Duplicate Content: Bad News for Rankings

January 26th, 2010 by Search Influence Alumni

Recently, I received the phone call that no one in SEO ever wants to receive. In a nutshell, our clients’ site had completely fallen off the rankings. I, of course, began scrambling for what could have possibly happened within a week- the final result…..duplicate content! (Disclaimer: We did not place duplicate content up. It was a franchise site.)

Acceptable Reasons for Duplicate Content

Duplicate content is not looked upon highly by Google, and can either hurt your rankings or make them disappear completely. According to Google Webmaster Tools, there are a few places duplicate content is acceptable.

– Discussion forums that can generate both regular and stripped-down pages targeted at mobile devices

– Store items shown or linked via multiple distinct URLs

– Printer-only versions of web pages

Ways to Correct Duplicate Content

If you come across an instance that could be duplicate content, here are some actions that can be taken to prevent it.

– 301 Redirects: redirect all of your duplicate pages to one page. The duplicate content and redirected URLs will work themselves out in Google.

– Robots.txt: Place this in your code on the pages you don’t want Google to index. In the case of the printable text, place it on those pages.

– Rewrite Content:  If you have two sites that work together for one business, then edit one site so that the content reads the same, but will be indexed differently. You can also put a small blurb on one site and link to the site with all of the information.

Various methods exist to correct duplicate content based on different scenarios. A great article I found when researching was in the Google Webmaster Tools. The easiest way to manage duplicate content is to avoid overusing.