Unique content is one of the best ways to set your website apart from others. It’s your content – something no one else – so it makes you stand out.
But, if you use the same content to describe your products and services on other websites, your website is no longer unique; therefore, it won’t have the same value in Google’s eyes.
Why is it bad?
Well, if there are several versions of your content dotted around the web, the search engines are going to have a hard time working out which version to index and show in its search results. Because all versions are competing with each other, the overall performance will be lowered.
If you have a couple of less significant pages on your website with duplicate content, it isn’t a huge amount to worry about. But, if your site is, for whatever reason, generating lots of duplicate content, this will lead to issues and potential penalties.
When is it not duplicate copy?
That sounds like a daft question, but there is an instance in which it is true.
A recent article on SearchEngineJournal explained that Google’s John Mueller says identical content published in different formats, such as a video and a blog post, is not considered duplicate content.
This is what John had to say about this type of content repurposing:
“First of all, we don’t do text analysis of the videos and then map them to web pages. If your video has the same content as your blog post, it’s still something different. People sometimes go to Google to read something, and sometimes they go to Google with the intent to watch something or listen to something, and those are very different things.
“We wouldn’t say the text in this video is exactly the same as a blog post; therefore, we don’t show either of them or we only show one of them. So, if you have a video that matches your blog post, I think that’s perfectly fine.
“That’s a great way to spread your information in different channels. I would definitely not stop doing that. I would not take the video down or take the blog post down. If the blog post is not ranking in google, then that would be very specific to the blog post and not specific to the video blog post combination.”
What if you have duplicate content on your website?
He also clarifies what happens if duplicate content is found on a website:
“Also, with regards to duplicate content, if you had the same content in textual form on your website where it’s clearly duplicate content then what would happen there is we would pick one of those versions to show in Google Search.
“It’s not the case that we would say: “oh this website has some duplicate content; we will not show it at all in Google.” Rather we will say: “There are two versions here. We will pick one of these to show, and we will just not show the other one.”
“So that’s something where even when we do recognize duplicate content it’s not the end of the world. It’s really just a matter of us saying we don’t want to show the same thing multiple times to users in the search results. So, we will pick one, and we will show that one.”
It’s always best to about duplicate content
As you can see, duplicate content won’t mean the death of your website. However, if you want to maintain your reputation and identity, it’s best to make sure all the content about your business (wherever it appears) is unique to each site. That way, your readers will always have something fresh to read, and you’ll avoid any potential disadvantage.
Sally Ormond works with her clients to ensure that every touchpoint contains unique content online. For her help, call her on +44(0)1449 779605.