Just about anyone who has a website and has looked into good SEO practices will have heard things about duplicate content. When it comes to duplicate content, the reports are rarely positive. It’s true, you can find duplicate content when searching Google or other search engines, but generally this content is in the news category, rather than on business or personal websites.
Let’s look more closely at duplicate content to determine whether it’s an issue or not.
Is Duplicate Content An SEO Myth?
Duplicate content is not a myth. It’s a real thing and something that can affect the performance of your site in search engines. The reason you keep hearing about original content and duplicate content when it comes to SEO is because it does have an impact on how well your content and your website rank overall when people input relevant search terms.
Okay, so the duplicate content problem is not a myth, but why is it a problem for search engines and what happens if your website contains duplicate or copied content?
Why Google Doesn’t Like Duplicate Content
To begin with, if you simply copy and paste content from another website, you are in breach of copyright. The person who owns the content/site owns the copyright, unless they’ve expressively given permission for people to freely copy it and redistribute the content.
This can be one reason why search engine giant Google frowns upon duplicate content.
Also, Google is always trying to supply the best content for the search queries typed into its search engine algorithm. Google filters search results and generally tends to remove duplicate content from the results, favouring the content that was uploaded the earliest, considering this to be the original content.
Google doesn’t want to serve up the exact same content multiple times, as the search engine views this as contrary to providing the very best results for end users.
Will Duplicate Content Result In a Penalty Against Your Site?
So, we know that duplicate content is a thing and search engines don’t favour it, but will having duplicate content on your website (either your own content duplicated or someone else’s content) result in you getting a Google penalty?
In a way, yes, but not a harsh penalty like having your website deindexed or something as extreme as that. Generally, the “penalty” will be that you duplicate content doesn’t feature in the search results. Instead, it’s likely to be filtered out.
Having said that, if your entire website is full of duplicate content and content copied and scraped from other sources, Google may view this type of website as being of little or no value, and therefore not index the site at all.
While there might be the odd occasion to feature duplicate content on your website, it’s a much safer practice to always feature only original content to give your site every chance of performing well in search engine results.
If your content is original, at least you can rest easy and not have to give a second thought to duplicate content and any ramifications as a result.