Top 10 ways to avoid Duplicate Content – Search engines can penalize a sites ranking
In a perfect world there would be only one version of every document but in real life this is not true. A great example is online versions of newspaper sites. In one form or another they all publish exactly or close to the same information about events and facts.
This also applies to many other areas, say, recipes, fitness programs, diet programs, definitions, explanations and many others.
Search engines can penalize a sites ranking if it looks as though content has been taken from another site. However, these sites do sit in index and even rank very well. How can this be? Does it mean there are no filters?
Filters exist, but they are in a primitive form
Search Engine’s need lots of resources to check the entire internet. Therefore, engines use simple forms to uncover duplicate content.
The most common pattern is links. In general engines check between two linked sites for duplicate pages/content. If they exist, then engines try to get rid of the duplicate – usually the one who links to the source site.
How does this work?
If website B (healthy news) republished an article from site A (health research institute) and puts a link from B to A for reference, search engines understands that site A is the original source and the site B has copied it. Site B is seen as dupe content website.
How do search engines penalize?
One or two articles like this won’t harm your site much for example, if website B has lots of original content. However, if duplicate content fills a significant number of pages, websites can be penalized by being moved down in the search result pages, moved to supplemental index or even unlisted from search index.
Website X has 5 pages of original content and ranked #1 for very uncommon search term. This website has 100+ links pointing to it and Google PageRank of PR4. After few weeks 30 pages of content from another site that required a link back to it were added. In results, after Google indexed the website, it went from #1 position down to about #67 – #100.
The test was continued by adding even more links – but even an extra 100 links (now site has over 200 links) didn’t help to move it back of even above these #67 – #100 low positions.
After 3 months – duplicate pages were removed. After search engines updated the website – it slowly moved back to position #2.
What does it mean to you?
The idea is simple – don’t link to websites that have the same content as yours – especially if it is in huge amounts compared to total number of pages.
What you should do?
To put it simply – engines see all page as code, that probably includes site specific menu, HTML tags, layouts, title, descriptions etc. so it mix it up and articles aren’t considered as duplicate since it is part of some bigger code. That’s the secret.
Some useful tips for Content Connection users
To ensure even more security from search engines it is recommended to use one or more of these tips:
1) use articles on pages that have a solid size menu
2) try to have a unique intro and closing for used articles, change titles
3) use synonyms to replace words
4) insert comments in the middle of an article or links to detailed info
5) insert contextual short product reviews (1 picture plus one paragraph and link to full review will be just fine)
6) split longer articles into 2 pages or more as long there stays 150 – 200 words on each page
7) rewrite articles into your own words
8) combine two or more articles into one
9) if there are bullet points – mix their order if possible
10) think outside the box…
Don’t try to host a DMOZ directory or part of it for making more pages on your website. Google can easily ban you for that and remove your entire site as happened to a website about coffee that hosted 10000 pages from DMOZ to drive extra 500 visitors a day. Sad but a fact. Duplicate content is evil. Be aware.