Chances are that you’ve heard about a lot of the common elements that can hurt your chances of SEO success. These can range from choosing keywords that are overly competitive to having massive image files that cause your sites to load slowly. However, there are a few areas where the exact impact may be a bit murky. Duplicate content is a key example of this. Many digital marketing experts sing the praises of uniqueness for SEO, but how far do you need to go in this area?

What Is Duplicate Content?

Even the basic nature of this concept can be difficult to understand at first. However, the easiest way to break it down is a copy of blocks of texts that Google already has indexed. Technically, if you were to type up something Google never indexed (like scans from old magazines), even though it’s technically a duplicate, it wouldn’t be considered duplicated material.

Now, compared to keyword stuffing, there isn’t a formal penalty that your site gets in the rankings for duplicated content. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that duplication isn’t bad for your web pages.

How is this the case? Google naturally prioritises unique and useful pages. As a result, if you are constantly putting up derivative, your pages aren’t likely to rank, largely because your site isn’t putting out enough unique material. There are some exceptions, like quotes from press releases, but that likely won’t apply to your business pages.

Where can I learn how to find duplication on my website?

The question here should be less about how to look for said material and how to check for it in a time-effective way. If you look on the back end of any web page, you can see very quickly whether or not it’s too close to any other material. The problem with this is that when it comes to certain pages, like e-commerce, that can mean checking hundreds of different blocks of text.

How much duplicate content is acceptable?

This is a question that doesn’t have a single concrete answer.

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In general, to avoid Google lowering the ranking of your site by proxy, you want to use a combination of redirects and instructing Google on URL parameters.

Remember, though, there is no formal duplicate content penalty.

In general, you always want to try and keep things as unique as possible. This can be difficult for sites like e-commerce, but the effort is well worth it.

Do those online unique article checkers work?

Not entirely. Many professional SEO agencies use specialised tools for these that work quite well. However, there’s a massive gap between those type of tools and a free “dupe checker” that you may have off of Google. In many cases, these free tools fail to properly scour your entire site. In addition, the more pages you have to check, the more difficult it becomes to effectively use these.

duplicate contWhile there are a lot of myths circulating around the exact impact this has on your SEO, what’s a bit safer to assume that it is a net negative. As a result, it’s important that you do whatever you can to try to minimize the amount of repeated text or images on your sites.

While a simple visual check or some basic tools can be helpful here (especially for smaller sites), an SEO website audit will always be the strongest option. An experienced content marketing agency has the expertise to not only scour your entire site, front and back end, for duplication, but for other issues that may be hurting your ranking as well.