How Duplicate Content Drags Down Your Rankings

Timothy Carter
February 16, 2022

In the sphere of search engine optimization (SEO), duplicate content looms as a notorious adversary that has the potential to cause grave harm to your website's rankings. 

Whenever search engines come across numerous pages with indistinguishable or remarkably analogous content, it may prove to be a Herculean task for them to ascertain which page deserves to be ranked higher in the search results. 

The result? Your website could be afflicted with reduced visibility, diminished traffic, and an attenuated ability to allure and retain potential customers. 

In this dissertation, we shall delve into what duplicate content is, how it impacts your search engine rankings, and what you can do to obviate it from pulling down your website's visibility.

What is duplicate content?

What is duplicate content?

Duplicate content, in essence, refers to any content that appears in multiple places on the internet. This could encompass textual matter, images, videos, or any other type of content that is replicated across several web pages. Duplicate content can manifest on the same website or across distinct domains. Duplicate content can be categorized into two fundamental types: internal and external. 

Internal duplicate content refers to pages within the same website that contain identical or very similar content. External duplicate content, on the flip side, occurs when the same content is published on different websites. 

For instance, if you possess two pages on your website with indistinguishable content, that would be classified as internal duplicate content. If you publish an article on your blog and then republish it on another website, that would be categorized as external duplicate content.

How does duplicate content impact your search engine rankings?

How does duplicate content impact your search engine rankings?

Duplicate content can exert a momentous impact on your website's search engine rankings. When search engines stumble upon several pages with identical or very similar content, they may encounter considerable difficulty in determining which page merits being ranked higher in the search results. 

This can culminate in a cornucopia of negative consequences for your website, including:

  • Reduced visibility: If your website harbors a plethora of duplicate content, search engines may levy a penalty on your site by truncating its visibility in the search results. Ergo, fewer people will be able to discover your website when they search for pertinent keywords.
  • Lower traffic: With reduced visibility comes lower traffic. If your website is not faring well in the search results, you will receive less traffic from search engines. This can result in fewer leads and conversions for your business.
  • Decreased authority: When search engines perceive a glut of duplicate content on your website, they may construe it as low-quality or spammy. This can lead to a decrement in your website's overall authority and credibility in the eyes of both search engines and users.
  • Negative user experience: Duplicate content can also spawn a negative user experience for your website visitors. If users come across the same content multiple times, they may become exasperated and lose faith in your website.

How to forestall duplicate content

How to forestall duplicate content

Preventing duplicate content is crucial to preserving a robust online presence and circumventing the negative consequences we've discussed. Here are some tips for forestalling duplicate content on your website:

  • Create unparalleled content: The most facile way to preclude duplicate content is to create distinctive, high-quality content that is germane and valuable to your target audience. This will not only help you sidestep duplicate content issues but will also elevate your website's overall quality and credibility.
  • Use canonical tags: Canonical tags are HTML tags that apprise search engines of which page is the preferred version of a specific piece of content. This is particularly salutary when you have multiple pages with analogous content but want to ensure that one page is the primary version that is indexed and ranked.
  • Consolidate analogous pages: If you have multiple pages on your website with comparable content, contemplate consolidating them into a single, more unique page. This can aid in averting duplicate content issues while streamlining your website's architecture.
  • Set up 301 redirects: If you do need to delete a page or merge it with another page, be sure to set up a 301 redirect to direct users and search engines to the correct page. This can help safeguard any existing search engine rankings and ensure that users can access the content they are seeking.
  • Use meta robots tags: Meta robots tags are HTML tags that inform search engines how to handle a specific page. You can use these tags to instruct search engines not to index or follow particular pages, which can help stave off duplicate content issues.
  • Dodge duplicate content on e-commerce websites: E-commerce websites can be particularly vulnerable to duplicate content issues since they often have multiple pages with analogous product descriptions and other content. To evade duplicate content issues, make sure each product page has distinctive, top-quality content, and refrain from using the same descriptions across multiple products.
  • Monitor your website: Regularly monitor your website for duplicate content issues using tools like Google Search Console. This will enable you to detect and tackle any issues before they wreak havoc on your search engine rankings.


Duplicate content can be a pernicious adversary to your website's search engine rankings, visibility, and overall online presence. To avoid these deleterious consequences, it's indispensable to create unique, top-quality content, use canonical tags, consolidate analogous pages, set up 301 redirects, use meta robots tags, dodge duplicate content on e-commerce websites, and monitor your website for duplicate content issues. 

By adhering to these measures, you can help ensure that your website is well-optimized for search engines, providing a positive user experience, and drawing in potential customers to your business. Remember, high-quality content is the crux of a flourishing online presence, and expending the time and effort to craft unparalleled, valuable content will aid in guaranteeing that your website is well-regarded by search engines and users alike.


Timothy Carter

Chief Revenue Officer

Timothy Carter is a digital marketing industry veteran and the Chief Revenue Officer at Marketer. With an illustrious career spanning over two decades in the dynamic realms of SEO and digital marketing, Tim is a driving force behind Marketer's revenue strategies. With a flair for the written word, Tim has graced the pages of renowned publications such as Forbes, Entrepreneur, Marketing Land, Search Engine Journal, and ReadWrite, among others. His insightful contributions to the digital marketing landscape have earned him a reputation as a trusted authority in the field. Beyond his professional pursuits, Tim finds solace in the simple pleasures of life, whether it's mastering the art of disc golf, pounding the pavement on his morning run, or basking in the sun-kissed shores of Hawaii with his beloved wife and family.