Duplicate Content

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What Is Duplicate Content?

Duplicate content is content that appears in more than one place. On the internet, the “place” where you find content is defined by its URL, so content that lives on multiple URLs or domains is considered duplicate content.

Not to be confused with repurposed content, duplicate content is either practically or completely identical to existing content. So, don’t worry about recycling a few phrases or sentences between pieces, as long as you’re not copying large blocks of content.

Duplicate Content and SEO

Duplicate content can negatively impact search engine optimization (SEO). When there are multiple versions of the same content, search engines have difficulty deciding where to send traffic. Search engines such as Google will often avoid including multiple versions of “appreciably similar” web pages, as a best practice for user experience.

It also forces search engines to choose which piece of content to include in top rankings and which to filter out. Other websites also have to choose which page to direct to, further diluting the link equity of both pages.

How Does It Occur?

Duplication can occur when a piece of content is created and then adapted for multiple audiences. It can also appear when content is duplicated in a “live copy” of a website, localized to a different country or region.

While cases such as these are deliberate, duplication is also the result of improper governance and siloed workflows within a company: two different groups publishing the same piece of content without realizing it.

Lastly, it can occur when content is deliberately copied from another source without attribution, aka plagiarism. All forms of duplicate content—whether unethical or merely unintentional—can lead to SEO penalties such as reduced search visibility.

Why It Matters for B2B Marketing 

Duplicate content can have an adverse impact on SEO rankings and user experience. And in the competitive world of B2B marketing, these metrics matter more than ever.

Sixty-two percent of B2B buyers report that they can make business decisions based solely on online content. And fifty-seven percent of B2B marketers report SEO as having the biggest impact on lead generation. That means your competition is strategizing how to rank higher than you.

Minimizing duplication will increase your chances of having your pages rank higher and not be relegated to Google’s dreaded supplemental index:

Google supplemental index example
Google supplemental index example

One way to minimize duplicate content is by implementing canonical, or preferred, URLs. A canonical URL will tell search engines which of two or more duplicate pages to include in search results. You can check if a URL is canonical or non-canonical by searching for “rel=‘canonical’” within the page’s metadata. Minimizing duplicate content lets you save your page rankings for the pages that need it.

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