What is duplicate content?

Duplicate content refers to content that seems to be similar to the content in other websites or multiple pages on the same website. If the content is visible in several URLs, the content is being duplicated. It may happen technically or non-technically. Duplicate content is one of the major factors that affect good SEO strategies.

Google defines duplicate content as;

“Substantial blocks of content within or across domains that either completely match other content or are appreciably similar. Mostly, this is not deceptive in origin.”

It is a dominant myth concerning most of the SEO’s that Google will penalise for the copied content. Duplicate content doesn’t result in a penalty even though there exists such a concept.

But, it may affect the search engine rankings negatively and will affect the SEO performance. Search engines get confused when similar content are spotted and sometimes results in low ranking for both websites.

There are several contents that are not included in the category of duplicate content, for example, translated content.

Translated content: Google never considers translated content as duplicate and it wouldn’t affect the performance of your site. Content carries differences when it comes to different languages and is not treated as copied content. The same contents in English and Hindi are quite distinct and are not duplicate content.

Why does duplicate content matter?

Duplicate contents affect both search engines and site owners in a negative manner.

1. Search engines:

When the same content is present in several sites or in different pages within the same website leads to confusion among search engines. It will result in refusing both the contents.

It is difficult to realise the original content in these cases. So that the original content will also be affected by the duplicate content. Search engines become unaware of which should be enclosed in the indices as they contain similar content.

Different links are given to the duplicate content. So, search engines can’t find which is the original content and should be provided as the search result.

Search engines always try to keep up with distinct information. When there is a similarity in the contents, it will be unable to rank it properly. It will be difficult to decide which version should be presented as the search result and which should be given a higher ranking.

2. For site owners:

Duplicate content also affects site owners in a wide range. The freshness and quality of the content are important factors used to analyse the site at the time of ranking. The similarity in the content obviously leads to a lower ranking.

As already discussed, search engines will find it difficult to differentiate the original content from the duplicate content. Thus, it will be tempting to avoid both. It will never show similar content as search results because it will affect the experience and the content will get hired. It reduces the visibility of the content and absolutely results in getting down the ranking.

How do duplicate content issues happen?

Duplicate content can’t be considered as content copied by a person from other pages. Most of the problems related to duplicate content are technical.

Variations in URL:

If one page or the same content presents as various pages with multiple URLs, it can be considered duplicate content. Google will only approve one URL and the rest get unnoticed. It can happen because of several problems, probably with parameters. The order of parameters in the URL can cause duplicate content.

For example,

An e-commerce site page selling sarees should have the same URL, but the changes in the same product will cause multiple URLs.



These are two URLs created instead of https://cotton/saree.com

The colour changes will be visible on the above site but instead, two URLs are generated. This results in the creation of more and more URLs for each version of the product.

It is similar in the case of session IDs. Sessions are the details of usage of the website by the visitor and session IDs are provided to keep the sessions when the user changes one page to another. When different session IDs reserved in the URL are attached to each user visiting the same website, duplicate content is created.

Another cause for duplicate content is printer-friendly pages. Some articles are assisted with printer-friendly versions so as to provide printing facilities to the user of the website. There will also be a PDF version and thus duplicate content is devised.

WWW vs. non- WWW pages or HTTP vs. HTTPS:

If two versions are present with and without “www” in a website and both contain the same content, duplicate content is created.

Let us look into an example:





One of the first two options is correct if you are using HTTPS and using www or not, it belongs to you. It should be the canonical domain. If the server is not configured in the correct manner, it leads to the formation of duplicate content.

Scraped or copied content:

It is an easy way to copy content from other websites, especially of low rating, to complete the work easier. It happens when the entire page or a portion of the page is copied from other sites or multiple pages are copied and pasted to one page.

Another smart and crooked way of duplicating a page from a site is copying the page and rewriting certain words using the “find and replace” option. The duplicated text is difficult to differentiate from the original text and the high domain website among the two gets credit in such cases. Sentences or parts of the article which are slightly different from the original text also belong to the category of duplicate content or copied content.

For example;

Simple ways to earn

Easy ways to earn

One sentence is the duplicate content of the other even if it does not look the same. One word is replaced with the other so as to avoid exact copying and thus it will get difficult to find the original source. The contents from websites with low ratings are mostly copied to the high ranking websites and further the latter get worth it. These are often done to boost the rankings and reduce the efforts. Search engines always try to maintain different information and the similarity in the pages affects the satisfaction of the user.

Solutions for duplicate content

Avoid multiple URLs for the same content:

The main problem with duplicate content is having different URLs for the same content and should be checked properly. It is not the problem with the person uploading it, but can happen technically. Checking the URLs in a proper manner avoids duplication & shows well-written content. The consistency of the URL should be accurate and thus the issue can be solved.

Proper checking of Indexed pages:

Another practice for avoiding duplicate content is to examine the indexed pages. The number of pages of the site indexed in Google can be checked either by searching the site:xyz.com (XYZ, the name of the website) or using Google Search Console.

Thus the number of pages created by the individual can be found. It can also be found whether duplicate pages are generated from the original page. If some pages in the website should be avoided from ranking, “noindex” meta robots tags should be added to the page. Thus the pages will never be analysed for ranking and the original page alone will get indexed.

Check out redirection of the site:

It is a technical issue causing duplicate content that a copy of the website is created by the improper direction of the site. This issue happens when www and non-www or HTTP and HTTPS versions of the site are not redirected in an accurate manner.





All these links point to the same site but search engines treat it as different and duplicate. It is a general problem caused by the inappropriate redirection of the site.

Using 301 redirects:

The simple way to solve the issue regarding duplicate content is to use 301 redirects and this seems to be very important in the SEO strategy. It directs the visitors to the relevant and accurate page instead of old and insignificant pages so that it ensures a better search experience. Sometimes a page may need to be removed as it is irrelevant or less significant.

In such cases, when a page should be removed, 301 redirect is useful as it will help to get a better significant version of the same content. When duplicate content problems are prevented, the multiple pages on the same content can be clustered into one page or the pages will be redirected to the original page. Thus the dilemma with the ranking gets solved as the original page is being ranked.

Let’s look at an example; http://keyword.123.com is a duplicate site and using 301 redirects, the original site can be made visible as the search result and the other will get cleaned up.

Using Canonical Tags:

It is an effective solution to the issues of duplicate content that canonical tags assure the significance of the original page rather than multiple pages. Canonical tags help search engines to realize which is the major URL and the others get negotiated. Thus the major URL will be present in the search results. The links to the duplicate page are considered as the link to the original page by using this. The canonical link can be seen in the <head> section of the site and can enter the preferred URL in the “href” part of the canonical link.

Avoid scraped content:

The non-technical problem with duplicate content is copying the content from other pages or websites. Usually, the content is being copied from the sites of low ranking to the high domain sites so that the latter will be counted as original and get a better ranking. It will actually affect the site containing original content and affects the ranking.

Avoiding scraping from other sites is the best way to stop non-technical duplicate content issues. It is easy to copy content from other pages but not ethical. Presenting the efforts of others will get no worth of it. Duplicate content not only means copying the exact content from another page or website but also having similar content with tiny changes.

Using unique content is the most proper method to get rid of duplicate content. Google honors fresh and unique content and will give less importance to copied content.


There are several factors that affect the SEO performance in which duplicate content is important. Duplicate content is a major hazard regarding SEO and should be vigorously treated as it may cause website rankings. It is a problem that causes anxiety among site owners.

Nobody should worry about troubles caused by duplicate content as there are several methods to solve the issue. Google will never penalize for the copied content even a major misinterpretation regarding this exists.

Sometimes, it is not applicable to avoid creating different URLs but can be redirected. Most of the dilemma connecting copied content is caused by technical problems but is treated as a duplicate. Almost all sites face this issue and properly correcting them is the means to do so.

The issues related to duplicate content can be solved by redirecting them, deleting them, using canonical tags, and furthermore. It can be checked out and the proper solution can make SEO strategies better. SEO strategies get better without duplicate content and it improves the ranking of the website.

Author Bio

Shiv Gupta started his journey in the digital marketing world at the age of 17. He grabbed deep knowledge of the industry and earned multiple awards. Incrementors was founded by him to provide the best marketing solution to struggling businesses with a goal to help them achieve higher sales and conversions. Incrementors don’t give fluff or “high-level” advice. They just give an insanely actionable plan that works.

Add comment

Leave a Reply

By Sidharth

Recent Posts