A few years back, there was some debate in the SEO community about how big a problem duplicate content was for individual websites. Duplicate content can be anything from a repetition of keywords and phrases, or exact pages copied word for word. Some search engine optimizers said that content repetition didn’t have a noticeable impact on search engine results rankings, while others argued that it did.
With last year’s Panda update, Google has all but ended that debate – content farms were targeted in this update which include sites that scrap other sites for sheer content. This alone stands to hold up for the argument that duplicate content is indeed a poor signal to send in the SEO world. The impact of these changes has been felt far and wide, and, unfortunately, small businesses seem to have been hit the hardest.
Strategies to Push Forward
It’s easy to lament (and curse) the fact that your old site doesn’t show up on page one any longer, but know that you can make the necessary adjustments to bring it back up to where it was, or higher.
So, how does a business owner avoid the penalty and start to rank again? Focus on:
Being a resource:
Like the movie says, “If you build it, they will come.” If the copy that appears on your site is high in quality and unique, the traffic will follow. You’re an expert in your given industry — use that knowledge to the best of your ability and convey that expertise to your potential customers.
Doing some guest blogging:
The Penguin update placed more emphasis on links from trusted websites back to your site. This is known as a backlink. One of the best ways to build on your number of backlinks is through guest blogging on another site.
Socially sharing your content:
Finishing a blog post doesn’t end when you hit, “Publish” — the real work is just beginning. Send out your posts through your social media channels. Ask for feedback. Ask for shares. You’d be surprised the sort of mileage you can get out of Facebook, Twitter, Google+ etc.
Not stuffing the site with keywords:
Keyword stuffing is so 1998. For example, if I work for an auto repair shop in Raleigh and on the homepage I continue repeat “auto repair Raleigh, NC”, I can expect to be penalized.
If you’ve realized that you have duplicate content on your site, don’t get mad. Maybe you got it from somewhere else; maybe someone took it from you. Regardless, you should keep moving forward. Write new content, share it, link it and be original. Be a moving target and duplicate content will not be able to bring you down.