There just isn't a 'softer' way to say this; it's bad. Duplicate content, as defined by Google, “refers to substantive blocks of content within or across domains that either completely match other content in the same language or are appreciably similar.” Google highly recommends avoiding duplicate content. The key reason is that the ranking of the page on search engine results may suffer. This means, your audiences will not find your content, and when they do, they are unlikely to consider it useful. Understanding how Google handles duplicate content can help you elevate user experience and create a better content marketing plan.
How Google Views Duplicate Content
Duplicate content is a problem for your website because Google doesn't know which page is most relevant to the user. If you have syndicated content, or content published to multiple sites to broaden its reach, this duplicate content could be indexed as more relevant to the user. Your original page may not get the traffic it deserves. According to Google, duplicate content isn't grounds for action unless you are trying to manipulate search engine results.
Tips to Avoid Duplicate Content
Even though your site may not always be penalized for duplicate content, you should still try to avoid it. When you consider the sheer volume of content on your website, you might be rolling your eyes wondering how you won't duplicate content across it. Here are some best practices for creating unique content.
Service Area Pages
Your business may service multiple communities. Each service area should have its own unique page that outlines how you support the residents in that community. By geotargeting each location, you broaden your reach through search. Create a page for each location you service highlighting how your business can help those customers. Consolidate pages that are too similar.
Name, Address and Phone Number – NAP
NAP is important to your local SEO strategy. This is one instance in which consistent content really matters to Google. Your business name, address, and phone number need to be the same throughout your online marketing efforts. Search engines use this information to validate your identity, so you want to write out the elements of NAP identically across social media, your website, Google My Business, and any other online directories or portals.
Blogs and Articles
You may want to reuse blogs and articles across your site, but when you do, let search engines know that it's duplicate content through a <noindex> tag that tells search engines not to index the page. If you're running out of ideas for your content calendar, look at what is happening locally or reach out to customers to get ideas. If creating content is a problem, consider hiring an experienced content agency that can help you with unique content written by professional copywriters. When syndicating content, make sure to link back to the original and use a noindex tag.
Don't Panic About Duplicating Content, But Do Post Unique Content
Duplicate content is not going to get your site penalized by the search engines unless you're blatantly plagiarizing or being malicious. You should avoid duplicate content, though, because it does decrease the effectiveness of your original content. If you do post duplicate content, use tags to identify that search engines shouldn't index it. Let our trained and experienced copywriters at MintCopy help you with your content strategy. Contact us for more information.