By now you’re probably well aware of the importance of content, both in terms of driving traffic to your website and in keeping people engaged and coming back for more. Many people fall into the trap, however, of simply grabbing existing content from other sources and using it as their own. It’s understandable – coming up with new content can be a challenge. The problem is there are some serious negative consequences to duplicating content. In fact, by not using unique content, you may be actually hurting your search engine ranking.
What is Duplicate Content?
Basically, duplicate content occurs when the same or almost the same content appears on two different URL’s. This can be on different websites or two pages of the same website. It’s most commonly seen when someone copies and pastes an article or web copy from one website onto their own, or copies existing content from one of their own web pages and pastes it onto another.
Why is Duplicate Content Bad?
The main reason why using the same content in multiple places is bad practice is because of how it affects SEO. In order to index a page, search engines must crawl it and analyze its content. When the same content appears on several different pages, it creates more work for the search engines and ultimately affects the quality of the search results.
We all know that the purpose of creating search engine optimized content is to improve how we rank in the search engines. The goal is to get the attention of Google and other search engines, let them know that our website is a quality resource, and get them to bump our site to the top of the listing results whenever someone does a search for our targeted keywords. Duplicate content disturbs this process, having the opposite effect.
Search engines avoid returning multiple results of the same content, which means that when they come across duplicate content, they have to determine which version should appear in the results. In other words, if your blog contains the exact same content as another blog, only one of those will appear in the search results. By not using unique content, you are essentially taking a chance that your site may be eliminated from searches altogether. This is the exact opposite of why you’re online in the first place!
To avoid the possibility of loss of ranking authority, you should focus on creating fresh, new and dynamic content. Keep in mind that blog posts don’t have to be long. Anywhere from 250 words up to 800 words is fine. In fact, when it comes to blogs, shorter is often better. In terms of coming up with content, it may be easier to employ the use of an editorial calendar in which you can compile a list of topics and schedule them for publication. Finally, if you find that keeping up with your content is challenging, consider delegating the task to others in your practice. This can help lighten the workload and create a variety of different styles which will serve to make your blog more robust.
When it comes to your online presence, how you rank on the search engines is what will mean the difference between stagnation and consistent practice growth. By sticking to creating quality, unique content and avoiding the urge to rely on duplicate content, not only will you be better able to engage your current and prospective clients, but you’ll also be able to maximize your efforts and remain competitive in the search engines.