What’s Wrong with Duplicate Website Content?

Don’t be tempted to “borrow” content for your website from someone else!

If you are like many business owners, you probably don’t have a lot of time to write content for your website. You are busy serving your clients and finding new customers, so updating your website or getting your new website off the ground might be one of the last things on your list.

To save time, you might be tempted to look at a similar business and borrow some of their website content. You might review a website with great writing and consider reusing a page or two of text, with a few alterations.

But, please don’t do it!

SEO content writer

Search Engines Don’t Like Duplicate Content

Why not? Search engines like Google do not like to present duplicate website content to users. In Google’s words, duplicate content “can result in a poor user experience, when a visitor sees substantially the same content repeated within a set of search results.” And, search engines are getting better and better at determining if content has been borrowed from another website.

Copying content from someone else’s site might make your website come up lower in search engine results. In fact, since the Google algorithm update called Panda (starting in February 2011), having duplicate content on your website can impact your entire site, not just the duplicate pages. Your website pages with duplicate content and your non-duplicate pages may lose ranking power, stop ranking altogether, or even fall out of Google’s index of pages that show up in search engine results.

Besides search engine issues, think of how embarrassing it would be to have another business owner contact you to say that your website content looks just like theirs!

Write Original Content that Truly Reflects Your Business

What might you do instead? Approach your website content the same way you wrote a paper while in high school or college. Start with an outline of your website’s structure. Then, begin filling in the pieces. Think about what sets you apart from other businesses that do what you do. Clearly explain what you do best. Write in the tone of voice and language that speaks to your potential customers.

If you want targeted, professional website writing that can be found by search engines, hire an SEO writer. An SEO writer will write your website copy for human beings and make it friendly to search engines. Your website will be shown by Google to more potential clients if it is optimized with SEO in mind.

Carolyn Kohler is an SEO writer who specializes in helping businesses get found online. Her company is Website Wordsmith and she is located in the San Francisco Bay Area.