Both internal and external duplicate content can often go undiagnosed for long periods of time, especially if you’re working with pre-existing content that you haven’t written yourself. Below we’ll go through a quick guide on how to diagnose duplicate content, and we’ll also outline some handy tools and pointers to help you reduce it where/when possible.
Copying content from external sites can be easily done, but doesn’t help your organic visibility efforts. If you have personally added content to your website yourself, then you’ll know if you’ve written it, or whether it has been copied and pasted from elsewhere.
If you did write the content yourself, then it’s worth checking that no one has duplicated it externally. If you only have a small website, then you can easily search Google for snippets of your content to see what is returned. Whilst this isn’t the most comprehensive method, as you can miss content if only snippets have been copied, it will give you a good understanding of not only if your content has been duplicated, but where and how often.
If you search Google for your content, ideally your website should be at the top of the results. If you’re the only result that’s great, no one has copied your content. If other websites are listed below you, then it’s worth checking them, as it’s likely this content has been copied from your website word for word, or it has a close similarity to your own.
If you’re running a larger website with over 50 pages, then checking for duplicate content can be a huge job. Luckily, there are programs out there to help you.
Copyscape checks for external content duplication, and multiple sources of duplication can be easily identified here, as well as single sources.
If you’re concerned about internal content duplication, e.g. product pages using the same content on your website, then Siteliner will check for internal duplication.
If you do discover that your content has been copied, then it’s worth either contact the offending website, perhaps citing Google’s best practice, or flag the issue to Google, who will then take action against the website that has copied your content, usually penalising them or removing the offending page from the SERPs.
If you’ve copied content from other websites knowingly or unknowingly, then you’re going to need to re write it, all of it.
If you have a small website then it’s a fairly simple task, but if you’re a larger ecommerce website, this can seem daunting. Don’t worry, there’s light at the end of the tunnel.
If you’re not comfortable with writing, then you can always outsource it to a content writing service. There’s plenty of reputable companies such as PureContent, although this could potentially prove costly if a lot of content is required.
That said, if your organic visibility has been affected by a Google algorithm such as Panda, which looks primarily at content, then you could soon reap great rewards in extra organic rankings and traffic.