Thanks to services like WordPress and Wix, building a website has never been easier. However, building a website with rich and diverse content continues to be a difficult and time-intensive task. It can be tempting to borrow content from another website and rearrange the sentences and change the words around. Some content managers will also reuse their own content to fill up empty space on a web page. Both of these shortcuts are referred to as duplicate content and will ultimately end up hurting your website. Luckily, there are simple fixes to ensure that duplicate content doesn’t hurt your website.

What is Duplicate Content?

To be able to find duplicate content, first we have to understand what it is.   Google describes duplicate content as “blocks of content within or across domains that either completely matches other content or are appreciably similar.” Website duplicate content usually refers to content copied from another webpage or domain, but there are also other types of duplicate content. There are three other types of common and unintentional duplicate content: boilerplate content, inconsistent URL structures, and localized domains. Boilerplate content includes the headers, footers, sidebars, global navigation. This is technically duplicate content, but Google understands that this is a necessary part of any website and does not hand out any penalties for this. Inconsistent URL structures like,, and are recognized as duplicate content on Google, even though they have the same target URL. According to Neil Patel, “search engine bots read these as different URLs”. Finally, sometimes a company may have localized domains for each country that they are in. If the content is the same across all countries, the content will be flagged as duplicate content unless it is translated to the host language. Any actions like these would trigger Google’s duplicate content filter.

The Consequences of Duplicate Content

Opinions vary on what the exact consequences for duplicate content issues are. Neil Patel explains that the duplicate content penalty is a myth, which you can read more about here. However, there are duplicate content consequences that do exist and will affect a searchers ability to find your content. Search engines want to offer a wide variety of results when a web user makes a web query. Consequentially, search engines will perform a duplicate content check and filter out all results, except for what it believes to be the original content. Also, when a website if flagged for duplicate content it will start to lose website crawler resources. This means that less crawlers will crawl your website in the future and affect the SEO for fresh and unique content.

Solutions to Duplicate Content

Now that you can identify duplicate content, how do you take care of it? First and foremost, don’t plagiarize! For all other duplicate content issues, you can use a canonical URL tag to all versions of copied pages to show search engines which page is the original. A canonical tag essentially tells a search engine to treat all copies of a page as if they if they were one. Learn more about canonical URL tags by going to

By performing a regular duplicate content check and using good content practices, you will be able to ensure that duplicate content is not negatively affecting your websites.

Hayden Witt