It never fails to amaze white-hat SEOs out there when websites copy content from other, highly ranked sites, end up getting penalized by Google and then sound the alarm to any consultant they can to rescue their website from the desolation of Google banishment.

The problem with duplicate content is simple to explain. Google looks for authenticity and authority online in its rankings and absolutely discourages the path to page 1 of search engine results through paved by plagiarism. There’s nothing original about plagiarism. Scraping websites for great copy might get you great copy, but you should understand that Google algorithms catalog pages each and every day and when copy first published on one site ends up later on another site, Google knows.

Another problem with duplicate content Google algorithms see is content copied from one page to another on a website. There are a number of practical reasons you might see this online. For instance, A/B testing is a great way to understand what design and content work best for conversion. You might want to test out a portion of your landing page’s copy but retain the majority of the rest. That copy you retained is duplicated copy. Additionally, a website might publish landing pages for different locations but still use a lot of the same copy.

When your site must copy content, it’s probably best to block search engines with a no-index setting on the pages you don’t want to be dinged for duplicate copy.

Remember that unique and original content is the hallmark of a great, user-friendly website. Presenting content that speaks uniquely to your brand, your customers, their needs and your locale makes your brand unique and brings great value to your website visitors.

Meeting your website visitors’ needs is the prime goal for many optimization efforts. After all, happy site visitors stay onsite longer, return more often and even refer your site to others looking for solutions in the same space.

Google algorithms see all of the indicators that this generates: (1) inbound traffic; (2) time spent onsite; (3) number of return visits; and (4) click-throughs to pages linked internally signaling related content. And for each of these, your ranking benefits because Google identifies your site authoritative.

So never shirk your responsibility to your website visitors by copying content. Provide original content that addresses your core constituency and their needs on a consistent basis and they will reward you with the kind of activity on your website that gets you ahead of your competitors.

If you would like to talk with a search engine optimization consultant and learn more about how Proctor Digital can help grow your business, call us at 774.664.5819. We’d love to help!

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