If SEO was a simple straightforward process, every company would get in on it. In reality SEO is a multi-pronged process that includes everything from making a sure a site’s code is up to date and ready for search engine spiders to creating new and original content to stir up traffic and cement your website’s authority. In SEO you will often hear the phrase that “content is king.” There is no doubt that original, insightful, and useful content is one of the best things you can do to help boost your website’s rankings, but like other parts of search engine optimization, there are many mistakes that could actually harm your rankings.

One of the easiest mistakes you can make when developing content for your website is the use of duplicate content. In this overview of duplicate content let’s look at what duplicate content is, how it can destroy your rankings, and some ways to make sure you don’t make this mistake.

How Duplicate Content Destroys Your Rankings

What is Considered Duplicate Content?

According to Google, duplicate content refers to “substantive blocks of content within or across domains that either completely match other content or are appreciably similar.” In layman’s terms, if a large chunk of content can be found elsewhere on the web, it will likely be considered duplicate content.

Duplicate content is not just in violation of SEO best practices for the plagiarism issue, in actuality duplicate content can be confusing to search engine crawlers and may leave a search engine confused as to where to rank that content. So not only is duplicate content harmful for copyright aspects, it can also be pointless as the page won’t be properly crawled in the first place.

Penalties from Duplicate Content

The penalties from duplicate content can vary depending on the seriousness of the violation of the duplicate content guidelines. Here are some of the factors considered when assessing penalties for duplicate content:

  • Volume of duplicate content
  • Context of duplicate content
  • Timing in which duplicate content was posted or crawled

Penalties can range from a slap on the wrist, to large drops in search engine rankings, all the way up to delisting for major violations!

How Do You Avoid Duplicate Content?

The best way to avoid duplicate content is to always follow SEO best practices and webmaster guidelines, and to avoid “content farms,” and other shady SEO organizations. If you are looking for unique and useful content for your website, always trust the work to highly-rated SEO companies or to reliable content services. The low price and quick-turnaround certainly look nice from overseas content creation but they can destroy your rankings in a matter of days.

If you follow SEO best practices and avoid duplicate content, you won’t have to worry about search engine penalties. Always use a reliable and highly-rated content service or SEO to insure that the content for your website is fresh, practical, and will boost your rankings, not harm them.