Who’s Afraid of Big Bad Duplicate Content?
I don’ know about you, but when I first began to try my hand at blogging and content marketing my knowledge consisted of three things:
1. Google is King
2. Backlinks are Gold
3. Duplicate Content is the Devil
When it comes right down to it I must admit that, modest though my start was, I wasn’t completely off base. Google really is King (or Queen) and backlinks, though reportedly becoming less and less important are still valuable (maybe they would be more aptly described as silver at the time of writing). But, duplicate content never was and never will be the Devil. So, what was all the fuss about?
Death by Duplicate Content
As far back as 2005, there has been hysteria over the possibility of receiving a penalty from Google as a result of duplicate content. Now, don’t get me wrong, you don’t want to go willy-nilly copying content from a site just because you like or write a page once and then throw up twelve sites with it copied word for word. But, is it possible to suffer death by duplicate content? According to one author, this is exactly what happens when you have duplicate content on your site. He goes on to say that:
saying that duplicate content isn’t bad, but admitting that Google only wants to deliver one page with that content in SERPs is a penalty. It may not be a penalty that risks you being removed from search indexes, but what’s the difference if you’re site isn’t being found?
Now it’s your choice to believe the author but just because your site isn’t at PR 1 doesn’t mean that it’s being penalized, it just means that there are thousands of other sites with fresher, newer and more attractive content then yours. So, should you spend your precious time and energy making sure your product descriptions are completely unique and updating every line of text to avoid dupe content? Well, you can but given that there are only 24 hours in a day you may wan to reconsider.
Focus on What Matters
My advice is simple and it’s this: don’t worry about so-called duplicate content already on your site but do worry about providing useful resources, information and product to your readers or consumers. Get creative and, dare I say, ask people in your niche what they want. In the meantime, relax about the duped content, you’ve got bigger fish to fry.