Having fresh and well-written content is paramount to the success of any website. In fact, regularly publishing SEO content is essential if you want to rank high on organic search results.
Website content has many different kinds – landing pages, product pages as well as videos. However, what most people associate with it is a blog post.
Why exactly is content important?
Well, it is what adds value to your website, providing users with the information they need.
By putting out useful and informative content, you give your visitors excellent user experience. This can increase confidence and trust in your site and eventually, lead to more visitors.
However, not all pieces of content found on the Internet are of high quality. The truth is that many of them are duplicates or by Google’s definition, “content within or across domains that either completely matches other content or are appreciably similar”.
Duplicate texts or blogs are published either by mistake or intentionally.
Sometimes, website owners make variations on their content and post it on their site or as guests blogs on other domains. Republishing content is okay for as long as it is done the right way.
There are also cases wherein webmasters opt to copy or rehash content from other sites and publish it on their website. Some do it because they are unaware of the importance of original content; others simply want to cut costs or put out something immediately.
This is very common in the E-commerce world wherein shops that sell the same items have similar product descriptions.
Sometimes, content duplication is done for a malicious purpose – to sabotage a competitor’s ranking on search engine results pages (SERPs). It is a tactic used in negative SEO or the practice of using black hat and unethical strategies to pull down another site’s organic search rankings. What happens here is that your original content is scraped and posted on other sites.
Duplicate content has a negative effect on user experience.
When visitors read your content and realise they’ve read the exact thing on another domain, they are going to think that your site is not trustworthy. This perception is going to deter them from visiting your website in the future and lead to traffic losses.
Duplicate content can also be problematic for search engines as they are not able to identify which versions to include in their indices. As a result, the right or original version may end up not getting indexed. When your content is not in the indices, it won’t show up on search results.
Furthermore, search engines do not show similar versions of the same content on SERPs. What it does is it picks one version – the one that’s deemed to be the best match for a specific search query. This is why, sometimes, SERPs display the message that other similar results were not displayed.
Simply put, having duplicate content can hurt your rankings on organic search results.
Consequently, ranking low or not appearing at all on SERPs can lessen your online visibility and prevent you from getting more traffic.
Google may even ban your site if you’ve posted duplicate content to manipulate rankings on SERPs and deceive users.
Clearly, identifying and resolving duplicate content issues are necessary for a website to gain more traffic and customers. This is why checking for duplicate content is an integral part of an SEO audit.
An SEO audit is a comprehensive evaluation of your website, specifically how it is performing on organic search results.
The purpose of the audit is to identify issues like duplicate content which are preventing the site from performing well on SERPs.
How frequent you should audit depends on factors like the size of the site and how much traffic it gets. The number of content you publish per week or month also has an effect on the frequency of the audit.
For small websites, the recommendation is to conduct an audit every six months. Meanwhile, for big websites that publish a lot of new content every month, the evaluation should be done once every quarter.
During the audit, the focus is not just to identify duplicate text content but also URLs that lead to duplicate content.
Nowadays, there are readily available tools which make checking for duplicate content easy.
However, it is still best if you let a professional SEO specialist do this task. This is to ensure that a thorough check is conducted and all duplicates are identified. More importantly, doing this guarantees you that the right steps are taken to resolve the issue.
Are you concerned about duplicate content issues? We have experts who can perform an SEO audit and help you fix any issues that are preventing your site from ranking on SERPs. Visit our website now to book our professional SEO audit!