By Henrik Sandberg, online media specialist
Is your website suffering from duplicate content?
Are you familiar with duplicate content? If not, we cannot stress enough how important it is that you steer completely clear of duplicate content when creating content for your website. Basically, the problem is having the exact same content on different websites or webshop which Google does not like.
Google has made it clear: Avoid the problem on your website. Still, almost all Danish websites and webshops are suffering from duplicate content, which is a big problem since Google does not want to show these pages to the users of their search engine.
If users search the term “Red Nike Shoes”, they will get 10 results on the first search page. If these 10 results contain the same text, the users will soon get tired of browsing around Googles search engine, which is why Google takes this problem very seriously.
If you ask whether you should consider duplicate content on your website a problem, the answer is certainly YES. In fact, you should consider it a very serious problem.
How to check if you have duplicate content?
Luckily, it is very easy to check. Take a sentence from your website with approximately 8-10 words, surround it with inverted commas, and make a Google search.
The result of the search might be Google writing “to show you the most relevant results, we have left out some of the posts that are already shown”. In other words, Google are telling you that there are similar pages on the internet and that the result is so bad that they choose not to show it initially. This should be taken very seriously.
Of course, you cannot copy text directly from other websites to your own website. If you do, you can be sure that Google will view it as duplicate content.
What are the exceptions?
Google does not perceive some text as duplicate content even if it appears several places on the internet:
- If you translate a text from another language, it is not considered as problematic. Some languages like Danish and Norwegian are very similar and can be hard for Google to distinguish between and here it is a good idea to remember the following in the header: <meta name=”language” content=”no” /> (given that it is a Norwegian text).
- The footer and header on your website is not duplicate content even though they are shown with the same text and link on all of your pages.
The problem can have many causes
Below is an overview of the different sources causing this problem. The solution depends on which source that is causing the problem:
- Test domains: Your web bureau named CoolWeb.com is creating a new domain for your company. Your new website is called BlackShoes.com. This means that the test site will most likely to be called BlackShoes.CoolWeb.com. When your website is launched under the name BlackShoes.dk, Google will view the content as copied from BlackShoes.CoolWeb.com and view the former as the youngest website.
- Theft: Theft is first of all illegal and contradicts the copyright law. If the person who steals text from your website has an older website than yours and uses the text and a website pages that is also older than our page, you are unfortunately risking the punishment.
- Several domain names: Some companies have different web addresses with the same content – e.g. BlackShoes.com, ShoesBlack.com, and Black-Shoes.com. If the different website names are kept in the address and not redirected to a main page instead, you will be punished by Google.
- Session ID: This is one of the biggest problems in webshops. If you enter your website www.BlackShoes.com/model_13.html?IDzpa=090tpuc54gifww4m78, you are able to read the session ID in the URL address. This should be removed because Google views this content as the same content on BlackShoes.com/model_13.html and thus, duplicate content.
- Sorting: Many webshops allows sorting of products according to price, brand, size, or other. If you sort by price on www.BlackShoes.com/model-13?group768sort=price or if by item number on www.BlackShoes.com/model-13?group768sort=itemnumber, you get different URL addresses. However, the URL addresses contain the same content and once again, the content is not unique.
- PDF: When you offer a printable PDF-version of the content on a page on your website, the PDF often leads to another URL address which can also be problematic.
- Campaign tracking: When setting up campaign tracking, you might hurt your own SEO. A campaign tracking code typically looks like the following: www.BlackShoes.com/nike/?utm_source=adwords&utm_medium=banner&utm_term=offer&utm_content=NikePhoto
&utm_campaign=50ProcentOff, which is the exact same page as www.BlackShoes.com/nike. If just one user ends up on your campaign page and creates a link to this page, you have violated Googles guidelines.
- Distributors: If you are selling a product to different distributors, each of these distributors can risk duplicate content. Typically, a small webshop will copy the description about the product from the supplier’s website and paste it to their own website. This is just laziness and Google will punish the webshop.
These are some of the classic sources of the problem but surely there are other sources. If you want a good ranking on Google’s search engine, there is no easy solutions.
Heyday can assist in making a SEO analysis of your website. The analysis, among other things, examines whether or not your website is suffering from any of the above-mentioned problems. Read more about how we work with traffic and data.