Whether your moving business is new to the world of digital marketing and website optimization or a veteran with years of experience, everyone has heard of the term “duplicate content”. And it is a term that a lot of marketers fear. But they also transfer that fear onto business owners. That invites the question of what the reasons for websites to avoid duplicate content are. And in this article, Movers Development is looking to answer that question in a very simple yet insightful manner. Keep reading to learn how duplicating content can influence the overall performance of your website.

Illustration of a person creating a duplicate file.
Duplicate content can get websites stuck.

Starting with the basics – what is duplicate content?

  • Self-explanatory as the term is, duplicate content is content that appears on multiple places online. Each of these places is a unique website address (URL). Therefore, if identical content appears on more than one web page, you have yourself a case of duplicate content.

Why does duplicate content matter?

Whether or not it is a bad thing depends on the circumstances. While duplicate content will rarely (if ever) cause a penalty from Google, it can eradicate the chances of your website or pages ranking on search results. The reasoning is simple – when you have multiple URLs with the same content, it’s hard for audiences but more importantly Google bots to determine which page is more relevant.

While there was a time when website owners could copy/paste content and create an infinite amount of pages in record time to rank faster, Google resolved that issue with the introduction of the Penguin update. With this update, Google’s algorithm started ignoring duplicate content pages in terms of ranking. Even worse, it reduced the value of the original page.

  • For example, you can still come across moving company websites that have dozens and even hundreds of location pages with duplicate content. Before the Penguin update, those pages would have ranked for each of those locations, simply by switching the keyword. However, since the Penguin update, duplicate content carries very little to no value. Instead, it requires companies to come up with unique content.

What are the reasons for websites to avoid duplicate content?

We’ve already mentioned the most obvious reason – it affects your moving company SEO efforts. No, Google won’t penalize you for using duplicate content to buffer your website. On the other hand, it won’t reward you either. Instead, it will simply end up ignoring you.

Loss of Traffic

Person browsing on his phone with a laptop and tablet in front of him.
Nobody is interested in reading the same content over and over.

Increasing traffic on your website translates to higher chances of generating moving leads. And more moving leads means more conversion opportunities. However, none of this is possible if you are unable to rank on SERPs and stand out from the competition. And this is something that duplicate content can cause. Let’s take a look at two simple scenarios here:

#1: Multiple URLs leading to the same page

Consumers today are looking for the simplest and fastest answer to their inquiries. The more options you offer them, the more of their time you take up and you start losing their attention. A lot of websites out there have multiple URLs leading to the same page, which gives Google the opportunity to serve up a URL that is less appealing than other ones. For example:

  • https://movingtest.com/long-distance-moving/
  • https://movingtest.com/services/long-distance-moving/
  • https://movingtest.com/long-distance-moving?utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=referral_deal

The first URL is simple and to the point. Just from seeing it, you can tell what to expect from it. The second one has a parent page, which makes it longer and thus indicates that there are other services that the company provides, which is also acceptable. The third URL is unappealing as it is too long and provides little to no value to the observer. So, it all comes down to making it unique and transparent.

#2: Multiple pages with identical content

Having identical content for each location that your company services won’t earn you a penalty from Google. However, since search engines value “pages with distinct information“, you’ll automatically be diluting the value of each of those pages with the same information. On the other hand, when you have unique content with information specific to each location, search engines are able to differentiate between them, awarding each page a higher value.

Loss of Credibility

Reputation
A company needs to demonstrate authority through the content it creates.

Following up on that last argument, search engines aren’t the only ones that are looking for specific information on each page. At the end of the day, site visitors are also more inclined to do business with companies that can demonstrate authority on a subject. If someone sees five pages with the exact content, they won’t look at it the same way they would five pages that all have new information for them. When a company repeats itself, it losses credibility in the long run. By constantly creating new content or updating old content with fresh information, a brand shows that genuine interest in its market and audiences. And that is what separates strong brands from your average Joe companies.

Ruined SEO Rankings

Pages that are accessible through different URLs can each receive external backlinks based on which the online users come across. Now, the general rule of backlink building is that you want to have as many links from other websites leading to your page, increasing its value in the process. However, when you have multiple URLs, each backlink splits the link equity among them, reducing the chances of them ranking as good. To avoid such costly mistakes from happening, consider consulting with an SEO professional.

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