Why Is Duplicate Content Bad for Your Business
Some time back, in 2012, Google introduced its Panda ranking algorithm that was meant to filter out thin and duplicate content from the search results. In the years that followed till today, Google has made numerous upgrades to the algorithm. This is all in an effort to make the mammoth search engine much better and to give more value to readers as well as improve their experience.
What does this mean for bloggers, freelance writers and website content services? It means that Google is always watching and that it has put some guidelines in place to ensure that these parties do their part to provide excellent material to the readers. One of those guidelines has to do with duplicate content.
What is duplicate content?
Google has a more comprehensive definition of duplicate content on their search console help page, but here is a quick run-down for your benefit.
“Substantive blocks of content within or across domains that either completely match other content or are appreciably similar.”
Most eCommerce stores suffer greatly due to duplicate content because they let their digital affiliates and freelancers to use the same product description over and over in an effort to promote the product on as many platforms as possible. Even though the product description may be an original piece of work from the hired copywriter, Google sees this as duplicate content and as such, takes notice and imposes the set guidelines and penalties.
These are two of the most common reasons why Google decided to make filtering of duplicate content a priority for its search engine ranking criteria:
- The duplicated content is seen as a deliberate attempt to try and manipulate the search engines into ranking the offenders websites higher than the competitors.
- Google strives to give its own users the best possible experience and that entail returning search results that are not only helpful and relevant, but of high-quality and uniqueness.
Why duplicate content is bad for SEO and brand image
There are several reasons why duplicate content is bad for your SEO efforts as well as brand image. Some of which have to do with originality, uniqueness and creating your own voice within your niche.
Your content will not be unique
The problem with duplicated content is that it is not unique. Whether you have copied it from someone else’s blog or someone else has copied it from your platform, it is still the same content and your readers will not get what they deserve from you. Imagine if one of your readers came to your blog, liked it and kept on reading everything you write. The fact that they choose to come back time and time again means that they have developed some sort of trust and respect for your voice and value what you bring to the table.
Now imagine if the same reader went to a competitor’s website and found the very same blog posts as they did on your platform. How would they know who wrote the original? Would they even have the time to investigate and decide whether or not you are the original thinker or just a copycat? In almost all the cases, the answer would be no. They will not have the time to do all that. They will most likely just dismiss both platforms and move on to someone else who is offering them something new and unique.
This is the same situation with Google. Since the bots will have a difficult time discerning who the original writer was, they will simply demote both pages from their search engine rankings and offer the surfer something else that is unique and relevant. So both of you suffer in terms of ranking.
It dilutes your image
Most eCommerce business owners strive to carve out a niche for themselves online. This involves building a brand and creating a strong, recognizable voice that goes with that brand. This voice has to be unique and highly influential. The only way to do that is to provide readers with extremely useful content that is of high-quality and relevance. Your loyal readers will come to associate you with this kind of uniqueness and to a point, will begin to demand it from you. Should they find that your voice is not so unique or original after all, they will lose all respect for you and find someone else who offers them more.
No one will want to work with you
One of the best ways to get your content out there and build yourself up as an authority in your niche is to do a lot of guest blogging and become associated with the industry leaders. This leads to lots of backlinks and eventual respect and trust amongst top bloggers and freelance writers. Writing original content is not easy, but the best blogs expect you to provide value for their readers if they are going to feature your content. Should they find out that all your content writing skills are based on plagiarized material, no one will want to work with you. You will fail to get guest blogging opportunities and as such, reduce your chances of acquiring valuable backlinks to your platform.
There are very simple ways through which you can find out whether or not your content is being duplicated online. You can use tools such as Copyscape to see how unique your content is and should you find anything fishy, you can simply report the matter to Google through Scraper Report. Although, you are encouraged to only report those webmasters who will not respond to your requests to take down the duplicate content.
It is all about your brand image and the kind of value it provides for your readers. You want your platform to be as unique and as authoritative as possible and that cannot happen when your content is similar to thousands of others online. Hire trustworthy and professional copywriters to give you unique and relevant content that is not copied from anywhere else.