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Brendan Egan

Duplicate Content Can Kill Your Website!

A duplicate never comes out quite as good as the original.  Whether you’re talking about a fax, a photocopy, a counterfeit, or website content.  I’ve seen my fair share of bad knockoffs, and the reality is you probably spend a lot more time making the duplicate than if you were to just make an original.

I blog A LOT about duplicate website content and stealing content from other websites.  After the Google Panda update, duplicate content can KILL your website!  Yet it’s almost as if people don’t believe it or want to believe it.  I’ve seen it first hand time after time after time — websites get pushed off the top 3 pages of search results when they have duplicate content.

Just the past 30 days I’ve dealt with at least 5 SEO clients having duplicate content issues — not because of anything we’ve done, but because of content they’ve posted.  For whatever reason people seem to think it’s okay to go out onto the internet and grab content from other websites, copy it, and paste it on their own site as if it’s their own.  Now I know some website owners and business owners don’t know that can penalize you, but it truly can, not to mention it’s morally and ethically wrong to do.  I would never go out and steal content from someone else’s idea, even before search engines penalized you for it, and I still don’t understand why people do it.

I have one client who was ranking well on page one, and they are now no where to be found in search results due to what appears to be a panda related ranking drop.  I have another client whose pages actually were deindexed due to duplicate content on various pages in the website.  I have another client who was ranking #2 for a super competitive keyword when they hired a blogger to update their website and the blogger was just copying and pasting content from other sites.  Duplicate content is dangerous and can KILL your website rankings!

Aside from duplicate content killing your rankings, it can also kill your reputation.  Think about it this way — what if I went to the top 3 websites in search results, company A, B, and C.  Company A has great content and sounds awesome, but I want to shop around, so I go to company B which is also a great site.  Now I go to Company C which is ranked last, and I realize it has the same exact content as Company A and B.  I’m going to immediately discredit anything Company C says to me on their website and I more than likely will never do business with them.  That applies to images, page copy, website layout, and virtually anything relating to your website.  Duplicate content doesn’t only kill your rankings, but it can kill your reputation too!

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) prohibits you from stealing digital media and content from other websites.  That includes images, videos, and content.  All a content owner has to do is file a violation notice and they can have your website removed from search results, they can have your host shut your website down, and they can even sue you.  I have personally had websites removed from search results and removed from hosts for copying content from my sites or my client’s sites.  I have yet to sue anyone over it as we have never had a case that extreme (yet) but I can assure you that stealing content is a serious matter.  Duplicate content can remove you from search engines completely, remove you from your host, and cost you thousands in lawsuits.

Even though I’ve outlined numerous reasons why you should avoid duplicate content, I am willing to bet just about anything that within the next 4 weeks I will get a new SEO client who has a website full of duplicate content–it just happens like clockwork.  Fortunately it’s easy to fix, but it isn’t as easy to convince search engines and convince prospective clients that you aren’t going to copy again.  If you have content issues on your site, take some time to fix them or hire us to go in and fix them for you.  Trust me, the sooner you fix the duplicate issues the sooner you’ll be on the path to having a quality website again.