What is Duplicate Content?
Duplicate content refers to a page on a website that has website copy that is “appreciably similar” to website copy on another page on the website.
The tricky part here is that this can be identifying any page on your website that is similar to another page on the site. So, some of these errors can be an easy fix. The errors that are a bigger issue, are when your content or product pages are considered duplicate content.
If you run a site audit, and you are seeing this error, look through the pages that have been identified. If you are seeing product pages or top-level pages, then this is the error we are most concerned about.
What is the Issue with Duplicate Content?
Although duplicate content is not something that will cause Google to remove your entire website from the search engine, it can cause Google to incorrectly serve the duplicate content pages for the wrong keywords or to the wrong audiences.
If you run a Dog Product Website, and the Chew Toy product page and the Dog Food product page are considered duplicated. Google will either struggle to rank both pages correctly, or Google will choose 1 of the 2 pages to index and the other page will not be indexed in Google.
This means, in the worst-case scenario, if the Dog Food product page is chosen by Google to index, the Chew Toy page will not appear on Google and we will lose out on the ability to rank for Chew Toy related keywords. So, if customers search “Chew Toys” they will not find your Chew Toy product page.
How to Fix Duplicate Content Errors
Duplicate content errors can be fixed in a variety of ways depending on the type of error. As I mentioned earlier, if you run a site audit and you are seeing duplicate content errors for blog category pages or blog tags, you can choose to simply Noindex those pages. This also helps to focus your organic traffic to optimized pages like blog posts are product pages.
The next scenario would be if your pages are duplicates but one of the pages is stronger or should be indexed over the other. In this case, you can use a canonical. This tells the search engine which page to index and solve the duplicate content issue.
The last way to fix a duplicate content error and the best way to fix the error for top-level pages or product pages, is to write unique content for each page. Adding additional unique content to each page will not only clear the duplicate content issue, but it will also help the page rank higher for its unique keywords. In terms of a product page, this section can be a place where you optimize each page for its own unique keywords in addition to providing additional information about your product.
To Sum It All Up
Duplicate content is not something that will completely remove your website from Google, but it can potentially affect certain pages. We recommend being proactive about this issue and it will not only prevent your pages from being removed from the search engine, but it can help strengthen and improve your current keyword positions.
If you have a question that was not answered above, or you’d like to speak with our SEO team about your duplicate content issues, fill out a free consultation form.