When thinking about duplicate content, we generally only consider written content. Is what you are posting on your website original? Simply copying and pasting something from somewhere else is a big mistake- that much is obvious.
But something you may not consider to be duplicate content may be considered such by search engines like Google, Yahoo! and Bing. You see, they’re trying to return diverse content to their users …they have a vested interest in ensuring what they display on page 1 is helpful and diverse for their users.
That is what you have to consider – what do search engines consider duplicate? Not doing so could spell disaster for your site’s rankings. Site penalties can occur if a site is simply structured the same way for instance.
Continue reading for 6 not so obvious types of duplicate content to ensure you are not penalized for such an infraction.
1. Two websites share the same structure and content
Two websites having the same structure (i.e. same three column template) and the same content on a single page or site wide with the same linking scheme is prone to trouble. This is by far the most extreme example of duplicate content but the easiest to identify.
2. Identical structure with paraphrased content
Another scenario where two sites have an identical structure but the content is not 100% identical. Copywriters and content developers may see this as a grey area. But Google has a zero tolerance policy on this issue…content from one site simply cannot be a rehashed version of the same thing from another site.
3. Identical structure with similar content
In structural terms, it’s pretty clear two sites are identical. In this situation, the content on each site still has too close a resemblance. If it appears the content is managed in a similar fashion and presented in the same scope, the site(s) may be penalized.
4. Partially identical structure with similar content
While it may seem like splitting hairs, Google is very meticulous. Site A and Site B may only have a few pages that are identical but if the content between the two sites is sufficiently similar, they may take action and not index one of the sites.
5. Identical structure with reminiscent content
In this scenario, both sites have a similar structure and linking scheme while the content is relatively similar. Some content developers may think simply using a Thesaurus to change a few words may avoid detection but the search engines can spot this kind of move.
6. Unique structure with pieced together content
Two sites may have their own unique site structure and linking scheme but their content is simply scraped together from different sources the writer found. Search engines will flag this as duplicate content and act accordingly.
Image, videos and other document formats are sometimes ignored by the search engines since most don’t have the capability to spot duplicate forms of these types of content. They sometimes attempt to remove duplications based on file size, image size and file name however. Therefore in the future, it will be important you think about this as technology continues to evolve.
It should be obvious that simply copying and pasting content to your site is not only dishonest, it is robbing the original creator of that piece without due credit and compensation. But these other scenarios where search engines may flag your site are just as important. While you may not think your site is a duplication of another, what the search engines see is really what matters.