A common worry for site owners is that of duplicate content. This worry can develop over time as your site gets bigger you might begin to forget how many pages are on your site and which elements are duplicated. Moreover, this worry seems to stem from the fact that SEO’s are unsure as to what exactly is duplicate content.
Duplicate content is a big issue which affects both SEO and content marketing.
Unique content for SEO
Search engines want to filter out duplicative content – this means they don’t want to show things that are the same. Search engines don’t want to show a set of results where all the rankings show the same article which contains the same content, photos etc. Search engines like Google know that users won’t like having a whole list of sites with the same content, which completely makes sense. However, it does leave us asking, how unique should I be with my content?
Unique content for content marketing
Firstly let’s explain the term unique content; this refers to the unique material on a page. When you break it down and exclude the likes of footers, ads and sidebars etc., this leaves a low percentage of page space which contains text. If you’re worried about having pages with light content, don’t worry about it too much as this is a common occurrence with many sites. What really matters is the unique value of the content which fills this space.
Duplication applies to internal and external sources
Internal – engines will try to ignore this if it’s occurring in small and subtle amounts happening here and there. There’s a reason for this, such as search engines accommodating for different versions of your pages such as mobile and print etc.
External – you can include text from other sources but don’t overstep the mark here. By all means take a paragraph from Wikipedia or cite a blogger including some of their phrases or even use a YouTube video to supplement your content. It’s not duplicative as long as you’re adding unique value to this. This means you need to add your own insights into the piece, whether it be unique photo content or unique insider tips and comments. If you’re not adding value then it’s not unique enough for the search engines and why would it be if all you’ve done is a copy and paste.
One more thing, a lot of SEO’s discuss a magical % of unique content that your pages should have. I’m sure I’ve even seen tools which assess your pages and give you a value of their uniqueness compared to this mythical perfect score. Well, it truly is a myth there’s no perfect percentage score that your pages should have. For Google this doesn’t exist so why should it exist for SEO’s? The algorithms are far more sophisticated than a specific percentage for unique content.
Many different aspects are checked and scrutinised to deliver the best possible search results such as backlinks, comments, and social signals even domain authority can also play a role here.
Finally, please remember that due to the Panda update duplicative content in one area of your site can harm your whole site. If you’re nervous about this you can robots.txt this content so robots don’t crawl it and you can make use of the rel canonical tag.