SEO Expert: John Vargo July 19, 2023

Why is Duplicate Content Bad for SEO?

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Introduction to Duplicate Content and Its Impact on SEO

As a website owner or content creator, you may be familiar with the term “duplicate content.” Duplicate content refers to content that appears on the internet in more than one location, whether it’s on your own website or another site. While it may seem harmless, duplicate content can have a significant negative impact on your website’s search engine optimization (SEO) and ultimately harm your online presence. In this blog post, we’ll explore what duplicate content is, why it’s bad for SEO, and actionable tips for avoiding it.

The Negative Impact of Duplicate Content on SEO

Duplicate content is bad for SEO because it can harm a website’s search engine rankings. Search engines like Google prioritize unique and valuable content, and having duplicate content can result in a lower ranking in search engine results pages (SERPs), reduced online visibility, and can lead to a loss of traffic and revenue as users may choose to visit the other site instead.

Common Causes of Duplicate Content

There are several common causes of duplicate content, including copied text, printer-friendly pages, and multiple URLs for the same content. Copied text occurs when content is copied from one page to another, either within your own site or from another site. Printer-friendly pages are often created by websites to provide users with an easy-to-print version of a page, but these pages can create duplicate content issues. Multiple URLs for the same content can occur when a website uses different URLs to access the same content, such as using both HTTP and HTTPS versions of a page.

See our FAQ: What is Duplicate Content and Why is it Important?

Practical Advice for Avoiding Duplicate Content

To avoid duplicate content issues, there are several practical tips you can follow. Firstly, use canonical tags to indicate the preferred version of a page to search engines. Canonical tags tell search engines which version of a page to index and rank, and can help prevent duplicate content issues caused by similar pages on your website. Secondly, create unique meta descriptions for each page on your website. Meta descriptions are short descriptions of a page’s content that appear in search engine results, and unique descriptions can help prevent duplicate content issues. Thirdly, avoid content syndication, which is the practice of republishing content from other websites on your own site. While content syndication can be a useful way to provide value to your audience, it can also create duplicate content issues.

Best Practices for Content Creation and Management

In addition to the tips above, there are several best practices for content creation and management that can help prevent duplicate content issues. Firstly, create high-quality, original content that provides value to your audience. By creating unique content, you can avoid duplicate content issues and attract readers and search engines alike. Secondly, regularly audit your website for duplicate content. This can be done using tools like Google Search Console, which can help you identify duplicate content issues and take action to resolve them. Finally, use tools like Copyscape to check for content scraping, which is the practice of copying content from your website without your permission or attribution.

See our FAQ: What is On-Page SEO and What are the Key Components?


Duplicate content can harm your website’s search engine rankings and online presence. By following the tips and best practices outlined in this blog post, you can take steps to ensure that your website remains competitive and valuable to your audience. Remember to use canonical tags, create unique meta descriptions, avoid content syndication, create high-quality, original content, regularly audit your website for duplicate content, and use tools like Copyscape to check for content scraping. By implementing these tips and best practices, you can attract readers and search engines alike and build a successful online presence.


Moz. “Duplicate Content: Why does it happen and how to fix issues.” ↩

SEMrush. “Duplicate Content: SEO Best Practices to Avoid it.” ↩

Neil Patel. “Duplicate Content: 5 Myths and 5 Facts About How It Impacts SEO.” ↩

Backlinko. “Duplicate Content and SEO: The Complete Guide.” ↩

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