Many people and businesses type websites think that they can increase their search engine rankings or obtain multiple listings by providing multiple copies of the same page or similar copies of the same page because the presence of keywords is higher. Therefore, it’s important to keep in mind that duplicate content can be a silent killer and be detrimental to your website. Search engines, as Google, want and need fresh, new, unique relevant content on every page. Many websites, blogs and companies do not realize that having duplicate content means they could face a loss in traffic and SEO will ultimately suffer, especially new website marketers.
Duplicate Content = The Silent Website Killer
Google seeks to bring results that are based on relevant keywords. When you see multiple pages which have the same content, it means that content was taken(or stolen) from someone else’s site. This results in search engines being unable to differentiate between which site holds the authority to the copy. This is a large problem if many people start to link many versions of the same copy. Google Webmaster Tools will help you to diagnose whether or not your site has duplicate content, as well as Copyscape.com.
It is common to see two forms of duplicate content on sites today:
- Identically written pages which are listed on different websites. In simplistic terms, this means that the same article or blog post is listed on two different websites. This is considered to be duplicate and therefore considered unacceptable in Google’s eyes. This is a problem for associated sites which have the same or similar look and feel to them. With identical content, they are at a high risk for being marked as spam.
- Scraping (also called Web harvesting or Web data extraction) is a technique of extracting information(or text) from websites. It simply means that you are using a program to remove the text from one website and place it on yours. The biggest problems associated with duplicate content are that search engines are unable to identify which version or versions should be ranked for query results. Search engines also do not know which of the version or versions should be included or excluded from their indexes. Another major issue with duplicate, scraped content is that the search engines do not know whether they should direct the link metrics to a single page or keep the link metrics separated between the multiple versions.
When search engine robots crawl through a website, they will read, store and sort the information found in their database. After this, the robots will compare the findings on one with information already contained in the database. Using multiple factors, including the overall relevancy score related to the particular website, the search bot will determine which content is duplicate content. It will then filter out the pages which qualify as spam or the websites which qualify as spam. If your pages are not spam but they still contain enough similar content to be considered as such, they still run of the risk of being regarded as spam.
Many popular sites have been caught scraping content from other websites for the purpose of increasing their SEO, which happens at the expense of the other sites which already contain the information. Larger websites, which scrape content and post duplicate content for the purpose of SEO rankings, will outrank smaller websites and blogs, which leaves the smaller sites marked as spam. Google works very hard to ensure that duplicate content does not exist.