How Does Google Handle Duplicate Content? [Misconceptions Debunked]

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As is often the case with SEO, there’s a lot of misinformation out there about duplicate content. In fact, there are many misconceptions about duplicate content. To help clear up some of these misconceptions, here’s a look at how Google handles duplicate content and whether or not it’s a negative SEO ranking factor.

How Does Google Handle Duplicate Content? The Biggest Misconception Debunked!

So what is the biggest misconception about duplicate content? That Google will penalize sites that have it.

In fact, the misconception is so widespread that there are a lot of people out there who believe that duplicate content will have a negative ranking impact on your website as a whole – meaning that if you are found to have duplicate content, then your website ranking will start to plummet.

While there may have been some truth to these statements in the past, Google’s John Mueller has finally shed some light on the matter and has debunked one of the biggest misconceptions most content marketers have about duplicate content.

Duplicate Content Doesn’t Harm Your Ranking

John Mueller spoke on the topic of duplicate content during the Google SEO office hours in January 2021. When approached about duplicate content, he stated that with certain types of duplicate content, there isn’t a trigger that will tell Google to negatively score this as poor content.

Mueller explained that if they find multiple pieces with the exact same information on it, but it’s information that people are searching for – they’ll try to find the best page and rank that one over the duplicate content.

So, in other words, if you have duplicate content that is relevant to your audience, you aren’t going to be penalized for including it in multiple areas on your website or mentioning it in multiple pieces of content. However, it will potentially cause a page not to rank or cause a page to rank that you would prefer didn’t.

What are Google’s Policies on Duplicate Content?

While Mueller clearly stated that duplicate content doesn’t negatively impact your rankings, that doesn’t mean that you should go ahead and include it in your content.

Remember, it’s one thing to include a few duplicate pieces of information across your content – especially if it’s highly relevant to your audience. However, Google’s guidelines state that duplicate content should be avoided in general.

Now, it’s vital to understand that duplicate content and plagiarized content are two very different things. Plagiarized and duplicate content used to manipulate search engine rankings can negatively impact your performance and even result in your removal from Google’s search results.

What You Can Do When Duplicate Content is Unavoidable

So, what can you do if you have a necessary piece of duplicate content or even a large quantity of it?

The best thing to do is to use “rel=canonical” tags to tell Google which version of the content you want them to consider.

For example, if you have two pieces of content on your very similar blog post, you can use a “rel=canonical” tag to let Google know that the first piece of content is the original piece and that the second piece of content is a duplicate.

Another way to minimize issues with necessary duplicate content is to mark your duplicate content with a “noindex” tag. This will tell Google that they don’t need to index that piece of content.

Finally, the easiest way to avoid duplicate content altogether is to use a duplicate content checker to verify if you’ve got repetitive content on your site. If you do, you can always go back and edit it to read differently or to include updated, original information that will set it apart from the other versions.

Avoid Duplicate Content with A Strong Content Marketing Strategy

Depending on the nature of your business, it can be a tad difficult to avoid duplicate content entirely. However, when you consider all the content marketing tools available, avoiding duplicate content can be a lot easier than you may think.

If you’re struggling with duplicate content or need help building a strong content marketing strategy, then let the CadenceSEO team help guide you. Our professional team of digital marketing and SEO experts can help you get on the road to success!

Contact us today to learn more!

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