Is Duplicate Content a Threat to Your SEO?

Any business that relies on digital marketing will be protective of their SEO and wary of any potential threats to their SEO efforts. Since SEO is so vital for today’s veterinary practices, these sentiments are understandable. Perhaps your practice has just invested a significant sum into digital marketing and SEO; it’s only natural that you would expect a generous return on that investment.

One such threat that worries practice owners is duplicate content. In the proceeding sections, we’ll explain what duplicate content is, how it can affect your SEO, and whether it’s worth stressing over.

Defining Duplicate Content

As the term suggests, duplicate content is content that is duplicated across multiple web addresses online. This content can be categorized as either totally identical to the original content, or it can be very similar, but not quite identical, content.

What Can Duplicate Content Do to a Website?

If duplicate content is present, there will be some confusion as Google tries to identify and index the original, most relevant content among the duplicates. This could dilute the original content’s strength and authority and it may not rank as well in Google Search!

How Internal Duplicate Content Can Affect Your SEO and Website

Any content that is duplicated on your website will have a greater impact on your search rankings. This is why it’s important to try to avoid internal duplicate content whenever possible.

Below are the more significant problems that might happen as a result of internal duplicate content on your website:

  • Google will not be able to discern which piece of content among the duplicates it needs to include or exclude from indexing.
  • Another issue is that Google will not know to which page it should assign authority, trust, anchor text, etc.
  • Google will not know which piece of content among the duplicates it needs to rank for relevancy to search queries. This waters down a web page’s ranking, making it less visible to searchers, and it can also hurt your links.

How Does Duplicate Content Happen?

In most cases, duplicate content is produced accidentally, in situations such as:

  • The website being mismanaged, with multiple versions of the site existing online at the same time under different URLs
  • The website including printer-only versions of pages
  • Using repetitive boilerplate content on different parts of the website

How to Keep Duplicate Content Off Your Website

Are you fiercely protective of your SEO? We completely understand. Here are some tips for preventing duplicate content on your website and avoiding any hits to your SEO:

Use 301 Redirects

Adding in a 301 redirect ensures that anyone visiting your website is guided to the original page instead of the duplicate. What’s more, it prevents the duplicate pages from competing against the original, which in turn builds up authority and relevancy.

Try Not to Rely on Placeholder Content

If your website is still in development and you don’t have all the content you need for your pages, you might be tempted to include placeholder content to pad out the incomplete pages. The problem with this is that it creates internal duplicate content. If you’re set on having this placeholder content on your website for the time being, you can have any pages containing placeholder content blocked from Google indexing.

Know How Your Content Management System Works

WordPress is a prime example of a content management system, or CMS. Many websites are built with WordPress, and yours might be one of them. How you add content to your WordPress site might result in duplicate content. For example, publishing blog articles could lead to copy from that article ending up on other pages in preview snippets. Look through your website to check for this and revise the copy.

Make Sure All Pages Have Sufficiently Different Content

If two pages on your website contain content that’s not identical but still extremely similar, Google might interpret one of these pages as a duplicate. Each page on your website should be dedicated to a completely different topic to prevent this issue. Scan your content to see if there are any noticeable similarities, and revise it as much as possible to differentiate one page from the other.

When Duplicate Content is Acceptable

It’s not always possible to avoid duplicate content, especially when you’re sharing information not only on your website, but on your social media pages, too. Publishing social media posts containing content from your website will not hurt your SEO. But we do encourage you to be creative and reword your shared content as much as possible to keep it unique and interesting.

Conquer Your Marketing with InTouch

Duplicate content, indexing, 301 redirects…you don’t have time for that stuff. As a veterinary practice, your patients and clients are your highest priority. Let the professionals handle your marketing and keep your website current, informative, and free of any of the issues we discussed above. At InTouch, we’re passionate about helping veterinarians grow their practices, and using our extensive SEO knowledge to get them on top of their local markets. If you have any questions, call (800) 493-9003. For a free digital analysis, go here.