Liz Maritz

The Perils of Duplicate Content

We search engine optimization practitioners hate duplicate content.  For some, it is the bane of our existence.  Yet, we find it everywhere.   

The search engines are not fond of duplicate content and often filter it out.  Duplicate content goes well beyond plagiarism.  For example, many websites post identical content on several pages.  Other forms of duplicate content include posting identical news feeds that already exist and posting the same article that you wrote on two or more of your own websites. 

Since duplicate content is filtered, it is important at least in the case of webpages to adjust the content slightly.  While in many cases the duplicate content is accidental, some websites purposely post duplicate content and change the images or navigation menus.   

As mentioned previously, plagiarism is another issue altogether when it comes to duplicate content.  Often, websites automatically phish content – that is automatically take content from other web sites – in order to fill space and get the appropriate keywords for their Google Adsense ads.  Not only are these websites plagiarizing your content, but they could be hurting your search engine standing as a result of duplicate content. 

So how do you fight back?  There are several internet tools that will allow you to identify duplicate content.  One of the most popular tools is  CopyScape is a simple search tool that scours the internet searching for duplicate content for whatever you type into the search engine.  This tool does a fair job of aiding in your quest to get rid of duplicate content. 

Of course, another simple way to make sure your content is not being duplicated is to type unique phrases from your content into search engines results.  Once in a while, you will be able to find duplicate content in the search engines.  At the very least, going through this type of search will allow you to monitor any reaction to your website.

Seth Trachtman is a Web Marketing Account Manager for The Net Impact Web Development St. Louis

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