Duplicate Content: Why You Should Handle it and Not Let it to Google: Why Does It Matter For SEO?

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If a large portion of the content is present within a domain or across domains, it is called duplicate content.

If you are blogger, I’m sure you would have come across the word “duplicate content”.

FIghting scene

You are either a blogger who is writing informational blog posts or one of the very few who scrapes content from other blogs. There are only those two categories. You can’t be in between.

As long as you belong to number one, you don’t have to worry about the Google penalty. Of course, there is another problem for you. You have to worry at the nights about those who scrape your content and make money while you are writing quality original information and still waiting for the huge paychecks to arrive.

You have the choice. You can ignore them and let Google handle them or you can take a step forward and do what you can to get the site down. The choice is yours. There is no wrong in letting Google handle it but there is going to be more and more blogs stealing your content if you don’t take action.

Now let me take you to the world where bloggers steal content. I’m talking about bloggers who are doing it on purpose. I’m not targeting the bloggers who have writers that scrape content without their knowledge. Although I should warn you to do a test for most of your articles at Copyscape soon else you are risking your brand.

Side Note: If you are a Kumbaya blogger, you won’t steal content.

Why Should You Not Copy Content In Mighty Google

First, we’ll start with why you should not let the giants of the search, Google, handle content thieves.

Though Google says that they will penalize the sites or blogs that have duplicate content within or across domains, you can see many blogs doing it and escaping from the penalty.

There are thousands of websites that have the same article going.

Ever heard about article directories? That is one of the biggest examples of duplicate content. I’m not blaming the article directory owners or the article marketers who do it the right way. But there are always people who try to game the system.

Pick up an article that is doing very well in a particular article directory and put it at Copyscape.

What do you find? Duplicate content. Or go to Problogger and copy a headline of one of the posts and search for it in Google. You’ll find all the blogs stealing every single post written at Problogger.

Darren Rowse has written about duplicate content before. His blog is very popular and is naturally a target for blog scrapers. I have had my content copied before.

Kevin of Blogging Tips has written about content theft a few times before like: Social Rank – The New Breed Of Blog Scraping and Don’t Get Stressed About Blog Scrapers Stealing Your Content.

The worst part is, these scrapers still get their blog posts indexed in search engines and receive traffic. The main reason is there are millions of sites that have duplicate content and Google cannot take action on every one of them.

So I don’t think Google can do much about duplicate content, at least not till they come with a new idea to stop this.

For the bloggers who work their sweat off to write articles only to find it in some other blog word for word copied using the RSS feed of your blog, here is a way to stop RSS feed scrapers from stealing your content.

I don’t know of a way to stop copy-paste method using a plugin. Let me know if you have a solution for it. If you don’t like to take action, at least get something out of their work. Install RSS footer plugin and get a backlink from them. This will at least let Google know that your content is the original one.

I personally don’t like people who do it and normally advise everyone not to do it. But when Google cannot stop people, I don’t expect the world to change by listening to me.

The Different Types of Duplicate Content

Duplicate content management and why does it matter

There are two types of duplicate content; internal duplicate content and external duplicate content.

Internal duplicate content is when you have the same article duplicated on your own blog.

It’s a very bad idea to have some articles on different pages of your blog. It is even worse when you have the same article again in a different category. This causes duplicate content within your own blog and Google hates it.

External duplicate content is when you have the same article on different blogs. This is very common and easy to do if you are using content management systems like WordPress, Drupal, etc. Most people just copy-paste their articles after publishing it or write an article based on another article they had read earlier.

What is a key reason why duplicate content might cause an issue with the ranking?

I think the main reason why Google doesn’t like duplicate content is that it confuses them.

Let me explain that with an example for a better understanding of what I am trying to say.

You have two text links on your site pointing to different destinations, even though you are sending the same signal. This will confuse search engines about which one is relevant. So, you can get both links to point to the same destination and get all your ranking signals in one place. Or you can get rid of one link and make it exclusive to the other link (like putting a no follow on it).

The thing is when you have the same article on your blog and someone else’s blog, there is no difference in content for Google to index both of them.

This means that the other person’s blog will be indexed and they get all the credit and ranking. You can lose ranking and traffic to another site if it has higher PR or if the article is more popular.

Is Duplicate Content Bad for SEO?

Duplicate content in SEO

Duplicate content makes it hard for Google to rank the page. It can confuse Google and make it so that your original content is not on top of the search results.

It can cause your blog to lose revenue. Google doesn’t like it because you are sending them the same signals twice, so they don’t know which one is the best result for the search query.

How to Check for Duplicate Content in SEO?

If you have web pages with lots of content that are declining in their search engine rankings, then you should check if your content has been copied and used on another website. Here are some ways to do this:

Exact match search using Google

Copy a section of text from the content and paste in the search engine results box in quotations. If the search engine gives multiple results, then the text you have used might be copied by others.

Copyscape

Go to Copyscape.com and enter your website URL in the search bar. If there are other sites that have the same content, then you will see them listed on the search results page.

If you see other websites with your content, contact them and ask them to give credit for your content or remove it completely if they don’t give credit.

What YOU And I Can Do About It?

Before we begin, here is a video by Neil Patel on some duplicate content hack:

You have every right to your content and you cannot let others use it as their own.

Most people steal content to earn money from AdSense or sell affiliate products. Report to the owner of the product which these scrapers are promoting and get their affiliate link invalid. That way they won’t earn money.

If they use AdSense, you can get their account banned by contacting Google. But still, your content remains in their blog. Now what you can do is report to the hosting provider where the blog is hosted. You can find where the blog is hosted using this site.

Once you find the host, go and complain to the host. Show them the proof. Most likely they will bring the site down. You can also follow any of these 10 ways to fight back content thieves.

If you take a moment to get help from your followers to bring down the site, you can pull down the site faster. I’m sure Darren Rowse can get all the sites that steal his content in a single tweet. Think about it. Almost every hosting provider is there on Twitter.

If someone can tweet something like “@hostprovider This blog at Loser.com is scraping my blog’s content at Rockstar.Com” and many people retweet the message, you can instantly get in touch with the hosting provider.

Sometimes you don’t even need your followers to retweet. Now all you need to do is prove to them that you are the real owner of the content.

It only takes a minute to do this. Don’t let others steal your content.

Also read: How to get started as freelancer?

Conclusion:

Duplicate content is one of the reasons why your site can get banned by Google. It looks like when you take care of the problem, the ban automatically comes to an end.

Many people don’t understand exactly what duplicate content means in SEO and how it affects search engine ranking. If you are not sure whether your blog content has been copied by another website, go to Copyscape and check if any other site has used your content.

Have you had your blog content scraped? What did you do about it? Please share your views in the comments.

If you found this post to be useful, please share it with your friends and tweet it to your followers.

Aishwar Babber

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