Can Duplicate Content Hurt Your SEO?

Duplicate content is content that appears on more than one page of your website or related pages such as landing pages. Duplicate content doesn’t mean plagiarized content, but it is easy to get confused about this. Your content may be 100 percent original content, but it’s important not to use this content in more than one place on the internet or across various marketing channels.

Why can’t you use duplicate content? You worked hard on that page, and you want that hard work to be used on other parts of your website or on other marketing copy. Read on to learn why duplicate content should not be used and how it impacts your SEO.

Ways Duplicate Content Negatively Impacts SEO

When the same or extremely similar content appears in more than one place on the internet, search engines can get confused. A search engine may be unsure which piece of content is most relevant. The search engine may believe the content is plagiarized and could penalize it by not displaying it in search engine results pages. The following are a few more ways duplicate content hurts your SEO efforts.

Causes Search Engine Confusion

Some companies buy more than one website, thinking that it will help promote their business. If they use the exact same content on both websites, their marketing efforts will actually have the opposite effect of promotion and will likely result in decreased rankings. Google and other search engines could get confused between the two sites, and won’t rank either of them. This will harm your SEO.

Gets You Penalized by Google

Search engines like Google are starting to penalize duplicate content because they aren’t always able to figure out what to do with this content. Google prefers to show searchers distinct results so they have options when conducting a search. Google may penalize your site if it believes you intentionally used duplicate content to manipulate the algorithm. However, you could also be penalized if Google determines your duplicate content is not beneficial to the user experience.

Duplicate Content Is Not Valuable to the User

Ultimately, your content needs to be useful for your audience. Your audience doesn’t benefit much from the exact same content across websites and channels. You want to give your audience new, useful, original content on a regular basis. Duplicate content hurts your brand and user experience, which can result in decreased traffic and other engagement issues that will ultimately harm your SEO efforts and your business as a whole.

What Can You Do if You Have Duplicate Content?

You can correct issues related to duplicate content to ensure that this content doesn’t continue to harm your rankings. For instance, you can begin writing fresh, compelling, original content that is valuable to your audience. Here are a few other things you can do to correct duplicate content issues.

  • Take down or replace duplicate content
  • Use plagiarism sites to check for duplicate content and make corrections
  • Take action against websites that may have stolen your content
  • Make sure you cite your sources correctly
  • Add no-index tags to pages you don’t want to be indexed by Google or other search engines

Struggling to Write Unique and Compelling Copy? Get Content Marketing Help

Not every business owner knows how to write interesting and useful content across their website, landing pages, and social media accounts or has the in-house resources to handle content management. If you find yourself tempted to copy paragraphs from another piece of content to reuse for a new piece of content, you may need some help with content marketing. You can get help with content creation and SEO optimization so your business is not penalized in the rankings department due to duplicate content.