The internet is a huge place, bigger than most of us truly comprehend. There are almost two billion websites, each of which can have anything from a handful to thousands of webpages. Amid all that content, a little duplication is inevitable. In fact, according to some researchers, more than a quarter of all webpages contain duplicate content. In the world of New York SEO, however, duplication can lead to a world of problems.

Imitation and inspiration

There are essentially two categories of duplication that site owners need to think about. The first, and the simplest to address stems from the well known cliché that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. We’ve all seen a great piece of content on another site from time to time and felt it would be something our own readers would find valuable.

While taking inspiration from content that you see elsewhere is all part of content marketing in New York and everywhere else, copying it and duplicating it on your site will almost certainly end in disaster. Aside from potential ethical and copyright issues, when Google crawls the content, it will see that the two web pages are “appreciably similar” but will not know which to treat as the original.

Confusion on the part of Google can be the least of your problems, however. If the original owner of the content identifies that it has been copied, it can result in a site being blacklisted by Google. At best, the page will need to be taken down.  But at worst, the entire site can end up being delisted on the Google search results. As a New York SEO company that works so hard to help our clients climb the search rankings, we can’t think of a worse thing that could happen!

Fortunately, this aspect of duplication is easy to avoid. Take responsibility for your content and ensure that everything you write is original and you will never have a problem. If you really like someone else’s article, you can always link to it. And of course there is no problem with including quotations, as long as they are appropriately attributed.

Ghosts in the machine

The more common problem is when you duplicate your own content multiple times on your site. This is almost always unintentional, but is very easy to do. The problem commonly exists when you have multiple versions of your site floating in cyberspace, and an intrinsic part of our website design in NYC centers around making sure your site has controls to identify and take appropriate action on this kind of duplication.

So how does it happen? Take a look at the following three examples and you will get an idea:

http://mywebsite.com

https://mywebsite.com

http://www.mywebsite.com

As a site evolves, it is common for www and non-www versions as well as http or https versions to exist in parallel. Of course, there are no copyright infringements to worry about here.  You can reproduce your own content as many times as you like but you will face the same problem of Google having no way of knowing which is the original version. As a result, the SEO efficiency of the content in terms of page ranking is diluted across the different pages.

a graphic showing webpage 301 redirect New York SEODealing with duplication

Duplication of this second kind is a common occurrence that New York SEO companies deal with every day. The tools at their disposal might sound complicated, but they are quite logical. The first is to use a 301 redirect. This forwards traffic from, for example, http://mywebsite.com and http://www.mywebsite.com to https://mywebsite.com.  It doesn’t impact the site visitor’s experience, in fact no one will even notice. The redirect transfers almost all the domain’s ranking power to the right page.

There are other solutions, which involve diving headlong into the coding of each webpage to identify which is the canonical version. Again, for anyone who does not enjoy coding, this can look like a foreign language. But to those in the SEO business, identifying canonical version is a relatively simple process.

If you are concerned about duplication and how it might be affecting your site, get in touch with our New York SEO team. Call us on 516-883-3851 for a free consultation.

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