How Duplicate Web Content Hurts Your Business

How Duplicate Web Content Hurts Your Business

How Duplicate Web Content Hurts Your BusinessYou’ve heard about business owners borrowing content from other similar sites… it happens. We often get questions about duplicate web content. Most of the time, it is coming from a harmless place of business owners believing that they are not hurting anyone if they credit the source. Unfortunately, that’s not exactly the case.

“Borrowing” content from another website may seem harmless, but duplicate web content does more damage than you might realize. Here are three ways that using someone else’s content is hurting your site as well as your business. 

You are hurting your SEO efforts.

Google is pretty darn omniscient… it’s scary.  Believe it or not, major search engines are now able to recognize duplicated content.  If the content on your site exists somewhere else on the web, you aren’t getting the SEO (search engine optimization) juice that you could be getting. By posting duplicate content, you are creating a  few SEO problems:

  • Search engines won’t rank new content you post if it recognizes that the content has been duplicated from somewhere else.
  • Major search engines actually have the ability to detect the original owner of the content – usually the person who has had the content posted the longest. Search engines will then rank the site that owned the original content, and drop off any sites that have the content duplicated. The result: Your duplicate web content doesn’t even rank in search engine results.
  • If the original author sees that you are using their content, the author can reach out to major search engines to ban your content altogether.

In short, by duplicating content from another site on your own, you are hurting your search engine rankings. If you see an article you like and want to share it on your site, the best practice is to post a link (that opens in a new window) on your website.

You could be breaking copyright law.

Hey, we aren’t lawyers, but you should know that when you are posting duplicate web content, you could be breaking copyright law. Some people believe that when they copy content to their site with a source cited, they are providing “free advertising.” Generally, this is not something that the cited source is likely to appreciate… they may be able to claim copyright infringement. If you’d like to learn more about how copying content from someone else’s website can be copyright infringement, take the time to talk to a legal representative. Most lawyers will probably recommend that you avoid copying content to keep yourself out of trouble.

You may be hurting your business’s image.

Even if you only had the best of intentions, duplicating content from other sites can make you look bad. You run the risk of looking like you aren’t running an honest business, even if you only have the best of intentions. You want people to think you take the time to carefully grow your business’s image and that you are a honest and fair competitor in your industry.

Trying to avoid duplicate web content?

If you are thinking about posting duplicate web content, don’t! We know that posting relevant content regularly is hard, but there are plenty of easy solutions. We are happy to help you get ideas about how to post plenty of content without having to duplicate someone else’s!

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Carolyn Byard

Carolyn is Iconic's art director and office dog handler. She strives to build unicorns, and she is completely obsessed with the fusion of beautiful design with strong strategy for unforgettable user interfaces.