Having duplicate or near-duplicate content live on the site is an issue for SEO because it dilutes the ranking potential a single, unique page can have.
- Near-duplicate content can compete on search engine results for one and the same keywords (keyword cannibalization).
- If Google recognizes the pages as identical or interchangeable, Google may choose to omit one of the two pages. In doing so, Google may omit the wrong page, such as picking a product variant or a PPC landing page that uses identical content to another page in your main website’s conversion path.
- There is a possibility that both pages with duplicate content could gain backlinks, splitting authority between them.
- Duplicate content getting crawled and/or indexed is effectively wasting crawl budget that should be reserved for your unique content, instead.
If you have duplicate or near-duplicate content on-site, the less-important page for SEO should be set to noindex in order to prevent Google from trying to rank it. Alternatively, you can use canonical tags to signal to Google which of the two pages is the one that should receive prioritization in rankings. Above all, though, you should consider all the ways in which you could produce unique, high-quality content that will not compete with other internal pages.
Learn why duplicate content usually adds little to no SEO value.
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