking up on this duplicate content, leading to higher rankings, as well as no penalties for content that is not fresh and unique.
- Robots.txt: Adding a noindex or nofollow on the robots.txt file makes sure that the crawlers do not look at or follow that page.
- Canonical Tags: Adding canonical tags is helpful in that you can point crawlers to the original page, where the customers can still see the page. In this case, it is typically used for e-commerce, in that a lot of the product descriptions are essentially the same.
- Editing and Doing Content Audits: Doing content audits help to ensure you will not write content that is the same as any other page that is on a page.
- Checking New Content in Plagiarism Software: If you are writing new content, there are a lot of free content scanners that check for plagiarism, which can ensure you that there are no problems.