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What’s The Big Deal About Duplicate Content?

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Be careful: duplicate content can sometimes result in lower search rankings and consequently traffic from search engines.

Let’s say you post on your community’s blog, then copy and paste the entire blog entry (or substantial portions of it) to Facebook and then onto your website’s news page. When the same content appears in different places online, Google tries to determine which was the original content, and prevent the rest from showing in search results. They don’t always get it right, which means your original blog post might not appear in search results, resulting in lost SEO and traffic to your blog.

One solution is to have the same content rewritten for different audiences. For instance, a more conversational style is best for your community’s Facebook page but not appropriate for a news section.

Over time, you might find that the type of content you started with can be effective across social media, blogging and traditional news platforms.

Finally, be careful about duplicating your original content on outside websites because Google’s algorithm may mistakenly select the other URL for search results, rather than yours.  Also, be on the lookout for your original copy being duplicated and published elsewhere online without your approval, especially if there is no link back to your original content.  If you are unfortunate to have that happen, report the copyright infringement through Google’s DMCA (Digital Millenium Copyright Act) takedown tool.

Further reading about Duplicate Content (source: Google)