Impact of reproduced or repeated content on SEO


Did you find your article reproduced in another website? Or, do you have large blocks of same text repeated in multiple places in your website? You may have to deal with serious SEO issues and you may lose your search engine traffic unless you take appropriate steps to solve this problem.

The same content could appear in multiple places on the web, and even within the same website. Search engines don't love duplicate content for reasons including it adds to the workload for them and it has to deal with figuring out which is the original content.

The same content could appear in multiple URLs for a variety of reasons including:

1. Someone copied your content and reproduced in another site. This is something beyond your control, but there are few ways to deal with it.

2. You have multiple domains pointing to same site/content. It happened to me few times in the past. Several years ago, I used to point many of my unused domain names to my existing websites to take advantage of any traffic those domains get. Later I learnt this is confusing search engines and my website could potentially get duplicate content penalty. So, I don't point multiple domains to the same anymore except when I do 301 redirect as part of domain name change.

3. Your site shows same content through multiple URLs. For example, the index page may show a part of an article and the same content could appear in the article details page.

4. Printer only pages: Some sites have a separate page for printer only page with less graphics, no menus, no sidebars etc. The printer only pages would have the same content as the primary website and could lead to duplicate content issues with search engines.

5. Mobile only pages: Some websites have separate pages for mobile browsers. This has the same problem as the printer only pages.

6. URL redirect in your website: Most webmasters do URL redirects to make search engine and user friendly url. However, an important issue with this approach is, it could result in multiple valid urls that resolve to same content.

For example, consider the following URLS:

/resources/6000-Best-Android-Tablets-below.aspx
/resources/6000-Best-Android-Tablets.aspx
/resources/6000-Best-Android.aspx
/resources/6000-Android.aspx

All of the above urls would resolve to same page and will show same content. However, in the eyes of search engines, they are different URLs and would be treated as different pages. However, since they all show same content, search engines could penalize this site for duplicate or repeated content.

When same content is shown in multiple URLs, smart search engines like Google would not take this as a big problem. Instead, it would pick the most appropriate URL based on its algorithms and show the right one in the search results. Also, the search engines would look at the link structure within your site to determine which is the most appropriate page in your site to show the content in search results.

The best way to handle multiple URLs pointing to same page is, use the canonical URL meta tag. If you view the source and look at the header area, you will see a meta tag as shown below:

<link rel="canonical" href="https://www.techulator.com/resources/6000-Best-Android-Tablets-below.aspx" />

No matter what URL you use to reach the above page, all of them will have the same canonical URL "/resources/6000-Best-Android-Tablets-below.aspx", which tells search engines that this is the right url for the page and ignore all other pages. That way, you can avoid any confusion for search engines and escape from duplicate content penalty as well.

Impact of content copied by another site


However, if your content is reproduced by another website, then you have a bigger problem. You have to deal with reproduced content and you may even have to help Google and search engines determine which is the original content, even though modern search engines are smart enough to detect which is original based on a variety of signals. Read what Google says about reproduced content and how to reduce the impact of repeating same content in multiple places.

You can figure out which page is preferred by search engines by taking few sample sentences and searching in Google. If your page is shown first, you can safely conclude that Google realized yours is the original content. However, if your content is shown below the other site which copied your content, then you are in trouble. This means, unfortunately, Google has determined the other site has the original content. This require some action from your side to protect your sites ranking and reputation. The best way is to contact the other website and ask them to remove the content. If they are not willing, then file a DMCA with Google and other search engines.

I will post a separate article on how file DMCA and how to handle if other websites copy your content.


Article by Tony John
Tony John is a professional blogger from India, who started his first Weblog in 1998 at Tripod.com. Tony switched to blogging as a passion blended business in the year 2000 and currently operates several popular web properties including IndiaStudyChannel.com, Techulator.com, dotnetspider.com and many more.

Follow Tony John or read 693 articles authored by Tony John

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