What Is Duplicate Content and Why Should I Avoid It?

What is duplicate content?

In the world of digital marketing, optimizing your medical or dental website to appeal to both search engine robots and human users can be a difficult—but rewarding—endeavor. Ensuring that both site visitors and algorithms can successfully find what they need is the best way to earn authority and boost traffic to your site. Adding original content and removing duplicate content—what industry professionals often call dupe—is an essential step in improving the SEO health and overall value of your website.

Google makes no secret of the fact it rewards websites that offer a better user experience with greater search visibility. Hard-to-navigate sites filled with “black hat” tactics and automatically generated content can quickly result in ranking penalties or even being pulled from the search index. What Google and SEO strategists universally recommend is to provide high-quality, original content that is engaging, informative, and unique to your website. They also specifically advise removing dupe content.

What Is Dupe?

Dupe content is exactly what it sounds like: blocks of text that are repeated verbatim across multiple pages, either on one website or several. Dupe can occur in a number of ways. For instance, if you have a sizable boilerplate attached to the bottom of every page; if you “borrow” information from another website to save time or money; or if others “borrow” your content, even if it was original when you posted it. However it happens, Google now perceives your site as having dupe.

How Do I Address Duplicate Content?

It should be obvious by now that duplicate content is bad for SEO, but what should you do about it? The answer to that will likely depend on the source of the duplication.

Internal Dupe

If various pages on your website have the same or very similar content, both visitor experience and page ranking can suffer. The first step in addressing this type of internal dupe is to identify the source. If you have multiple pages on your site that use the same content, consider either consolidating them or diversifying and/or expanding the content on each page. In cases where your dupe concerns are being caused by a lengthy boilerplate section—such as a copyright notice or company mission statement—consider either shortening the content or replacing the boilerplate with a link to an individual page containing the necessary information.

External Dupe

External duplicate content—or content that appears on multiple websites—can be more difficult to contend with, depending on the circumstances. In cases where your website’s content was borrowed from other websites or generated using external sources, the solution is typically to remove that content from your site and replace it with original content.

However, in cases where your original content has been duplicated to another website, things can be more frustrating. Fortunately, there are a few potential solutions for addressing this issue. Sometimes, contacting the site administrator directly about removing the stolen content can resolve the issue. In other cases, you can file a DMCA takedown request and have Google hide the page(s) containing the stolen content from search results. Another additional step involves expanding, revising, and/or rewriting your existing content. By refreshing your own website copy, you can potentially improve your search ranking and SEO value while mitigating the possibility of incurring dupe penalties.

Rosemont Media Can Help

Creating original content is one of the most important factors in developing a user-friendly website with excellent online visibility. Rosemont Media has a variety of tools that can help identify duplicate content and we can advise you on the best course of action for protecting the health of your website. We also have a team of marketing experts that can help you craft engaging and informative original content. For more information, or if you have questions about duplicate content on your website, contact us today.

Editor’s note: The original version of this post was published on October 14, 2014.

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