The truth about the duplicate content penalty

In this post I’m going to show you the truth about the duplicate content penalty.

I’ll be talking about:

  • What duplicate content is
  • How google views duplicate content issues
  • How duplicate content can occur
  • How to spot duplicate content on your website
  • How to solve duplicate content issues

There’s a lot of content on the internet about avoiding duplicate content and all kinds of implications
that make it seem that as soon as duplicate content occurs on your website it’s the end of the world.

It won’t!

As someone new to building a website all these warnings can come over quite intense and really confusing so I thought I’d make a post explaining what duplicate content is and the real implications of duplicate content.

What is duplicate content?

Paraphrasing it’s some along the line of…

Content or parts of content within or across domains that is exactly the same or really similar. Most of the time it’s not deceptive in origin.

How does google view duplicate content? What are the implications?

In their definition they said something that is very important at the end.
Mostly, this is not deceptive in origin.

So there’s no need to worry. Google won’t see you as sneaky guy that tries to fool google in unethical ways and needs to be severely punished by being banned from google or something like that.

According to some statistics 29% of the content on google is duplicate content and all the people that made that haven’t been banned so you won’t either, but….

Having duplicate content on your website does have some implications. To really explain what happens you need to know how google works.

Google wants to give their users the best experience possible by giving them the highest quality content that’s available. To be able to do that Google uses these “google bots” that go all over the web to find content. When they for example find a new post or page on your website they’ll look, rank and index it accordingly.

When they find duplicate content this ranking process can have some difficulties. If two pages have the exact same content which one should get ranked?

Also, it can mess with the value u get from people linking to your website when they mention it. Googles uses these links as a factor that can raise the ranking of pages on your website. If you have two pages, but only difference for instance is that one starts with http://www. and the other starts with https:// and the links are divided between these pages your ranking could potentially be lower than it could’ve been if all the links went to one page.

Most of the time the duplicate content that provides the least value will not be shown on google.

How does duplicate content occur?

Most of the time we create duplicate content without even knowing it.

  • Multiple variations of the same url
    You could have www. and a non www. version of your website.
    Having a http:// and a https:// version of your website.
  • URL system creates multiple urls
    This can happen when your trying to get some information from your website through using analytic code or tracking clicks. They can create duplicate content with small differences in the url.
  • Different language versions
  • Scraped or copied content
    When you copy content from another website this will also be seen as duplicate content. A lot of ecommerce websites suffer from this, because the copy they specs of the product they’re selling from the manufacturer. If a lot of e-commerce websites are doing the same thing you can see why this can become a problem.

and a few other situations.

How to spot duplicate content on your website

How to check your own duplicate content
The simplest way would be to put your text in the searchbar of your searchengine and see what kind of
results will show up.

How to check if other pages have duplicate content
There are multiple websites that you can use to check if people have used your content, but the one
I found was really handy is…


Just put the url of your website into the searchbar and wait for the results. It will show different graphs with things like the percentage of duplicate content on your website and how your percentages compare to other websites on the internet.

Don’t be fooled though just because you’re on the median of all websites doesn’t have to mean you’re doing well, but it can be an indicator that you might have work some more on your website.

How to solve duplicate content issues

Using 301 redirect

A 301 redirect is a way to send visitors from one page to another. What’s great about this is that it also redirects the “googlebots”. By redirecting from the duplicate page to the original page it will be seen as the page with the most value and won’t be competing with eachother.

The code called Meta Robot Noindex
Metarobots is a piece of code with which you can decide of all the pages that searchengines crawl on which gets indexed on searchengines. It’s possible to prevent searchengines entirely from crawling on your pages, but on they highly advise you not to do that. Google can’t discern normal pages it can’t crawl on from duplicate content and will see it them new pages.

To most people using code isn’t something that comes naturally, fortunately there are plugins you can use to insert that code without having knowledge about code.

Personally I use the all in one seo pack on which I only have to click the Noindex and No follow box under the content when it’s in editing mode.

Managing through Google search console
You can use google console and communicate to google which one what is your preferred domain.
(Example or

Cut down on similar pages
If you’re planning to make a page that’s similar to another you already have on your website it would be a better idea to expand on the old content or merge the new and old content into one.


The Duplicate Content Penalty

The truth is Duplicate Content is something that occurs and often not on purpose, but if the search engines find out that the intent of the duplicate content is to fool it the page will be removed from the search engines just like other duplicate content.

If your website has been judged with this kind of content take a look at the google webmaster guidelines on the google support page. As soon as you made changes and your website isn’t in violation with the guidelines you can submit your website for reconsideration.

If another website is hosting your content without your permission you have permission to go to that websites host and ask them to remove it under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.


If any of the information here was of value to you or you have questions don’t be shy and let me know
in the comments.


until next time!


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