How to Handle the Duplicate Content Issue?

Duplicate content is a serious matter of concern for the world of webmasters. Read on this blog post of mine on how to handle the duplicate content issue, so that your website should not have any negative SEO impact?

A few months back I wrote an interesting blog on why can’t we develop original content? Reason why this blog came into my memory today is because of the concern of one of my blogger friend about her content being copied by some other bloggers.

How to Handle the Duplicate Content Issue?

How to Handle the Duplicate Content Issue?

Being a blogger I can understand the pain when you see your own blog being copied and pasted on some other blog. The thing which hurts even more is the fact that the blogger don’t even has the curtsey to mention our name on their blog.

So the biggest challenge related to the SEO of your blog is to protect it from the duplicate content issue, which is so harmful as far as ranking on Google, is concerned.

Different Types of Duplicate Content Issue

Let me take you through different types of the reasons of duplicate content issues which you might encounter with your website:

Copy and Paste Content

It is a situation in which blogger or site owners simply copies some content from some other website and paste it on their website or blog. It is the worst types of duplicate content issue and search engines especially Google are too strict about handling it.

If such an issue found on your website or blog, it might also have to face the issues like loss in search engine rankings, reduced traffic, and loss of trust in search engines.

Although these days such incidents has reduced drastically, but still such types of things usually happen. In my opinion it is completely unethical to copy and paste someone’s hard work on your website without giving him the credit for it. Honestly even with due credit if you are copying and pasting some block of content on your website, in my opinion it is also a crime.

Taking inspiration from some blog or site is fine, you can research different websites to collect information about a particular topic and then you can write it in your own way. Matching of a few points are quite okay, as when two or more people are writing on same topic then a few things will usually remain common. But the concern is that when anyone can read it and understand that it is being taken from that particular website.

If a reader can understand it, then obviously search engine algorithms are too smart to crack it. They will surely punish the website which is found guilty of publishing duplicate content.

Though the question is how a search engine will decide which content is the duplicate one?

How Search Engines Determine Duplicate Content?

Unfortunately, the biggest issue with duplicate content is that search engines are still not that much capable about determining duplicate content thing. It is really impossible for search engines to determine which versions of content are original and which one is the duplicate?

Let’s say I am doing so much of hard work to prepare this piece of content, and the moment I publish it, one of friends visited my site and can copy and paste the same article without changing any portion of it into their website.

How can you stop someone from stealing your hard work?

How can you stop someone else to use your content?

Well, practically speaking it is really difficult to stop someone from doing so. It might also be possible that search engines can even consider my content as the duplicate one and might penalize my website for it too.

You might say that Alok Vats is actually supporting such things. You might tell that I am promoting people to do such things.

No, you are actually thinking it differently. I am just telling the different perspective of duplicate content. These days search engines are too fast and smart too.

You might dodge your readers with duplicate content but you cannot dodge the search engines. Normal consideration is that search engines consider the post as the original one which is made online earlier. Here the role of indexing plays as a crucial thing.

The website or blogs which are being indexed by search engines on a fast note will get the benefit out of it.

Second thing which might benefit the original author is the writing style. Those who do such copy and paste thing don’t even prefer to change the writing style of the original content, just because it is a time consuming affair, and if you can invest so much time on changing the writing style of a post then you can easily have developed an original content for your website.

Duplicate Content Issue Because of URL Parameters

You might also call these types of duplicate content issues as the issues caused by different pages of our own website. In some cases websites content management system automatically creates different versions of the same page. It can be something like and will land to the same page.

Though for search engines these two separate URL’s will be treated as two different pages. Some websites will have printer friendly URL’s structure as well, which can produce a printer friendly page for each of your web page and thus increase the duplicate content issue on your website or blog.

On the other hand some website also has the session id types of parameters which might cause the same thing.

The biggest issue with search engine crawlers is that they don’t know which versions of a page is the best one; they also don’t know which page to rank for relevant query searches.

Honestly such confusions of the search engine crawlers are dangerous for your website.

How to Handle the Duplicate Content Issue?

So it is quite clear that duplicate content issue is dangerous for the ranking of your website. Though it is also true that as far as the duplicity of some small content blocks like sidebar content, footer content or terms and condition, etc. are duplicate you need not to worry about them. Google might also ignore them, but unless the main content of your site is duplicate or you are not doing spammy duplicate content issue you should not worry about them.

So you might ask me how to handle the duplicate content issue?

Use CopyScape

The moment I finish writing a blog, I usually check it through CopyScape that if it is showing as a duplicate content or not. CopyScape is a freemium tool; you might ask me what freemium tool is?

Freemium is a tool for services which comes as free as well and charges (premium services) for some better services. So CopyScape also provide free searches, but then it is the tool through which you can check if a URL is copied from somewhere or not, whereas for a premium service they provide the option of checking either content or URL and see a lot more options of duplicate things.

If you are a blog owner like me who always publishes original content on their site, then you can also display the banners of CopyScape so that your readers can aware of it. Though as I said above that no one can stop someone to copy something from your website, such banners are also unable to stop someone from copying some block of content from your website.

CopyScape is one of the best tools I have ever encountered to fight against Plagiarism, which is the practice of someone taking the credits of all your hard work and displaying it as their own work.

Rel=Canonical Tag

A few days back I mentioned about Canonical tag in a blog post on SEO Predictions for 2015. As per me these days canonical tag has become one of the most important aspects for the SEO ranking of your website. Through it you can easily manage the duplicate content issue on your website.

It is the part of the head section of a webpage and can easily be managed by the HTML section of your website. Here is an example of the same:

<link rel=”canonical” href=”Original_Page_URL” />

This will clearly guide search engines like Google and Bing that though this page is a copy of the Original Page URL, and hence they should provide all the values to the Original_Page_URL only instead of considering this page for ranking purposes.

Noindex and Nofollow Tags

Other tag which can prevent your website from duplicate content issue (though from your own website only) is the noindex and nofollow tag. You can use the combination of noindex, follow as well, which will clearly guide search engines to follow a particular page but not to index the same.

You can use these tags on pages like your printer friendly pages, so that Google and all other search engines should consider it not to index.

While if you are using noindex, nofollow tag then you are actually requesting search engines not to index and follow a particular page.

Although these tags are a request only and entirely depends on the consent of the search engines if they want to follow it or not.

301 Redirect

301 Redirects, that too the permanent one is yet another way to prevent your website from duplicate content issues. Though it is a bit technical one and require handling at the server level, but through it as well you can guide search engine that a duplicate page should be redirected to the original page.

Although as I said already that all these steps are something through which you can prevent the duplicate content issue which might be arising on your own website only. Honestly you cannot stop someone to copy and paste your content or hard work. But yes if your website is properly indexed and cached on time by search engine crawlers then you need not to worry about it.

You can fool your readers with your write ups, which you certainly copied from somewhere else, but you cannot fool the search engines. Taking inspirations from some other sites or gathering information from other popular sites is fine, but you should understand that you should always write the content for your website by yourself only.

What do you all think about content plagiarism, or the copy paste act or the duplicate content issue? Please do share how will you feel if you found that I have stolen your hard work on my blog without giving a credit to you? I would love to hear your opinion on these topics.

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