Duplicate content is an easy-to-avoid mistake that, unfortunately, many marketers still make. Put simply, duplicate content is when you publish a web page that has the same content as another web page on the internet. That content can be on your own website or someone else’s website.
Search engines look negatively at duplicate content, because they don’t want web viewers to keep seeing the same thing. Usually only the first-time publisher of the content gets the listing while the rest are filtered out.
If you have duplicate content on your own website, search engines may view that as an attempt to spam to search engines and downgrade your site.
In general, having duplicate content of any sort is bad for your search engine rankings.
How can you avoid duplicate content?
=> Copyscape All Outsourced Content
Search for a copy of any content that you’ve had outsourced using Copyscape. Copyscape will then search the web for any likely matches to your content and let you know if the content’s been copied from another source.
While it doesn’t happen often, occasionally outsourcees will take blocks of text from other websites and call it their own. If you put that up on your website, you risk getting penalized. Don’t take the risk — always use Copyscape.
=> Minimize Duplicate Content Across Your Site
You’re going to have some level of duplicate content on your site. For example, the navigation bar, the footer and the header are probably going to be the same across many of your pages.
That said, some webmasters also have the same introduction, the same bio or the same call to action on all their pages. As you might expect, that’s not good for search rankings. Aim to reduce duplicate content across your sites as much as possible.
If you’re using a content management system like WordPress, learn the ins and outs of how they organize content. For example, with WordPress, by default the categories section takes blocks of text from your main post and puts it in the categories section. In other words, it auto-generates duplicate content. This is a setting that can be turned off.
This is a pitfall with many systems that post “snippets” of text with a link to the full version. Google sees the same text twice, sometimes even multiple times throughout the site and may penalize you.
Learn how your CMS organizes content and make sure your settings are optimized to reduce duplicate appearances of the same content.
=> Avoiding Duplicate Content
Once you get in the habit of searching Copyscape for duplicates and set up your site in such a way that reduces duplicate content, then duplicate content shouldn’t be an issue. A little bit of vigilance in making sure your content is original can go a long way towards protecting you from search engine penalties.
This article originally appeared here: http://patch.com/california/burlingame-hillsborough/how-to-prevent-duplicate-content