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Top Five – Avoiding the Duplicate Content Penalty

What is a duplicate content penalty?

Daniel D'Laine's Top 5The duplicate content penalty (DCP) is a penalty imposed by a search engine organisation if they determine that your content (or even part of your content) matches previously published content.

If it is determined that you are duplicating content, even in small quantities, it’s possible that  the ranking for your site may be reduced or in severe cases, your site could be removed from that search engines index.

Cut and Paste without properly rehashing the copied content is one of the most common reasons for duplicate content on a webpage, however, on many occasions there may be valid and legitimate reasons why exact match content may be present on your site.  Re-branding is one example of this, as is specific product related text such as film trailers direct from the studio, or affiliate product descriptions.

What can you do to avoid a duplicate content penalty?

1. Use ‘Redirect permanent’ (301) for website moves

If you have moved your site to a new URL, use a permanent redirect, commonly known as a 301.  Don’t just copy all the posts into the new site, which will definitely result in a penalty.

A ‘redirect permanent’ automatically redirects visitors to the new URL so there will be no exact match duplication and the search engines will not see duplicate content.

2. Use Syndication carefully

If you have several versions of the same content due to syndication, the search engines will always show the version they think is most relevant to the user depending on the search keywords but this may not always be your original content.

To avoid visitors seeing your content in other areas, always include a backlink to your site and original article.

3. Use content consistency throughout the domain

This means keeping all your content unique and individual.  Don’t create the same content page on your site but in say, three different ways.  Linking to multiple copies of the same content can easily occur if say you have a page that is a page in its own right but also used as the content on the index page.

Boilerplate information can be classed as multiple copies of the same content if it is not included carefully.  An example of this could be a long user policy in the footer of every page.  To prevent this situation, just provide a link to the full user policy page.

Also, if you use a domain with multiple CMS installations, (WordPress Drupal, Joomla etc.) say for different areas of your site but the ‘Privacy policy’ pages for each installation are all the same throughout, only use one main page (probably based on the root installation) and direct all the other installation page links to this page.

4. Set up CMS installations carefully

CMS installations (Content Management Systems – WordPress, Joomla etc.)

Another common method of unsuspectingly creating duplicate content is by using CMS options incorrectly.  By default, your WordPress blog may display duplicate content.

An example of this is a blog entry which might appear on your home page, and in an archive, and on a summary page, and on a category page and in a tag page.  The simple way around this is to use an SEO plugin and set it up to NoIndex the archive, category and tag pages.

Duplicate content can be taken to extremes and often, a little duplication will cause no harm whatsoever, however, if a search engines does determine that you have engaged in deceptive practices, at the worse, your site could be removed from their index.

Finally, if you are going to plagiarise someone’s work, make sure you rehash it properly before you upload it to your site.  Changing just 30% of an existing page of content entitles it to be accepted as new content in law, but this does not mean a search engine will accept it as such.

Daniel D’laine Tip: If you want to check for duplicate content; http://www.copyscape.com/

Regards
Daniel

Duplicate Content Joke

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