Duplicate content can damage your website’s ability to rank in the SERP (search engine results page). Why? Imagine trying to find an answer to a question and the same answer is in four different books in your library, but you’re unsure which book explained the answer the best. In addition, you could only pick one book. You ultimately would guess and the odds would prove you wouldn’t pick the book that would give you the optimal result.

The search engines essentially do the same thing, but can you blame them? Google has ~50 billion indexed pages. Much like the example, there is simply no time to “diddle daddle.” The following graph is based on a client’s website, during which time Launch worked with the website provider to identify and correct the duplicate content. The results speak for themselves on how duplicate content can affect a website.

Duplicate Content Corrected

Example based on real client, graphed weekly in 2011

There hasn’t been a website that I have run across that doesn’t have some form of duplicate content. The most common are as follows:

1) No redirects or canonicals set up between www, non-www or index.php (asp, etc.)
2) Archived pages– such as author archives, category, date-based or tagged archives. Most commonly found in CMS’s (WordPress, Joomla, etc.)
3) URL Parameter issues– much like page-id having the same content as a clean URL

Now there is another one. Oh yes, and guess what…you did it to yourself. With the Google +1 button, you are essentially communicating to the search engines that you have a page that is important. So, if your duplicate content page is blocked by the robots.txt file it WILL be brought back to life by the button that you put on the website. What the h-e-double hockey sticks am I talking about? (click here to read what the robots.txt file does). If you are with me so far, then check out out the snippet below, which was posted by a Google employee in response to a question regarding this same topic:


So, what do you do about duplicate content and how do you identify it in the first place? That’s really another post. In the meantime, don’t universally add the Google +1 button on every-page if your site is built on a CMS. Use it but don’t abuse it.

Meet Joe Chura

Joe began his career on the Ford assembly line at age 20, reading his college textbooks seconds at a time in between building cars. Over the next decade Joe gained experience at many different levels in the automotive industry, including running Ford’s regional sales team and a stint as General Manager of two dealerships, where he increased internet sales by 300%. Combining his passion for computer programming and innovation, Joe co-founded Launch Digital Marketing (LDM) and Dealer Inspire (DI) to bring new retail technology and better online experiences to both car dealers and shoppers.