SEO and Duplicate Content

SEO Optimization

Duplicate content is somewhat of a confusing topic in SEO. There are different precise definitions and classifications of what it is. These differentiations can make the subject too complicated for business owners who only want to do their basic SEO optimization and not have to worry about details.

However, sometimes, questions can crop up. For example, business owners might wonder whether it damages their Google SEO to have the same reviews on different websites. To clear up how duplicate content affects your SEO, let’s have a look at how it works:

Duplicate Content — What It Is and Isn’t

Judging by the meaning of the word itself, “duplicate” should be easy to define in terms of content. However, that’s not the case in SEO. There are a few types of content, similarly defined, to differentiate:

  • Duplicate — substantive, non-malicious blocks of content within or across domains that either completely matches other content or are appreciably similar;
  • Boilerplate — lengthy, copied content from one page that repeats on the majority of other content pages on the same website;
  • Near-duplicate — also referred to as spun content, which is copied but only slightly changed from another website’s original content;
  • Copied content — taken completely from non-affiliated websites without adding any additional value or originality.

Does the Same Content in Reviews Hurt You?

Many business owners aren’t particularly concerned with the technical side of SEO and duplicate content management. They’re more interested in the practical implications of the issue and whether it can hurt their SEO optimization efforts, especially when it comes to reviews.

Fortunately, Google does not penalize businesses if the review content they get is the same across different platforms. However, there should still be enough unique reviews on each platform in order to err on the side of caution and foster trust with Google.

What to Do about Duplicate Content

Many of the best practices regarding the management of content that defines as duplicate come down to URLs. Here are some of the methods Google recommends:

  • Using 301 redirects;
  • Keeping your internal linking practice consistent;
  • Signalling your preferred domain to Google;
  • Using top-level domains
  • Minimizing similar and boilerplate content.

Google will track and use different signals to determine the most relevant content it should show in search results. In practice, that means that it’s enough to stick to their guidelines regarding content.

To summarize, duplicate content isn’t something you should spend a lot of time poring over. In most cases, Google handles it — what’s up to you is to ensure that you don’t make it more difficult. Additionally, you should keep the rest of your SEO impeccable.

Even the best SEO optimization strategy takes time before you can see tangible results. If you wish to start enjoying good results for your business faster, don’t hesitate to contact me. I’d love to discuss your marketing strategy and help in any way I can.

Rob Dunford is a Marketing Consultant in the Great Toronto Area with over 20 years of experience in implementing marketing plans for small businesses.

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