No one likes to be omitted from a conversation
If you’re thinking of buying the new Playstation Vita, You might search on Google for just that. And you’d find a healthy 568 websites all baying for your click.
Great for you, but there’s 195 MILLION other sites that have been excluded from your search. While you’d probably never get round to result number 568, the point here is that they’ll never get round to #1 – or even to a respectable first page position where they could be enjoying a hoard of traffic and potential buyers.
They’ve been ruthlessly concealed by Google’s Similar Results Omitted feature, (and rightly) because they contain the dreaded duplicate content!
So what makes duplicate content?
Duplicate content is copy that’s the same as (or very similar to) another page online – be that on your website or someone else’s.
Although search engines don’t reveal the exact percentage of content on a web page that should be totally unique, for no alarm bells to start ringing, 85% is a good starting point.
One example of duplicate content is found on many e-commerce websites. Often, product descriptions on a product page have originated from the manufacturer’s own description (in a trade catalogue, for example). When multiple websites use that same description, duplicate content is created.
Similarly, posting a blog on your website and also offering the same copy to a business partner’s website, for example, would also result in duplicate content once published.
So what does this mean?
This means that you can’t copy paragraphs and sentences to your site.
And simply rewording someone else’s copy is risky too. The best way round this issue is to employ a good copywriter for your site, writing original, relevant and compelling copy.
Why is duplicate content a problem?
In order to show users search results that are most relevant and useful, search engines like Google read and store (index) pages, and then rank them according to the user’s search term and context.
Authoritative sites will usually rank higher than non-authoritative ones.
This is based on a perceived value by search engines, built up over time using of hundreds of measured factors that are complex and often secret.
Duplicate content on your site is one example indicator of low authority, and sometimes of a malicious attempt to manipulate search results.
The search engines also seek to show diversity in their results – if the first result is not what the user is looking for, showing another that has the same information on it is unlikely to be suitable either, so users won’t click.
All this means that a site with duplicate content will be less likely to rank at a top search position – and could even be removed from a search engine’s index.
So what’s new?
The news here is not that Google is using this feature – it’s been around since 2006. But to see so many sites still copying content, is a bit of a shock. We found that even major sites like John Lewis had copied content from product manufacturers. So we’ve produced a simple introduction to duplicate content, to help you stay on top of Google.
Make sure your website is covered
Download ‘Duplicate content: 8 common pitfalls and how to resolve them’ and make sure your site is not at risk.