Duplicate content refers to website content that is duplicated on another website or to content that is duplicated within a website. The most serious problems for webmasters occur when content is duplicated on another URL.
Duplicate Content Penalty
I had a new client contact me a few months ago who was livid that the homepage of his website had been de-indexed from the Google Search Engine. He challenged me to find out why.
I imagined that this would be a really time-consuming task applying Google SEO, but agreed to help identify the cause. Turns out, it only took about an hour.
I began by checking the backlinks to his homepage and what I discovered was one of the most unusual instances of duplicate content that I had ever seen! I found over a dozen sites with his identical homepage content – right down to the layout – and all of these sites were linking to his de-indexed homepage.
A little more investigation, looking into the ownership of all these websites, revealed that the same guy owned them all. That same guy was my client. In short, the guy was spamming his own website!
The duplicate content penalty was applied because his exact homepage was found all over the World Wide Web.
Duplicate Content and Affiliate Marketers
This scenario of cookie-cutter websites is found all over the affiliate marketing sphere. Novices will take the exact copy of an affiliate-solicitation page and throw it up on a website. Big mistake. New affiliate marketers learn the hard way that entirely new content must be written and that NOTHING from the product owner’s webpage should be used.
Sites with tens of thousands of product descriptions have accrued massive expenses for content rewriting. But there is no other choice if they want search engine traffic from Google for free. At least content writing is a one-time expense as opposed to pay-for-click advertising costs.
Duplicate content SEO is nothing more than looking for duplicates the way Googlebot does.
Google Duplicate Content Penalty
The take-away from the video above is, again, hire an expert. Don’t use automatic software for translations to other languages.
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Check for Duplicate Content Issue
Unfortunately, website content is vulnerable to content theft and anything that you post online is susceptible. Your plagiarized content can end up on multiple websites without your knowledge.
To its credit, on October 31, 2011, Google created a message feature for site owners in its Webmaster Tools. Google is now sending messages to webmasters if a duplicate content website is receiving priority in the search results.
Google employee Pierre Far advises webmasters:
“If you believe that another site is duplicating your content in violation of copyright law, you may contact the site’s host to request removal. In addition, you can request that Google remove the infringing page from our search results by filing a request under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.”
This announcement was the first time Google had offered to de-index a site upon a valid request. And it works! I personally file dozens of these DMCA Take Down requests every month.
If your plagiarized content is being displayed on a website that uses the Google AdSense program to display Google advertising, be sure to report the site to AdSense. Google will drop publishers from the AdSense program for uploading plagiarized content.
You can file your complaints using the Google online form.
Find out more about duplicate content SEO from a Google engineer in the video below.
Duplicate Content Within a Site
Webpages that are duplicated within a site are minor infractions of Google’s Webmasters Guidelines, but should be dealt with. Fortunately, the solutions are easy. Everything that you need to do and complete instructions are found on Google’s own webpage. (I would post all of that content right here except that would be, well, duplicate content.)
I could try to paraphrase it or rewrite it in different words. Guess what, Google considers that to be duplicate content, too. And since I have no further insight to add or new/interesting idea, I’ll take a pass.
That’s just what Google is hoping I will do. Nixing duplicate content is part of the Google continual effort to present the best answers for search queries.
About the author: I’m Diane H. Wong. Before having started working for write my essay service, I worked as a digital marketing manager. It helped me understand a customer’s behavior better so that I created my own Ecommerce strategy.