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To say there’s a lot of written content on the internet is perhaps the biggest understatement since someone in China proposed building a ‘decent-sized’ wall. Surely amongst all that crazy mess of content you can get away with just rehashing what people have already written, or even just copying it verbatim?
That is unfortunately not the case for anyone looking for a quick and easy way of populating their site with content. The good news though is that publishing your own original content isn’t as hard as you might think and is more than worth the investment.
Duplicate content and your audience
If you’ve got duplicate content on your site which has been pulled from someone else’s site or has just been hastily copied from the manufacturer’s product descriptions, you’re really doing your own website a disservice. In order to be memorable and to build an online following, your website needs to have its own personality and ideas.
If people realise that your content has been copied from another site then they may turn away, as this is generally seen as a sign of an unprofessional and perhaps even untrustworthy company.
Even if it’s less obvious, content which is not specific to your site will generally do a poor job of promoting it, as it will not take into account your own brand story or unique selling propositions.
The search engine’s stance on duplicate content
In the eyes of Google, Bing and all other search engines, duplicate content is to be avoided at all costs. Their users don’t want to see search results populated by copies of the same content or poor rehashes, and so the search engines must take action to keep such content out of the results pages.
Pages that are found to contain duplicate content are generally not indexed and will be effectively invisible as far as organic search is concerned.
Of course, the search engines recognise that some content is duplicated from elsewhere, often by necessity. Matt Cutts once said, “It’s important to realise that if you look at content on the web, something like 25 or 30 percent of all of the web’s content is duplicate content… people will quote a paragraph of a blog and then link to the blog, that sort of thing.”
But if the search engines believe that your use of duplicate content is a deliberate attempt to get ahead they may administer additional penalties.
If you have two separate sites with the same content – for example, a mobile site and a desktop site – there are ways to prevent duplicated content becoming an issue.
In this case, you would use link canonicalization to specify your ‘preferred’ page. By introducing canonical links to your web pages, you are telling the search engines which version of the page is the original.
Replacing copied content with original copywriting
For the reasons given above, if you have any duplicate content on your site you should aim to remove it as quickly as possible. Of course, you can’t just leave your site blank: you need to simultaneously replace it with something.
Rather than being a problem, this is, in fact, a great opportunity for you to reinvigorate your site and align it with your goals and how you want your brand to be seen.
You should make it your aim to create a body of content which is wholly original and which leverages what is special about your business and its products or services.
For smaller businesses with only a few staff and limited resources, this can be a particularly difficult challenge. If you don’t have access to in-house content production skills then a copywriting agency or web copywriter can help you to create original content.
As well as creating as much content as you need, they can work with you to ensure that it is distinct to your brand and true to your ideals.
Identifying duplicate content on your site is a task that you must not be put off for a later date. The sooner you find it and replace it with original copywriting, the sooner you’ll be getting back into Google’s good books.
Though the difference may not be immediately apparent, within a month or two of replacing your tired old duplicate content with fresh, original copywriting tailored to your needs, you should see your website swiftly climbing the search rankings and driving many additional conversions.
About the Author:
Chris Glithero works for Big Star Copywriting based in Devon, in the UK, as a Copywriter, creating content for some of the world’s biggest brands. He blogs frequently about copywriting, search engine optimization, content marketing and various other topics pertaining to the ever-evolving internet marketing world. Go visit www.bigstarcopywriting.com to see what he’s been up to.
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