Duplicate content is defined as any large body of text or source code on a web page that completely matches – or is very similar to – another web page. Duplicated content can be of two types: internal, when the duplication occurs within the same website in what in marketing jargon is called ‘page cannibalization’; external, when content or text that is the same or too similar to that of a third party site is imported into your website.

Because duplicate content is dangerous

Duplicate content has a negative impact on organic SERP rankings. But not only that, given that they also damage the reputation of a brand, both in the eyes of customers and in those of direct competitors.

The goal of search engines like Google is to find what the user is looking for. To offer you a good range of possibilities that allow you to do it right, Google needs to know the different contents that appear on the Internet and identify which represents added value for the user.

For this reason, Google discards duplicate content and keeps the pages it deems original and useful for users.

When we talk about duplicate content, we are not only referring to content that one website has copied from another, but we are also talking about content that we have on different pages of the same website. It is very common for subtle content issues to occur in an online store, resulting from pagination or product filters.

What are the most common causes that generate duplicate content

The most frequent example of duplicate content is internal and occurs in online stores. This type of website has different product categories, the structure and design of which is always the same (only the products displayed and the links associated with them change). But the basis is the same. And the same goes for product sheets. Not to mention the filters.

Same structure, on many pages, which the bot has difficulty identifying. Bots have difficulty distinguishing them and giving them more or less relevance. This is why it is important to create original texts for e-commerce pages, in order to obtain good performance in organic searches.

But, in addition to texts, duplicate content may occur due to technical problems that we are not aware of:

Domain: Your canonical domain would be the one configured as https://www.example.com. However, your page may be accessible using other non-canonical domain versions (such as https://www.example.com, https://example.com, or https://example.com). To fix this, you should set 301 redirects in options that are non-canonical.

Filters: although the filters are of great help to those who visit the page, they are not so much for us. The problem with filters is that, when there are multiple options, they can create infinite combinations of URLs, all with the same content. To avoid duplicate content, canonical URLs should be used for each page without filtering.

Localization: Duplicate content issues can occur if you use the same content to target different regions that speak the same language, or if it is the same content, but translated. To fix it, you would need to create hreflang links that inform you that the content is targeting different areas.

How to deal with and avoid duplicate content problems

Once the problem has been identified, measures must be taken to resolve it. I recommend you do the following:

1. Create original content for each of the pages on your website that you are interested in appearing in the rankings. LingoYou, in addition to professional translation and localization of your business into a new market, also provides a persuasive copywriting service for creating fresh content that captures the attention of your audience.

2. If you need to keep some pages with very similar content, use canonicalization, to tell Google which ones are good.

3. Don’t let bots crawl pages you aren’t interested in, use the Noindex meta tag.

4. Delete the pages you are not interested in and redirect to the ones that do. So that bots don’t waste their crawl budget on pages that aren’t of interest to you, the fastest way is to delete them. But don’t forget to perform the corresponding redirect so that bots don’t encounter a 404 error the next time they try to crawl those URLs.

5. Use the tool to remove URLs from search results and speed up the process for Google to stop indexing and reviewing those pages.

Adapt the message to the communication channel and the target market

As we have seen previously, one of the causes that most frequently leads to content duplication occurs during the localization activity of a website. To translate content correctly, we must first adapt the message to the communication channel otherwise we could miss sales opportunities. To give an example, it is not the same to translate an article for a company’s corporate blog, where the user is more inclined to stop and read in detail, than to write an advert to publish on social media, whose message must be original and persuasive to capture their attention and must be accompanied by emoticons, calls to action, hashtags, etc. This is why it is so important to use persuasive writing or copywriting techniques.

On the other hand, you need to pay attention to the dialect variant that is spoken in the country or market to which a website, campaign, commercial, etc. is directed. We cannot ignore the fact that our users may share the same language but reside in different countries and speak different language variants.

Finally, we must decide what the most appropriate level of formality is depending on the case: in the case of Italy, we must decide when to treat our potential customers with “tu” or “voi”, depending on the context and the audience of destination.

Marketing Team LingoYou

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