As we’ve discussed before, you have to be aware of duplicate content issues so you can avoid being penalized by the search engines. Google, Yahoo! and Bing go to great lengths to return a diverse set of results for their users…if they detect duplicate content, they try to determine the original article/piece and display it for their searchers.
There are several things you can do to avoid duplicate content…one of course is avoiding shady SEO practices and outright plagiarism on your site.
Continue reading to learn 7 ways you can avoid getting into trouble with duplicate content.
1. Using other people’s articles
Some webmasters simply pay for or get permission from an article’s original author to post the piece on their site unaltered. If you do this, make sure the article truly has relevance to your site.
Add your own comments or rewrite what’s already there to ensure unique content. At a minimum, run the piece through a duplicate content tool like CopyScape to see if there are any other pages on the Internet similar to that one.
2. Develop your own unique content
The easiest way to avoid duplicate content is to develop your own unique stuff. Your readers and search engines will love you for it. Develop a schedule to steadily add new and fresh content to your site.
3. If you’re running an ecommerce site, develop your own product descriptions
Many ecommerce sites use product descriptions supplied by manufacturers, which is an obvious duplication in the eyes of the search engines. These descriptions may appear on hundreds of different sites out there. Although a tedious task, rewrite these product descriptions in your own unique language to avoid duplication issues.
4. If you have a blog, do not have your date or category archive pages indexed
This feature is standard on most blogging platforms but you can block it from happening through your robots.txt file. These features hardly bring you more visitors or higher page rankings.
5. Block search engines from indexing duplicate copies on your site
Many websites include “printer-friendly” versions of articles and web pages, which could potentially cause duplicate content issues. Using your robots.txt file, block directories or files you do not want the search engines to touch.
6. Use 301 redirects if you have recently redesigned your site
Using 301 redirects to channel traffic to your new site is critical to avoiding duplicate content issues with the search engines. Whenever you move a webpage, use a 301 redirect to point your visitors and the search engines to the proper page.
7. Be careful when syndicating your content
Distributing your content to affiliates is a great way to build your brand and draw in new visitors and customers. To avoid duplicate content issues with this, post the content on your website first so the search engines crawl it first before it appears on other sites. Include a link to the original content on any syndicated site to guarantee the original remains indexed.
Taking these steps to avoid duplicate content issues is in essence preventive maintenance. If you own a car, you change the oil regularly and spend a little bit to avoid having to spend much more in the future.
Employing the above practices with your site will ensure you deliver the most relevant, unique content to your users and the search engines without threat of removal or suppression if it’s reprinted somewhere else online.