How Duplicate Content Actually Affects Your Site’s SEO

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Don’t let your website suffer from subpar search engine optimization (SEO). Ignoring this crucial aspect can result in decreased visibility and poor performance in organic search results. Unfortunately, many website owners are still overlooking or unaware of its significance. Take control of your website’s success by implementing effective SEO strategies today. Even if you have the best SEO strategies employed on your site, duplicate content can disrupt and undermine all your hard work.

Continue reading below to learn more about duplicate content actually is, which potential problems it causes for SEO professionals, and how you can avoid falling into traps related to it on your own site.

What is duplicate content?

Beware of duplicate content! It can seriously harm your website. You could lose organic search visibility, see your rankings drop, and even face financial penalties from search engines. Stay on the right side of the guidelines and protect your online presence.

However, many site owners are not even sure what duplicate content is or why it’s important enough to worry about – so let’s get started with this blog post which aims to answer those questions.

Does Google penalize your website for duplicate content?

Google, the world’s most popular search engine, poses a significant concern for website owners regarding the penalty for duplicate content. This occurs when two pages have similar text.

If you’re wondering whether or not this kind of duplication will hurt your search engine rankings, read on to find out what Google has to say about the matter!

So, why does duplicate content matter?

Why Duplicate Content Matters to Search Engines: The Key to Providing Accurate Results

Understand the significance of duplicate content by first understanding why search engines exist. A search engine’s main objective is to give users relevant and precise websites and information when they search for something.

This is achieved by examining pages with distinct URLs and scanning their content. However, when faced with two URLs that share the same text and information, how does Google determine which version of the content to display?

If you’re scratching your head trying to figure out the answer, then you know exactly how search engines feel when encountering duplicate content. Duplicate content simply confuses them.

Here are the three main issues that duplicate content causes for search engines:

  1. Confusion: When your website has duplicate content, search engines struggle to decide which version to include or exclude from their search results.
  2. Link juice dilemma: Search engines can’t determine whether to direct link “juice” to one page or divide it among multiple versions. This can harm your chances of ranking higher for your target keyword.
  3. Uncertainty in search results: Search engines are unsure which version of the content should be displayed or ranked for a search query.

By addressing these issues, you can improve your website’s visibility and search engine rankings.

Common causes of duplicate content (that aren’t intentional)

Discovering duplicate pages on your website can be surprising. This can happen for various reasons:

  1. eCommerce product pages: Many eCommerce sites have shared descriptions between different product variants, each with its own URL. Some also use manufacturer descriptions that are used by multiple retailers.
  2. CMS categorization: Content management systems (CMS) may assign a unique ID to a page, even if it has multiple URLs. As a result, search engines pick up and index similar pages, even though they refer back to the same item in the database.
  3. URL parameters or session IDs: Adding tracking tags or session IDs to your URLs can create unique URLs that lead to the same content. These tags are commonly used for analyzing traffic or tracking visitors in ecommerce sites.
  4. Printer-friendly versions: If your CMS generates printer-friendly versions of your pages, search engines may treat them as separate URLs with duplicate content.
  5. Pagination: When implementing pagination for category pages or comments, duplicate elements can appear across multiple pages with unique URLs.
  6. Http vs. Https: If both http and https versions of your URLs are active, or if you have URLs with and without the “www” prefix, you’ll have separate pages with duplicated content.

Take control over these duplicate pages to improve your website’s optimization and user experience.

How to Check for Duplicate Content

Exact-Match Search

Copy a few sentences of text from one of your web pages, put it in quotation marks, and search for it in Google. By using quotation marks, you’re telling Google that you want results that return that exact text. If multiple results show up, then someone has copied your content.


Copyscape is a free tool that checks your web page text for duplicate content found on other domains. If the text on your page has been scraped, the offending URL will show up in the results.


This free online tool enables you to enter a URL and spot pages that share the same URL or shows signs of plagiarism.

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