3 Common Duplicate Content Mistakes & How to Fix Them

August 6, 2015 - 5 minutes read - Blog, Content Writing, SEO

No newspaper owner would ever dream of copying another paper’s editorial and reprinting it verbatim. However, the ease of cutting-and-pasting an article online has made duplicate content an all too easy solution for the cash-strapped business looking to rank in the search engines. In the past, website owners were able to get away with theft without suffering much repercussion. Nowadays, search engines have filters to detect this sort of activity and sites caught stealing are penalized with deplorable rankings.

That form of duplicate content is obvious, but we’ve worked with clients who had no idea they were being called out as plagiarists due to simple errors they were making. In this week’s post, we cover three ways you may inadvertently be sabotaging your SEO efforts with duplicate content — and what you can do to remedy the situation.

duplicate content cartoon

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1. Mirror Sites

The Intention: You wanted to create more than one website to maximize your lead capturing potential. (If you put “many irons in the fire,” eventually one will ignite, right??) Or, in other cases, you created a mirror site because your traffic grew too large for your server.

The Problem: One site usually ranks well, but the others get ignored by search engines.

The Fix: Instead of creating the same site over and over, use different sub-domains or top-level domains to focus on different niches of content, services or products. If you must create two sites that are very similar, you can use PlagSpotter or Copyscape to make sure two pages are not too similar to face penalization. When necessary, use 301 redirects when pasting together domains and bringing in traffic from incorrectly typed URLs.

See also  This Type Of Content Drives The Most Revenue

duplicate content example

Image Source: Econsultancy.com

2. Duplicate Product Information

The Intention: You run an ecommerce site that sells products made by other manufacturers and need accurate descriptions for each.

The Problem: Information directly pulled from manufacturer sites is likely the same for every re-seller.

The Fix: Your site should feature freshly written product descriptions and photos, as well as reviews to delineate your product pages from that of other competitors or the manufacturers’ websites themselves. Yes, this takes time and money, but the ROI should make your investment worthwhile. Stoney G from Search Engine Journal recommends investing in the cultivation of a large audience with solid backlinks evident on your site and strong social media reach to differentiate your site from the masses.

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Video from Google’s Matt Cutts on duplicate content

3. Quoted Information

The Intention: You found a bit of content that you absolutely love and want to share with your readers. It’s been so eloquently written, you know that your paraphrasing couldn’t do any justice. You know that quoting authoritative sources is a good way to build credibility in your own writing as well.

The Problem: You may come off looking like a copycat to the search engines.

The Fix: When quoting from another source, use a canonical tag (<link rel=”canonical” href=”THE ORIGINAL URL GOES HERE” />) to give credit where credit’s due. Try to keep your exact quotations to a minimum and include some paraphrasing, as well as in-depth analysis surrounding the text.

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See also  This Type Of Content Drives The Most Revenue

More Resources

Want to learn more about how sites are unknowingly getting busted for posting duplicate content? Here are a few other articles we love:

Raven Tools: The 10 Most Common SEO Mistakes

Inbound Now: Why Duplicate Site Content Is Killing Your SEO

Inbound Marketing Blog: The 3 Most Common Types of Damaging Duplicate Content

Neil Patel: The Beginner’s Guide to Technical SEO

Mod Girl Marketing’s team of SEO consultants and online strategists can also help you by performing a site audit to identify, analyze and correct any duplicate content issues that may be affecting your website ranking. Our team of experienced professional copywriters can assist you in tackling any new pages, blogs or website edits you may need to create truly compelling, unique content that stands apart from the competition. Contact us for a free quote.

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