The Problem of Duplicate Content Online

The Problem of Duplicate Content Online…

With the advent of social media, the irony of ironies is that such a high volume of voices vying for attention makes it harder for businesses to get noticed.


Those stock industry practices that worked so well offline (fire out a press release to all and sundry to reach a broad readership) won’t cut it in the digital arena. Online that’s tantamount to launching a flotilla of bottled messages into a vast sea of information.

Avoid duplicate content online

The big issue here is duplicate content online. This can include non-malicious examples such as mobile versions of umbrella sites, as well as cynical attempts by some quarters to manipulate SEO indexing. For that Google pay’s very short shrift. Especially since the emergence of its new Hummingbird algorithm that highly values unique, quality content.

To hear Google’s official stance on duplicate content on website pages, watch this Google Video. Matt Cutts, Chief of Google’s Webspam team, explains what is duplicate content and what isn’t, and what to do about it if it is :-

Stay in the Google Index

Google’s official ‘Webmaster Tools’ site says: “In the rare cases in which Google perceives that duplicate content may be shown with intent to manipulate our rankings and deceive our users, we’ll also make appropriate adjustments in the Google Index and the ranking of the sites involved.

Google spider software
“As a result,” it adds “the ranking of the site may suffer, or the site might be removed entirely from the Google index, in which case it will no longer appear in search results.” Bad news for cynical, or even just careless, SEO practices.

Add value to Google search results

SEO Expert, Eric Enge goes one step further on searchengineland.com saying: “Success as a publisher does not simply mean ‘don’t spam’ or ‘don’t use duplicate content’ – in fact, it means much more.

“If you are publishing websites and ranking in search engines is a key part of your business strategy, than be prepared to answer the following question: ‘How will showing your webpages in their results improve the search engine’s product?’”
In other words does your content add value to Google’s search results, and ultimately, the arena that you’re contributing to and your end user’s search experience? Is it unique, rich and meaningful? If the answer is ‘no’ then it’s time for a rethink.

How does the Google Algorithm decide?

How to stay in the Google Index

So what’s the answer? Well, Google lists a number of technical solutions but the most pertinent (and accessible) that we’d pick out are:

High-quality, unique content

According to Google: “Organic or word-of-mouth buzz is what helps build your site’s reputation with both users and Google, and it rarely comes without quality content. Anticipate differences in users’ understanding of your topic and offer unique, exclusive content.” Part of that anticipation process is optimising your content with a liberal amount of keyword phrases pertinent to the spectrum of end users searching for a solution that you can offer. Help Google to index your content correctly.

Content syndication

Be careful about syndicating your content to other websites. In an ideal world, all your invaluable insights would be stored in one place (such as PIF!) but of course you need to leverage channels of authority. Just bear in mind that Google’s search engines will always pick out the most relative version according to them, which might not encompass your original content.

Matt Cutts, says: “if you do syndicate content, make sure that you include a link to the original content. That will help ensure that the original content has more PageRank, which will aid in picking the best documents in our index.”

Site structure

Be sure to minimize similar content within your own website’s structure. Consider either merging similar content into one page or perhaps expanding the detail on similar topics to create new, unique content and pages.
Implement these simple, but highly effective, methods and your online presence will wash up to the top of the search engine sea of rankings in no time.

One more tip!! Watch this video to learn about how rank better on Google by posting ‘Hyper-fresh’ content – the content that is published most recently can rank the highest, regardless of other SEO factors.

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