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How Big of a Problem is Duplicate Content?

Duplicate content is content that appears in more than one place on the internet. While not exactly a penalty, duplicate content can still have a negative impact on your search rankings. When the same content is posted on multiple URLs, Google has a difficult time determining which one is the best version. 

Even if you’re not penalized by Google, having duplicate content can result in traffic losses and lower rankings. In order to give your content the search visibility it deserves, you’ll want to avoid duplicate content. 

Where Does Duplicate Content Come From? 

In most cases, duplicate content is not created intentionally. Believe it or not, roughly 29% of the internet is duplicate content. Here are some examples of how duplicate content happens: 

  • Boilerplate content. Boilerplate content is available on various sections or pages of your website. An example is when you post content to your blog and it’s featured on your home page. As Google bots crawl your site and see the same content, they’ll assume it’s duplicate. 
  • URL parameters for tracking and sorting. Another cause of duplicate content is using similar URL parameters. The URLs may look the same to you, but this is not the case for the search engines. They’ll see the URLs as being different, therefore finding duplicate content and lowering your rankings. 
  • Session IDs. It’s smart to keep track of your visitors and let them pick up where they left off. To do this, you’ll give them a “session.” Their unique session ID needs to be stored, but sometimes, some systems fall back to using session IDs in the URL, creating duplicate content. 

Identifying Duplicate Content 

Google is one of the easiest ways to find duplicate content on your site. Other tools you can check out include Copyscape, Siteliner and Duplichecker. When you find duplicate content on your site, you can make the necessary fixes depending on the issue. An article that has been curated, for example, will benefit from fresh ideas and insight. Or, if there are several URLs that lead to the same content, identify the “correct” or canonical URL. 

Duplicate content happens more often than people realize. To avoid duplicate content from weakening your website, avoid creating duplicate content and redirect duplicate content to the canonical URL. For more information about identifying and fixing duplicate content on your site, contact GO Digital WSI today.