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How Duplicate Content Affects SEO Ranking

Updated: Jan 3

There are many ways how duplicate content affects your SEO ranking, and not one of them is good. It is not good when duplicate content is flagged. Duplicate content is found by search engine crawlers indexing your pages looking for duplicate content on your site. When they encounter duplicate content, how duplicate content affects your SEO ranking is mostly negative. Too much of a good thing is too much.


Search Engine Crawlers are what rank your page in a web search. You want to please Google’s search engine crawlers at all costs, because Google has the lions’ share of the searching market. How duplicate content affects your SEO ranking is determined by these crawlers, and they do not look at your page the same way a human would. If you are duplicating content on purpose to fill your site, it will be flagged, and you will encounter negative effects.

Negative Effects:

In addition, when a search engine crawler finds duplicate content, for any reason, it can dock your page and make your SEO ranking suffer. Here are quick solutions to many of the common problems we find when dealing with search engine crawlers and duplicate content. It is worth remedying immediately because of how duplicate content affects your SEO ranking.

Easy Solutions:

How to identify and remedy duplicate content issues on your website:

  1. Avoid tagging items in blog posts with the same exact tag. Your blog posts can all be alike, but you need them to appear different and unique. Just like people. You must name them something different each time. Give the copy an identifier like a fingerprint.

  2. If you do have duplicate copy, you should link them together and avoid copying your own work for additional pages. Your pages should be unique. Even updated blog posts need to be identified. A word here about plagiarism: it is a huge deficit to copy another webpage, words, or content. It’s illegal and you could be subject to fines when caught. If you copy another’s words and use it for school purposes, you can be expelled from school and if you’re paying tuition, they can keep your money as the fine.

  3. Avoid pages in your store that have duplicate setups. Of course, this is wonderful for people shopping the page, and it makes loading a snap, still search engine crawlers are not able to identify each page as unique. Every time your pages load, they appear to the search engine crawlers to be identical. You can remedy this with a quick and easy change in the numbering system.

  4. Multiple iterations of your home page will also affect your ranking score for Google. The multiple iterations of your home page only affects Google and the search engine crawlers they send out. Duck Duck Go, Bing, and other search engines will not be affected. You simply remedy these multiple iterations with a redirect code.

  5. If you are publishing in multiple languages, you will have duplicate content. Language does not become a unique identity and mark each page as unique. Your pages will be marked as duplicates. There is an easy solution; you must include a hreflang when you are publishing in multiple languages. Yoast gives great advice on this here.

  6. Zero duplicate content is acceptable. Even if you are a franchised business owner, you do not want the same content on your site as your head site (without a rel=”canonical”). This link element alerts the bots to reference the original site of the copy, not your site. It lets you tell the search engines that the content is the same, but not the harmful kind of duplicate content on your site. News stations with the same content use this method all the time to avoid the negative effects of duplicate copy. And that is how duplicate content affects your SEO ranking negatively.

On a final note: 

Search engine crawlers look for duplicate copy. How duplicate content affects your SEO ranking is usually negative. You will want to be sure that if they find duplicate copy somewhere on your site that you are taking care of it immediately with a canonical, 301, or redirect. It is necessary to add rel=“canonical” tags to the URLs within the parameters. Using this tells the search engine that your preferred original URL should rank higher rather than the other variations of the URL.

In conclusion

You must eliminate duplicate copy, or your SEO ranking will suffer and you may even incur a penalty from Google. You will get a penalty if Google searches your site and they believe you are using duplicate content to make your site look better. It won’t stay good for long once Google recognizes that the content is the same and scores it as thin content in the algorithm. Read more about thin content and the Google algorithm here.

How duplicate content affects your SEO ranking is hugely negative. Search engine crawlers will find any duplicate content on your website and can penalize you for it. There are many ways that duplicate content could present itself to your site, and there are just as many remedies to take care of it. Be on the lookout for duplicate articles yourself, do not make the same pages in your storefront, and write copious amounts of original unique content to stand out.

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