How To Prevent Duplicate Web Content On Your Website

Do you own a website? If you do, are you sure that you have unique content? How do you even know if other webmasters are copying from your site? Well, one indication could be a penalty from Google. If this is the case, you will usually receive a notification in your Webmaster Tools account. On the other hand, you can use online plagiarism tools to check for copied articles or short text. But do you have any idea what exactly duplicate Web content is?

Let us have a look at the following insights for a quick overview.

What is Duplicate Web Content & how it Affects?

By definition (according to many authority online resources), it refers to contentthatappearsonmorethanonewebpage. The copy may either consist of substantial sections only or completely match the original.

Duplicate Web content

More specifically, it may consist of the following:

  • Pages with the same meta description, title, and other elements
  • A Web page accessible from several links

Then again, you don’t call all similar content duplication. For instance, you don’t call it copying if the page details are translated into various languages or has the same navigation or header labels. Though on the other hand if you are using any automated way to offer translated version of your site, it would be against Google Webmaster guidelines, as mentioned by JuhnMu in Google Forum.

Given that you have several copies of one webpage and other sites have too, what could be the impact?

  • One, you may be forcing Google to show the users wrong information after going through the trouble of filtering insubstantial content.
  • Second, your site may rank in the bottom SERPs or may be penalised.
  • Third, your target users may look for other websites because you cannot provide them with relevant data.
  • Finally, you are only wasting your time and effort given the three effects above.


If you don’t want all of these to happen, make sure your content is unique. If there are instances of duplication (by you or other webmasters), you can use these solutions.

Take Legal action against copied content

Maybe, you can file a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) violation, eespecially if you have obtained property rights for the content. You can also ask Google to disavow the duplicate.

Encourage social share

After the third strategy, you can place widgets or buttons to make the webpages unique, especially since the icons point to your networking accounts. Additionally, these allow the users to suggest your site to their friends or followers. The major benefit of this would be faster indexing of your original content and if scrapper is copying your article, they will be outranked by Social signals and indexing.

Create Original content

Do you feel the need to copy from sources? You can do this if you are writing articles with difficult topics. However, you have to make sure that you don’t copy the words verbatim.

Now, if you are generating product pages, come up with your own images and descriptions rather than getting ideas from other e-commerce sites that are offering the same merchandise. Most importantly, you must never use an article spinner because it will only make the information less sensible.

Use canonical Tags

One easy way to avoid Duplicate web content issue on your site is by using canonicalization tags, this strategy requires coding expertise. If you are already adept at it, you can go over this page on Google Webmaster Tools to learn further. Alternatively, you can let a trained coder perform this task for you. If you are using WordPress, you can easily achieve it by using SEO plugins.

Final Words:

As long as you follow these ideas, you won’t have a problem with duplicate Web content. In return, you won’t get a penalty from Google and other search engines. At the same time, you can please your target audience with unique and useful data.

So, what do you think? Are these strategies easy to carry out? Do you have other tips to share with the other readers?

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Article By
Emma Tomlinson is the Head of Retail at Smart Traffic SEO marketing company, which provides technical and consultancy services to both SMEs (small to medium-sized enterprises) and big businesses.


COMMENTs ( 11 )

  1. akhilendra says

    Duplicate Content is big No No but it is getting extremely hard to protect it. I was using a plugin to prevent copy but due to certain issues, i have to uninstall it.

    I am sure these tips will help me.

    • says

      Thanks, Kevin, I’m glad you found my post helpful. As for your question, we can use duplicatechecker, copyscape, and other online plagiarism tools to see if our content is indeed copied by other websites. Once you notice that there are duplicates, you can use the tips I have given to redo the content. ;)

  2. Jayaar says

    The most wanted stuff, eespecially for bloggers!
    Well presented and cogent article. Using canonicalization tags is quite new and difficult to me. And if this is going to be of help, I am sure it is worth considering and learning.
    Thanks for the article.

  3. says

    Good information. I don’t know much about preventing text from being copied, but if your blog is image heavy consider adding a small transparent watermark and a url. You can make it barley visible, but it may help prevent people from stealing your images. Also if people repost the image, someone may see the url and visit your site. Ofcourse watermarks only work for some images, like large photos.

    • says

      Hello. You can change the URL by accessing your WordPress admin and then, go to the specific post that you want to edit. Under the article title, you can see “Permalink”, which has three buttons “Edit”, “View Post”, and “Get Shortlink”. Choose “Edit” to change the permalink and the blog post URL. ;)