One of the most frequent challenges that digital marketers come across, as they try to maximize on Search Engine Optimization, is duplicate content.

Duplicate content is content that is very similar or even identical, appearing in a number of locations on the internet. This results in search engines not identifying which web link to show in the search results. This almost always impacts the search engine ranking of a web page in the search results, and also the amount of traffic going to the page.

A lot of work and dedication goes into content creation with search engine optimization to bring the targeted audience to the web page. Imagine, being pushed down the rank of search engine results because that content is too similar to content on another page. This is why duplicate content has become a major problem for digital marketing.

The four most common types of duplicate content are:

  • HTTP and HTTPS Pages

Sites that keep content on both HTTP:// and HTTPS:// versions can also create the problem of duplicate content. When both versions of a page are running, the search engines may not be able to tell them apart which can result in a duplicate content issue. This will undoubtedly affect the SEO ranking result by search engines.

After transferring your site from HTTP:// to HTTPS://, make sure to close all back links to the old page so that no similar content is found on both pages. In this case, you can also use a redirect or a program that can audit the website for you.

  • WWW and Non-WWW Pages

Search engines sometimes get it wrong between pages that have the WWW prefix, and pages that don’t have the WWW pages (non-WWW pages) yet have similar content. For example, www.X.com and X.com may have similar content. To the search engine, they will appear the same and only one will be picked.

Make sure to keep only one page, either the WWW or the non-WWW or use redirection, this will make it easy for search engines to decide which content is the best match for a specific search.

  • Scraped Content

This is when content is copied from another site without permission from the original author; this could be from a blog post, book, e-commerce website, media pages and especially product information pages.

When scraped content is identified across the web, search engines automatically move down the duplicate pages, reducing their search engine optimization ranking which in turn reduces traffic to their pages.

You will want to make sure that your content is fresh every time. It will also be worth your while to check the web for any content that may be like yours through plagiarism. This will avoid scraped content.

  • Syndicated Content

This is content that is published on another page with permission from the original author. As legal as this option sounds, it may still appear as duplicate content to the search engine. Measures must be taken when syndicating any content, to make sure the content doesn’t affect the SEO results.

For effective digital marketing and to make the most of SEO, duplicate content must be avoided at all costs! It is important to take the time to scrutinize and inspect your web pages and the content to look for any cases of duplicate content and, if a block of content is similar to other pages, take note and change them.