What Is Duplicate Content & How Does It Hurt Your Search Rankings?

John Bonini

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What Is Duplicate Content & How Does It Hurt Your Search Rankings? Blog Feature

Published on August 1st, 2014

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what-is-duplicate-contentAs embarrassing as it is to admit, it wasn't until I was a junior in college that I discovered you could duplicate a slide in PowerPoint. This was paramount in my efforts of supporting my hobby of sleeping. All-nighters turned to later-afternoon-ers. It was a glorious time-saver.

Unfortunately, when it comes to your content marketing strategy, duplicating for time is accompanied with some stiff penalties in regards to your search engine rankings. Admittedly, however, there is some grey area. What is duplicate content? What's the rule for featuring other's content on our own blog? Are there specific guidelines to follow? 

We know it can be tricky, so let's explore. (Also, check out our full 40-page SEO report for more.)

How much does duplicate content hurt your search rankings?

To start, let's see how Google defines duplicate content:

“In some cases, content is deliberately duplicated across domains in an attempt to manipulate search engine rankings or win more traffic. Deceptive practices like this can result in a poor user experience, when a visitor sees substantially the same content repeated within a set of search results.

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 indexing and ranking of the sites involved. As a result, 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.”

What this means for you

While Google defines duplicate content as a “deceptive practice aimed to manipulate search rankings,” there doesn’t have to be malicious intent on the part of the marketer for there to be consequences.

For instance, many companies are simply looking to fill slots on their company blog, so they feature blog posts from other publications in an effort to publish more content and generate more traffic. Because of Google’s guidelines on duplicate content, this can actually have an adverse effect.

If you’re serious about driving more traffic to your website and improving your search rankings, then you also need to be serious about creating original content on a consistent basis.

Create, don't curate. 

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