Content is the central element of any good SEO strategy. And therefore, Google harshly punishes any website that has got some form of duplicate content. If you copy and paste content onto your site, you should be afraid. You will get a harsh penalty from Google if it detects any kind of duplicate content on your site's pages.
But not all kinds of duplicate content are treated equally by Google. The search engine knows that duplicate content, can sometimes just be coincidental. Perhaps, you may unknowingly have some kind of web content on your site that is similar to another one. And so it is important to know that there are various ways of dealing potential duplicate content on your site.
Google treats various kinds of duplicate content differently. And you will need to be aware of how exactly Google determines just how to treat the particular kinds of duplicate content that it commonly finds.
Websites that have got exact duplicate content will receive a harsher penalty.
Website content that just has near identical content will not be so harshly penalized. In a lot of cases though, these websites will not even rank on the same page.
Multiple domains that have near identical content can also be a cause of concern for search engines too.
In a lot of these duplicate content cases, it is not outright plagiarism that is the cause. Poor website architecture, CMS problems or even poor optimization can also lead to the problem of duplicate content as well.
What happens when you have duplicate content?
There are actually consequences if Google detects that your content is some in some way a duplicate of another.
The link equity of your site can be wasted if it has got duplication content. Google does not rank pages with duplicated content, which just means that your link authority will go to waste.
Your website's pages will also not be indexed by Google's bot if it detects any kind of duplicate content in it.
Your SERP listings can also be wrong if your website is detected to have any duplicate content by Google. If Google sees that one page that you want to rank higher has got duplicate content, then the rank of that specific page may be lowered.
So there are a ton of negative consequences to having duplicate content on your site. Is there any way for you to deal with duplicate content and lessen its effects?
Tips for dealing with duplicate content
There are a number of different ways that you can prevent Google from flagging your site as having duplicate content.
One method that you could use is to block the indexer with robots.txt. This will prevent duplicate pages from being crawled by Google. And thus it will also prevent your content from being flagged as duplicate.
Redirecting with 301 links is also useful. You can redirect old links from pages with duplicated content to the newer and improved correct URL, which no longer has the duplicate content. This also ensures that Google’s search bots will find the correct content on your site.