Today I’m going to elaborate upon one of the topics that we briefly discussed in Post #12 about Why Is My Website Not Being Found in Google?

Duplicate Content Penalty

Duplicate Content Penalty Is a Real Thing

So just what is a duplicate content penalty and why is it so important. Well, we need to dispel with one myth right away.

Duplicate Content Penalty – Definition

It’s CALLED a penalty, but it’s not necessarily a penalty (most of the time).

Matt Cutts, the head of Google’s Webspam team says: “In the worst non-spammy case, Google may just ignore the duplicate content. I wouldn’t stress about this unless the content that you have duplicated is spammy or keyword stuffing.”

So with that said, (unless it’s spam) it’s not going to knock your website down, but what a lot of people don’t understand is that your website pages that have been duplicated will also not be indexed.

Google does not like to show the same results to a web search twice in the same query. Therefore what they typically do is to index the first case of the content and then knock all of the other cases down.

The reason I bring this up is because I always have clients who come to us wondering why they’re brand new website has never been found on Google. In our previous post, we discuss this as well speaking about the fact that there are website companies out there that will target one specific industry with the exact same website.

Industry Specific Websites

Let’s use auto repair shops (as I do have 2 clients that this happened to). They were approached by a website company offering to build them an optimized website that is tailored around the auto repair industry. They stress to the client that because that’s the only industry that they’re involved in, that they know it better than all other website companies (sound familiar?).

They typically charge a one time setup fee and then will hit you with a monthly charge as well. I’ve seen setup prices from $500 – $1500. Then I’ve seen monthly prices range from $50 – $250. And guess what, when you don’t want to use their services anymore, they take your website down. You don’t even own it.

Original Content is Necessary

Original Content is Necessary

Guess what the worst part is? Most of the content on these sites is exactly the same. The only thing that has been changed is the logo, some of the images, and the contact information for the auto repair shop. And that’s it.

So how do we know if your website is suffering from a duplicate content penalty? Simple… take a snippet of the content from the website (just highlight it and copy a paragraph or so of text). Then go to Google and paste it in the search field. If there are a number of other websites out there that show up with the exact same content (in bold), then you know that you’re dealing with a duplicate content website.

When this happens, not only do you have the EXACT same website as 500 other companies, but no matter how well the optimization is done, you will not show up for the keywords that the site is optimized for (unless you were the first company).

Not Just an Internet Myth

This is not a myth. This has happened to a few of my clients. Two in the auto repair industry, one in the chiropractic industry, one with a landscaping company, a law firm, and a few others.

Not only is it a copy of 500 other websites, but it’s expensive as well. A typical website (not an eCommerce site) should NOT run you $600 or more a year (plus the initial cost of building the site). In fact, WE at Mancini Digital typically build the website for about the same as the initial cost (of most other companies) and then you just pay the hosting fee (usually around $5/month). And you OWN the website. You can do what you want with it at ANY time.

If you have one of these websites that is suffering from a duplicate content penalty or know someone who does (or just have some questions), please give us a call today at: (952) 250-4016. We can help point you in the right direction.

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