No. No…don’t do that.
“Duplicate content” is a dirty word in the digital space. Despite its negative connotation, plenty of well-meaning business owners ask this question all the time. And on the surface, it’s understandable! They don’t have time to write thousands of words of new content every time they add a section, a blog post, or a new page to their site. Isn’t it easier just to copy-and-paste? Especially if they’re just repeating content from another section of their own site!?
Well, yeah, it’s easier. But it’s a terrible idea.
First, let’s talk nuance. There’s a difference between “Duplicate Content” and “Copied Content,” at least in Google’s eyes. Duplicate Content is just that: Content that’s been duplicated – either advertently or inadvertently – with no obvious malicious intent. Copied Content, on the contrary, is basically the internet equivalent of plagiarizing.
Copied content will get you penalized, full stop. If Google crawls your site and notices you stole a bunch of paragraphs (or, worse, whole pages) from a highly-ranking competitor’s website, they will penalize your site. Copied content will get you in trouble, it’s just a matter of when.
The Deal with Duplicate Content
But duplicate content…that’s not so bad, right? Well, here’s the deal. Google isn’t going to bring down the hammer if they notice you lazily kept the same content on each page of your website. But what they will do is try to provide web users with the best experience possible. That doesn’t include serving them six pages of identical content in their search results.
Duplicate content forces Google to choose which version they want to show internet searchers. This dilutes the SEO quality of every page that shares the same content! That’s bad. At best, your page won’t receive the visibility it otherwise would. At worst, you’re creating a muddled, unpleasant user experience.
The long and short of it? Duplicate content probably won’t get you kicked off the internet, but it’s doing you NO GOOD whatsoever. Every element of your website should be helping your business or you’re missing opportunities.
Avoiding Duplicate Content
The easiest way to avoid duplicate content is to ensure every word on your website is original. No copied product descriptions from page to page and no blog posts that started out as page content. You wouldn’t write a book and make Chapter 7 just twenty-pages of the same thing over and over and over. Don’t do it to your website.
Hire a digital marketing firm with a copywriter in-house. That way you can rest assured your site is outfitted with professional, original content and that new content is being added to it all the time. New content important for SEO, too.
Where on earth will you find a marketing firm like that, you ask?