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Duplicated content: It's effects and how to detect it

How to detect duplicate content

Duplicating content across the web may not always be plagiarised intentionally and in some cases, sites' even have permission to reuse content. This is a common trend among most website practitioners and small business owners. What most these users don't know is that copying and pasting content may save you some time, effort and money, but they do nothing at all to increase the visibility of your site.

In fact, it actually does the exact opposite, i.e. decreases online users chances of actually finding your site. But you didn't know this? And no one told you otherwise. As a matter of fact, your supplier encouraged you to use it? Or your web developer or writer provided the content and you didn't know it was plagiarised (FYI you hired con artist, not a writer).

All good and well, but in reality, Google doesn't know this and they actually don't care. They have strict quality guidelines and duplicating content is not seen as quality. Here's what to look out for duplicate content and how to detect it.

What is duplicate content

Duplicate content refers to blocks of content which appear in more than one place on a site (internal duplication) or across more than one websites (external duplication). These content blocks are either copied word for word or are extremely similar. Sometimes, this can't be helped. Examples of non-malicious duplicate content could include:

  • Discussion forums that can generate both regular and stripped-down pages targeted at mobile devices
  • Store items are shown or linked via multiple distinct URLs
  • Printer-only versions of web pages

However, in some cases, content is deliberately duplicated across domains in an attempt to manipulate search engine rankings or win more traffic. Deceptive practices like this can result in a poor user experience when a visitor sees substantially the same content repeated within a set of search results.

How does this affect your site

Google tries hard to index and show pages with distinct information. This filtering means, for instance, that if your site has a "regular" and "printer" version of each article, and neither of these is blocked with a noindex meta tag, Google will choose only one of them to list. In the rare cases in which Google perceives that duplicate content may be shown with intent to manipulate our rankings and deceive users, they'll make what they call "appropriate adjustments in the indexing and ranking of the sites involved".

As a result, the ranking of the site may suffer, or the site might be removed entirely from the Google index, in which case it will no longer appear in search results. In a nutshell, you will be sent to the supplemental index, a.k.a the sandbox, a.ka. the deep dark place on the internet where nobody goes - bear I mind that the average user does not make it to page two of the Google search results. Getting out of the sandbox is a nightmare and a story for another day, so try your best not to get on Google's dark site.

5 Tools to help you identify duplicate content

  1. Siteliner
  2. Siteliner is a free service that lets you explore your website, revealing key issues that affect your site's quality and search engine rankings. Find duplicate content, broken links, and more...

    Find it here

  3. Copyscape
  4. Copyscape provides a free plagiarism checker for finding copies of your web pages online, as well as two more powerful professional solutions for preventing content theft and content fraud

    Find it here

  5. PlagSpotter
  6. PlagSpotter is an online duplicate content checking and monitoring tool. Instantly find copies of your web page(s) or automatically scan, detect and monitor your page(s) for duplicate content.

    Find it here

  7. Duplicate content checker by SEO Review Tools
  8. Use the duplicate content checker to find internal and external duplicate content for a specific webpage.

    Find it here

  9. Duplicate content by webseo analytics
  10. Use the Duplicate Content tool to compare two URLs and find how similar they are.

    Find it here

Contact us

If you have any questions or would like to know more about duplicate content, comment below or feel free to contact us here!

Tags: Content Marketing, How to, SEO, website optimisation

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