Can Duplicate Content Hurt Your Blog’s Rankings?

Photoxpress_10205037This is a question many bloggers ask. Search engines typically reward websites that publish unique, fresh content with higher rankings, so conventional wisdom should lead you to believe that duplicate content will have the opposite effect. If you rely on organic search engine traffic, you should read the following post about duplicate content.

How Duplicate Content Occurs on Blogs

Even if you don’t manually create two or more pages with the same content, it may still show up in several locations. WordPress, for instance, is the world’s leading content management system (CMS), powering millions of blogs and websites. While its arguably the best all-around blogging CMS, it comes with a dark side: the potential for duplicate content. By default, WordPress publishes content to the actual page or post URL, archives page, author page and tag page. So while you may assume your content is being published in a single location, it’s actually showing up in four locations.

Of course, there’s an easy solution to dealing with duplicate content on WordPress blogs: use an SEO plugin. Yoast SEO plugin allows WordPress users to specify which locations (e.g. archives, tag, author, etc.) they want to noindex. The content will still be published to these locations, but neither Google nor any other search engine will be able to index it.

Video: Matt Cutts Takes on Duplicate Content

Watch the video above for a closer look at duplicate content. Matt Cutts, head of Google’s anti-spam team, published this Q&A video back in December 2013. While it’s over a year old now, it offers some invaluable insight into duplicate content.

As Cutts points out in the video, nearly a third (25-30%) of the Internet is comprised of duplicate content. With such a massive chunk of the WWW featuring the same content, it’s virtually impossible for Google to penalize each and every site on which it is published. But there’s a fine line you must not cross when publishing duplicate content. According to Cutts, things like excerpts, terms and conditions, privacy policies, and other boilerplate content shouldn’t trigger any filters within Google’s ranking algorithm — meaning it won’t bring down your website’s search ranking. However, building the bulk of your blog’s content around content that’s published elsewhere may result in lower search rankings, or in severe cases, your blog being deindexed.

How To Manage Duplicate Content on Your Blog:

  • If your blog runs WordPress, download and install an SEO plugin such as Yoast’s SEO plugin.
  • Consolidate posts and pages with similar content together.
  • Adding the rel=canonical tag will guide search engines to the original source of duplicate content.
  • Create backlinks to your blog using a single domain format (e.g yoursite.com or www.yoursite.com).

How do you manage duplicate content on your blog? Let us know in the comments section below!

3 thoughts on “Can Duplicate Content Hurt Your Blog’s Rankings?

  1. Marlon McKee

    One day it is black, one day it’s white… it is always difficult to know what is going to hurt your SEO efforts and rankings, so as a rule of thumb I’d always advise clients to avoid duplicate content

    Reply
  2. Malcolm Dillman

    Search Engines try to only index a piece of content once, as they don’t want the search results to come back with the same article from different websites

    Reply

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