SEO Myths #4: Is Duplicate Content a Search Engine Optimization Penalty?

The Penultimate Myth, Myth #4: Is Duplicate Content a Search Engine Optimization Penalty?

Is double content double trouble for search engine optimization? Beginners and new SEO users fear the term “duplicate content penalty”. Google’s definition of duplicate content, “refers to the substantive blocks of content within or across domains that either completely match other content or are appreciably similar.”

The “penalty” people fear is Google negatively changes the rankings. This penalty has been a common myth for many years and we are here to lay it to rest once and for all.

Google is Your Friend, Not Your Enemy

To answer the big question and I’m sure you’ve noticed the common trend amongst this series, the answer is NO. Google does not/nor has ever penalized a website for duplicate content. So why is this an ongoing myth?

Google has a duplicate content filter that influences SERPS (Search Engine Result Pages). People confuse this as a penalty because Google essentially demotes what it believes to be duplicated content on the SERP. This filter applies specifically to titles and meta descriptions (the 155 characters within the search engine result that summarizes the page).

Now, Google isn’t trying to be against you. Even with technology, accidents do happen as it is trying to filter out the original from the duplicated. The four most common types of duplicate content are: websites with identical pages, scraped content, e-commerce product descriptions, and distributed articles.

So how can we help our content from being bumped down? One tip we suggest is to rewrite your content based on your geography. For example, if your business is a multi-location business but its primary location is in Lakeland, add references specific to Lakeland. These references can be specificing a name of a street or if your business like many in this area come from a historic building, add some content detailing the history of the location.

Let’s Lay this Myth to Rest

Google’s algorithm constantly updates to better sniff out the duplicate content, but it is important to take the necessar precautions to not have your content filtered by accident. If there is only one thing you need to remember from reading this, then let it be this: there is no such thing as a duplicate content penalty! Spread the word!

Learn more about SEO here.

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