Q. Content such as specifications or features of a product will be same across every website selling it. So, how can we handle the content that will be duplicated across several sites?
A. The first thing you should know is that duplicate content works at different levels. The duplicate content within your website can be the biggest problem for you. If there are exactly two same pages, you have to use canonical meta tag to help Google and Bing understand, which page is the authoritive one.
Second case is the presence of duplicate content on your and other websites. If there is a press release that exists verbatim on your website and via syndication on other sites, it is a lesser problem. Syndication and duplication happens all over the web. What I would suggest is that you release your press release on your own website first and then release it via syndication after a few days on the other press release syndication sites. If the press release is just a click from your home page, Google will index your site frequently and you press release will get better value over the syndicated examples.
Third case is when you and other’s websites have similar content for a single product such as a mobile phone. You should focus on differentiating your product listing from that of the competitors with following tips:
Be the first one to talk about the product on the web and using a press release would be a smart way to create a faster buzz. Being first has got several advantages.
By posting your own blog about the product, recommendations, and reviews, you can create unique content.
You can wrap the duplicate content with unique and different content like site navigation, footer content, links to related content etc.
Try getting inbound links from reliable sources as this will help you in sticking out huge in terms of SEO
These are easy ways to make your own content unique and stand out of the competitors.
Duplicate content pieces can be a serious point of concern for website owners. Google is quite strict about duplicate content and ranks these pages higher in the search engine results page (SERP).
Duplicate articles on your site are not only an issue when they’re flagged by other people, but you need to make sure that it’s clear where new information lives within your article because otherwise Google may penalize you with low rankings or worse — no listings at all!
So, managing the duplicate versions of your website content must be your primary focus in terms of your website’s SEO optimization.
The types of duplicate content you may find
Do the duplicate versions of your website content exist on other websites? To be straightforward, No. Often it is found that a website itself is containing a duplicate version of one of its web pages. Also, you may find identical versions of your website content in other websites that are targeting similar or related niches. You must kick out the misconception that two duplicate web pages of your site won’t affect your site’s SERP ranking. If you’re trying to rule out the duplicate versions of your website content from the web, you need to manage both categories of duplicate content.
What does the term ‘duplicate content’ refer to?
In simple words, when two or more websites offer similar or identical information, Google refers to those as duplicate content pieces. From Google’s perspective, a similarity between the content pieces of two URLs clarifies both the content pieces as duplicate ones.
Often, websites targeting similar niches and keywords contain similar content pieces and Google categorizes those duplicate content. It’s pretty hard to offer fresh information about a specific topic or niche when so many websites are targeting the same one. In such cases, the chances of content duplicacy increase and that directly affects the SERP rankings of websites with duplicate content.
Most websites present similar content pieces in their landing pages and Thank You pages. Also, the disclaimer pages and terms & conditions pages remain almost the same on all websites. These pages also get detected as duplicate pages.
Apart from these two, there’s another major factor that increases the chances of content duplicacy among websites. If your website is offering information about specific products or services, you need to be more cautious regarding content duplicacy. Thousands of websites generate content pieces related to product reviews, comparisons, and service descriptions. So, similarities between your website’s reviews or comparison and other websites’ reviews are quite common in this case.
The way Google handles duplicate content pieces
While showing up search results, Google collapses and eliminates the duplicate web pages firstly. Google attempts to bring out the origin websites of the duplicate content pieces and shows up at the top of the search results. Now, how does Google bring out the origin website? Well, Google has dedicated algorithms to detect websites with original content based on the age and authorities of websites. So, if your website contains duplicate content pieces, it stands no chance to get shown up at the top of the SERP results.
How can you manage the content that might be duplicated?
Being the first one to deliver content on a specific niche or a product review is the smartest solution. Target trendy niches and deliver engaging and catchy content pieces on those niches to beat your competitors. As mentioned before, Google detects the origin pages and prioritizes those over duplicate pages in the SERP ranking. So, setting up and optimizing your website as an origin website will protect your website’s SEO from the negative consequences of duplicate content pieces.
It’s an impressive idea to publish a press release about your website content or your services. That way, you can officially announce that you’re first to deliver content on a particular topic or product. Also, publishing press releases help you build a good social reputation for your website too.
Conduct in-depth research about the topic you’re creating content on. Go through the content pieces of different websites on the same niche. Don’t follow the same content pattern that most websites have utilized already. Also, try your best to add on some fresh and additional information about the topic your content is targeting. Structuring your content uniquely and innovatively is the finest strategy to avoid the trap of content duplicacy.
You should identify the duplicate web pages of your site and you must use the navigation to rule out the negative impacts of duplicate content on your site’s SEO. Once you identify the duplicate pages, utilizing redirects and canonical pages will help you get rid of the trap of content duplicacy. If you’re not able to eliminate a vital page that is duplicate, you should backlink that page to the source. Also, backlinking to websites containing content relevant to your website content is an ideal option for managing content duplicacy.
Exclude the duplicate pages from Google’s indexing list using robots.txt and other page-exclusion techniques. That way, you can prevent Google from crawling into the duplicate pages of your website. However, this is not an ideal way to handle content duplicacy as Google algorithms don’t appreciate hiding web pages in this way.
Google algorithms function based on the indications that a website includes. Google won’t be able to detect the duplicate pages of your site if you use proper indications.
Is content duplicacy a major issue for international websites?
Most international websites include similar content pieces in different languages. However, similar content in different languages is not referred to as duplicate content. However, the important and crucial information pieces like addresses and prices should be different for different pages. Also, you must highlight the segments that differentiate the similar pages from each other. This way, you can control the chances of content duplicacy in terms of an international website.
What are the best ways to use indications for directing Google in the way you want?
No website owner wants Google to index all the pages of his website as that might be harmful to the website’s SEO. Utilizing the indication strategies is a great way to deal with the content duplicacy issue as well. Let’s check out the indication techniques-
You have the option to set the preferred pages in Google’s webmaster tool. That tool is the handiest option for website owners to manage their websites. As you set your preferred pages in the webmaster tool, you instruct Google algorithms to emphasize crawling into those pages over other pages.
While preparing the sitemap, you should include the URLs that you want to make priorly visible for Google algorithms. This is another significant indication strategy to enhance your site’s SERP ranking.
301 redirects and rel=canonical tags are probably the most effective indicative tools to improve your site’s ranking and reputation. These tools will help you redirect users and Google from a duplicate page to an optimized and updated page.
Duplicate content is a problem for all websites, but it can be overcome with the right tools. Whether you’re using WordPress’s built-in duplicate checker or Google Webmaster Tools’ URL inspection tool to find duplicates within your own website pages and blog posts, these are some of the best ways to ensure that search engines rank your site higher than its competitors because they know how much time has been spent on quality SEO practices.
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The author is a first generation entrepreneur. He is the founder and CEO of India’s most award winning SEO Agency, PageTraffic. He also works as an advisor and consultant with many large companies. He helps value-conscious businesses build site traffic increase the user base, and boost web sales and bolster customer satisfaction. He can be reached @navneetkaushal on Twitter
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