What Is Duplicate Content?
We often get questions from attorneys asking us what duplicate content is and how it can effect their law firm websites. Google defines duplicate content as such:
Duplicate content generally refers to substantive blocks of content within or across domains that either completely match other content or are appreciably similar.
So basically, duplicate content is putting the same article or website page up at several different locations on the internet. It could be on different websites or at different url’s of the same website. There are many reasonable and innocent reasons that this happens. However, some people want to use duplicate content as a way of adding a lot of content to a website quickly in order to improve the site’s visibility, rankings, and traffic from Google. I want to explain why this doesn’t work.
How Duplicate Content Effects Your Law Firm SEO
In the rare cases in which Google perceives that duplicate content may be shown with intent to manipulate our rankings and deceive our users, we’ll also make appropriate adjustments in the indexing and ranking of the sites involved. As a result, the ranking of the site may suffer, or the site might be removed entirely from the Google index, in which case it will no longer appear in search results.
Often times with Google, you need to understand their incentive to reach a logical conclusion about your law firm SEO methods. In the case of duplicate content, Google does not want to return a list of search results to their users that contain links all pointing the same article in different spots on the web. If the article is relevant, they want to show it once and then provide additional sources of information as well. If duplicate copies of the content are found, they might be indexed but will not appear in the results. Google will in essence “choose” one site hosting the duplicate content as the one it displays in the search results.
The End Result
If you are attempting to manipulate Google by putting the exact same content on several of your law firm websites hoping it will drive traffic to each site, don’t waste your time. The most likely result is that Google will choose whatever site it sees as the most authoritative, serve up the content from that site, and duplicate content from the other sites will be invisible. Your best bet is to come up with a content strategy that involves creating unique content for each site you want to promote.
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