When it comes to duplicate content on your website, you may have heard it’s bad for SEO (search engine optimization) – or maybe you haven’t heard anything at all. Either way, it’s important to understand how similar content can affect search engine rankings, because it helps you plan your website content and see where you may need to make changes.
Let’s look a bit closer at duplicate content and SEO.
Is Duplicate Content Bad for Your SEO?
According to Google’s John Mueller, duplicate content is not a negative search ranking factor. This means, if you have several copies of the same page on your website, it does not send negative ranking signals to Google – so your site is not penalized. However – and this is a big however – when you have duplicated content on your website, it does mean Google will only potentially show one of those pages in search results, depending on which one it thinks best answers the user’s query.
This is an important distinction because it tells us two things very clearly:
- Duplicate content may not ever be ranked on Google. For some of your website pages, this may not matter, but if your goal is to improve search engine rankings for a page, then duplicate content is not the best path forward.
- Duplicate content is not an SEO best practice, because it can prevent your pages from showing up in search results.
What to Do with Content That’s the Same
If you have several pages on your website with identical content, then you can either re-write the content or use a canonical tag. You can get help with these SEO services if you’re not sure what to do.
Going forward, if you’re pursuing search engine optimization, you’ll want to ensure website pages each have their own original content.
How to Tell If Your Website Has Duplicate Content
The best way to determine whether or not your site has pages with similar content is to conduct a website audit. You’ll get a complete analysis of all the factors that determine your site’s visibility in search engines.
For more information on leveraging search engines for visibility, check out these articles about SEO best practices.