When writing content for your website, or for resources such as your blog, the goal is to produce evergreen content for your viewers. Depending on your industry, sometimes it can be hard to come up with new ideas for content. While it’s okay to draw ideas from past posts, duplicating your content is never the way to go. Especially when you involve SEO into things.
However, recent interviews with Google have shown that duplicating your content into different forms of media might not matter as much as we think it would. In this article we will dive into what duplicate content is and how search engines, such as Google, have chosen to define it.
What is duplicate content?
It’s pretty self explanatory, but duplicate content is content that appears on the internet more than one place. Duplicate content is content that appears on the Internet in more than one place. That “one place” is defined as a location with a unique website address (URL). So, if the same exact content appears at more than one web address, you’ve got duplicate content.
When considering SEO into perspective, duplicate content isn’t always a penalty to your SEO. It can however be a factor in having lower rankings. When the same piece of content spreads across different URL platforms, search engines struggle with distinguishing which piece of information is the best one for their users to trust. The information can be very beneficial for its users. However, if the search engine cannot justify a source to rank it might end up not ranking at all. You never want your piece of content to disappear. This is why it’s important to recognize and limit the amount of similar content you create.
What kind of issues can occur?
Every website should refrain from creating duplicate content within their website. There are lots of different issues that could occur otherwise. One of those issues regards your URL parameters. URL parameters, such as click tracking and some analytics code, can cause duplicate content issues. This problem is caused not only by the parameters themselves, but also the order in which those parameters appear in the URL itself. Another issue could come from topics that are similarly titled.
With all of the different issues that occur, it’s mostly important to fix the problem rather than ignoring it. The best way to go about most of these issues is through a 301 redirect. You can set up the 301 redirect to go from the “duplicate page” to the desired page you want. This prevents your own content from competing with itself and helping it gain trust from search engines.
What forms of duplicate content are okay to use?
Duplicate content can be a tricky task to recognize and fix on your website. But, how do you know what forms of duplicate content are okay to keep and okay to delete? In a recent Google SEO office-hours Q & A with John Mueller, he brings up an interesting point about what Google finds to be appropriate in regards to duplicate content.
One of the questions that was brought up to Mueller came from a site owner who runs a YouTube channel. They noted, when they posted a video that had all of the same information from one of their blog posts, it didn’t rank as well on Google. The site owner wanted to know if duplicate content had any effect in these rankings. Or, if there was any harm in using identical text from a blog post into a video.
Mueller described when Google scans videos, they do not do text analysis of the videos and map it to web pages. If your video has the same content as one of your blog posts, it isn’t considered duplicate content. The purpose around this is due to the searcher’s intent. Sometimes individuals prefer to get their information through a video. Other times they could choose to read through a blog post. If the content is exactly the same, Google prefers to keep both platforms up for individuals to choose how they want to learn the information through both platforms. Rather than deleting both of the sources for being the exact same.
Mueller mentions it’s even a smart way to help your platform and brand grow. Creating the same piece of information on multiple media platforms can help your content reach lots of individuals through different channels. If you’re having a hard time getting recognized, this method may be a beneficial one to start implementing into your marketing strategy.
Mueller did mention that if Google does recognize duplicate content on webpages, they then only choose to show one site. They only choose the one to help make things less complicated for their users.
Here is the full discussion from John Mueller and Google Search Central:
Duplicate content isn’t always an end of the world problem that impacts your SEO. However, it is a factor you should always be aware of for your SEO strategy. If you need help creating a stronger SEO strategy for your business, visit our SEO services to learn more about how we can help you!