The Dangers of Duplicate Content
September 2nd, 2010 by
So you have decided to take your business’s marketing to the next level and you hire a company that guarantees you a functional Web site, which will attract customers and grow your business. Seems flawless, right? Not necessarily.
The next thing you know, the site does not rank on any search engine and you turn to a SEO company to see what can be done. After implementing SEO tactics, if your site is still not ranking when searched organically, you may have the great problem of duplicate content.
Many times, companies that create Web sites tailored to particular industries (such as Internet Dental Alliance and Mentor Solutions) use template site layouts and content. All of the information filling your Web site about your procedures or services are not unique and are most likely being used for another client somewhere in the country and what’s worse: it may be used for another client in your area.
In a market as small as New Orleans, you may still rank on the first page of Google – along side your competitors – in spite of the duplicate content. This is the case for certain New Orleans dentists that have used Internet Dental Alliance to create their Web sites: City Park Dental Care (neworleanscosmeticdental.com), Today’s Dental Cosmetic and Family Dentistry (cosmeticdentistneworleans.com) and NOLA Dental Care (cosmeticdentalneworleans.com). However, there still has to be a winner and a loser and the winner in the search for “Cosmetic Dentist New Orleans” is City Park Dental. (Click to enlarge.)
Superficially, all these sites look somewhat different, but they all have a similar structure. Although, there is not duplicate content on every page of these sites, the two dentists above that offer the Invisalign procedure do enter the duplicate content zone. Check out their sites:
In some ways, the sites are different visually, but the images are the same and, most importantly, so is the text. The problem of duplicate content has nothing to do with plagiarism, by the way, but search engines can tell when content is duplicated and will grant authority to a site through a varying combination of factors including which has the “original” content, which is has an older domain, or which the greater number of authoritative inbound links. If scales don’t shift in your site’s favor, then you will be pushed down the rankings, especially if your market is highly competitive.
Though there are several factors that deem a site “authoritative,” any way you search for it, NOLA Dental Care does not rank as well as City Park Dental Care for the invisalign procedure. In this case, the only solution is to rewrite and completely restructure the page and its content to increase in rank.
Search Influence Account Manager, Eva Moran, recommends that business owners or staff members write their own unique content capturing their particular voice, sentiment and expertise on the subject and then passing it off for optimization review.
Also, you may think twice before using a service that guarantees you (and everyone else!) an effective Web page. It is worth investing on a Web site that isn’t generated from a template to avoid duplicate content and gain visibility on search engines.
For more information on duplicate content in other situations, Google has some great insights here.