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Hackernoon logoWhat is Duplicate Content According To Search Engines and What To Do About It by@gregorio220913

What is Duplicate Content According To Search Engines and What To Do About It

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@gregorio220913Caio Nogueira

SEO and WordPress specialist at

Is duplicate content a problem? Can websites talk about the same things in many different pages? How is it possible to solve it when someone else has copied your original content?

Understand how duplicate content is seen by Google, what can be done about it and the best practices for 2020 below.

How does Google define duplicate content?

As stated in Google’s Support Page about Duplicate Content, something is usually considered a duplicate content when:

There is a big block of content that is the same in different pages of the same domain;

There is a big block of content that is the same across domains.

Some duplicate content are malicious because company B is deliberately copying company A in order to get more traffic. However, there are cases when it’s an innocent practice, but that has potential to harm the domain’s rankings in search engines.

One example of a non-malicious practice is having both “www” and “non-www” versions of the website being ranked. Also, URL versions with HTTP or HTTPS are also considered duplicate content. Because of that, Google understands there are two different pages with the exact same content online.

In order to avoid all these situations, it’s important to pay attention to the best practices for 2020 as explained in here.

What does Search Engines do when duplicate content is detected?

Even though Google has already declared that duplicate content isn’t technically a reason for punishments, it is a highly discouraged practice.

After all, if two, three or even more websites provide the exact same information about a specific topic, the user experience will be damaged. And those users looking for different sources of reliable information will get frustrated.

At the same time, it’s going to be difficult for search engines to find the best content. And if duplicate content is detected, what happens is that one of the pages will be considered original, while the other one a copy. 

And after that, the original domain will receive all the traffic and credibility for that. That’s why duplicate content can be dangerous and is not a good practice in terms of SEO and organic results on search engines.

How to prevent and deal with duplicate content?

1. Verify the Duplicate Content

In order to do that, there are some possibilities:

Make a Google search for the keyword that is being ranked;

Use Google Search Console to check duplicate content;

Use plagiarism tools and prevent problems in the future.

2. Be agile to solve the problems

If by checking the duplicate content there are errors and problems, it’s important to solve each one of them. This way, the penalties won’t affect the domain that much. To solve problems with pages, it’s necessary that the websites development team or responsible tell Google which one is the correct page to be considered.

3. 301 redirect

Use the 301 redirect mechanism, so that when a user access page Y, they are redirected to page X, that is the original content one.

If two different pages with similar content are combined to a single page, the chances of increasing the final relevance are big. This action will impact the correct page, and there won’t be competition anymore.

4. Rel=“canonical” attribute

Being a less effort needed strategy, using rel=“canonical” at the HTML head of a web page will result in a clear organization of the pages. All links, content metrics and ranking will be given to the desired URL.

5. Noindex tags

The noindex tags must be added to the HTML head as well, in the pages that should be excluded from search engine results. By doing this, the links are still found, however the pages are not included in search engine indexes.

6. Be consistent and organized with link building

Being a strong SEO strategy, link building is very important for search engines to find pages and rank them. However, if done incorrectly, this strategy can lead to duplicate content problems.

Therefore, when linking other pages of the same website, it’s necessary to pay attention to the details: use the links with www, https, and friendly URLs.

What should be avoided?

In order to prevent issues regarding duplicate content, there are some good practices that can be done. The first is really not to copy any content on purpose. Using references to right a post blog is accepted, however simply doing spam is not recommended.

As it was already explained in here, websites with these practices may suffer penalties and not be well ranked on Google. You can recover from penalties, but It’s not a risk companies should have, so the best is create original content.

Another bad practice is to simply don’t use the tools available in Google platforms, Wordpress and others. The best practices listed in this text are good examples that websites must follow. And with that, problems with duplicate content will be avoided.


After reading the best practices for 2020 regarding duplicate content, it’s possible to understand that many cases aren’t deliberate copies. Because of that, the knowledge about this issue is very important.

Any company or web developer must apply all these best practices in order to fight the duplicate content online. After all, a website owner doesn’t want to have this kind of challenge in the way of organic results or even the brand’s relevance online.

Therefore, these best practices must be followed, and all copies must be avoided in order to guarantee a better performance.

(Disclaimer: The author works at Upsites Digital)


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