Be Proactive to Avoid Duplicate Content Issues

    December 8, 2009

Google may have busted the "duplicate content myth" a while back, saying that you don’t technically get "penalized" for it, but that doesn’t mean it is a good thing. Shari Thurow of Omni Marketing Interactive says you should care about it so that your better pages are available to rank.

Search engines don’t always get it right, so you have to be proactive. She says, "Being proactive is crucial." Make sure search engines are indexing the right thing. We’ve discussed tips for this in the past, based on advice from Google, Yahoo, and Bing. Things to consider include:

– Consistency
– Site navigation/url structure
– canonicalization
– robots.txt file
– robots exclusion tag
– sitemap submission

Come up with clear URL structure and architecture so that it is easier to not deliver duplicate content. Use Web analytics software and webmaster tools.

If you have duplicate content, your competitors can outrank you, but Thurow says, "The number 1 reason you should care about duplicate content is the user experience."

Here’s a helpful video from Google on the duplicate content subject in case you have not seen it before:

According to, duplicate content can mean:

2 pages that contain exact text content
2 pages contain similar text content
2 pages are visually similar

Article Syndication and Duplicate Content

Article syndication has often brought up concerns of duplicate content. According to Eric Enge of Stone Temple Consulting, there is a good side to syndication, which is that it is a great way to get links and visibility.

"Syndicating content is one of the primary tactics used for link building," he notes.

When exact copies are syndicated, problems can arise. Search engines only want to show one copy of a piece of content, and they usually show the original author. You can syndicate a synopsis and not the whole article, but this only works if you content is authoritative, Enge says.

If you must syndicate exact article to other site MUST link back to original article engines may interpret, but it may fail, he says.

Abby Johnson contributed to this report from Search Engine Strategies Chicago.

Related Articles:

> Duplicate Content on Google, Bing & Yahoo

> Google Busts the Duplicate Content Myth

> Internationalizing Without Duplicate Content Worries