Why Duplicate Content Is Bad for Your Website!

Contributor: Tony Ciccone

Attention Website Owners

Question mark in a text bubble on a blue background.

Answer the following questions about your website:

  1. Have you noticed a drop in your website's Google search ranking?
  2. Did your pages vanish from the Google search results page?

Did you answer "yes" to any of these two questions?

It could be the result of duplicate content!

Why Is Having Duplicate Content an Issue for SEO?

Duplicate URLs from Google Search Consoles.

Recently, my website faced a duplicate content issue. Nearly all of my pages got deindexed due to missing canonicals.

I discovered that these pages had the same content with the same URL but with varying letter cases, and no canonicals were present. I verified all the duplicate URLs in Screaming Frog after reviewing the Google Search Console report.

As a result, Google identified them as duplicates and excluded them from the search results.

What does duplicate without user-select canonical mean?

Duplicate without user-select canonical mean on Google Search Console report.

What does duplicate without user-select canonical mean?

Per Google: “This page is a duplicate of another page, although it doesn't indicate a preferred canonical page. Google has chosen the other page as the canonical for this page, and so will not serve this page in Search.”

To check your site, go into Google Search Console and look for “Duplicate without user-selected canonical” in the Pages report.

Does Google Penalize Duplicate Content?

Monopoly go to jail referencing a Google penality.

Rumor has it they do not penalize you for duplicate content. We penalize ourselves by design.

However, it hurts when Google does not declare a canonical and removes the page from the search results. It is a devastating experience to have dominated my niche for years only to face this gut-wrenching setback.

How Do You Fix Duplicate Content?

User added canonical screenshot from Google Search Console report.

To avoid this issue, ensure all your website pages have a user-declared canonical for the preferred page, especially if you have similar content on different pages.

Don't let duplicate content hurt your website's ranking or visibility in search engine results!

Reach out to us for questions on fixing or optimizing your website for SEO