Why Duplicate Content Matters
The easy way to create a new page in the good old days of yor was to simply copy and paste duplicate content (in other words steal) the work of someone else. It was fast, easy and effective as well as being a low cost way to create a page full of “quality” information.
All this changed in 2011 when Google introduced their ‘Panda’ algorithm, which carries out several content filtering activities in order to weed out good sites from the bad, the wheat from the chaff….. in other words high quality content from recycled duplicated nonsense.
Google needed to do this because their results were full of spurious, low quality results, featuring low quality ‘spun’ web content, copied versions of other peoples content and general low value text.
Duplicating Existing Text
It has been very easy for search engines to identify original text for many years. Sites such as www.copyscape.com allow you to easily see if your content exists elsewhere & the major search engines use the same simple technology to identify the ‘oldest’ version of a text, as well as other similar, or identical versions.
In a world where search engines reward high quality unique content, the existence of content that has already been produced elsewhere is a big indicator that your site has scraped other peoples page content, and as far as your site is concerned, is a significant negative indicator that will harm your rankings.
We have seen instances where a site has created high value content, which over time, other less reputable site owners have reproduced on their sites. In itself, that is no issue for the originator of the content, BUT…. if the original creator should have a redesign and perhaps change the page names that their high quality content is published on, all of a sudden, in the eyes of the search engines, it becomes a new page,….. which has copied the copiers…. devaluing your content even though it was yours in the first place!!
This is a really unfair attribute of the duplicate content algorithm, but one that is hard to police any other way.
The moral of the story is that duplicate content checks should be carried out at regular intervals so that at very least you are aware of anyone copying your information onto their website.
Dealing With Duplicate Content Issues
What should you do if you discover someone has copied your content?
There are two approaches that you can take, the first is to contact them and ask them to remove it, change it etc. but in our opinion, in the current day, anyone who is ripping off web copy from other sites probably won’t care that much, or be inclined to help you.
At that point, you can pursue a legal route (it is theft of your intellectual property after all), but again, in our opinion, it can soon become expensive, and very often, due to the international freedoms that currently exist online, a web designer in Mumbai who’s built a churn & burn spam site using your ripped copy is probably not going to comply with your wishes.
The fastest and most effective way to keep your site content unique is to rewrite your affected pages, making them unique to you once more.
While you may well feel aggrieved and angry that you are forced to have to do this, this is the quickest & simplest way to keep your website functioning well.