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Healthcare Healthcare

Original Is Always Better: How Copied Content Can Harm Your Site

A man looking at Eastman Dental's website

The competition to attract new patients to their websites and waiting rooms is as fierce as ever, and in the world of digital marketing, best practices can change by the day. Recently, we’ve seen more and more websites that are adding duplicated content to their pages. Keeping your site up-to-date and supplying your audience with valuable information are key elements in an effective strategy, but copying pages from another site is not the way to do it.

Building a website that contains duplicated content from another site can result in a poor user experience and can impact where your website ranks when consumers search for your services. While Google won't necessarily always penalize you for having copied content on your site, it makes it difficult to rank highly because you’re competing with all of the other sites that contain the same copy. This can lead to arbitrary ranking decisions and make it difficult for you to overtake your competitors.

Guidance from Google & SEO Specialists

Sticking to original content isn’t just our recommendation — it echoes that of leading SEO experts, as well as Google themselves. Here's a snippet from a Moz article:

"While not technically a penalty, duplicate content can still sometimes impact search engine rankings. When there are multiple pieces of, as Google calls it, "appreciably similar" content in more than one location on the Internet, it can be difficult for search engines to decide which version is more relevant to a given search query."

And here’s what Google has to say about posting duplicated content:

"In some cases, content is deliberately duplicated across domains in an attempt to manipulate search engine rankings or win more traffic. Deceptive practices like this can result in a poor user experience, when a visitor sees substantially the same content repeated within a set of search results."

In the rare cases in which Google perceives that duplicate content may be shown with intent to manipulate your rankings and deceive your users, make appropriate adjustments in the indexing and ranking of the sites involved. As a result, the ranking of the site may suffer, or the site might be removed entirely from the Google index, in which case it will no longer appear in search results.”

Checking Your Site for Copied Content

CopyScape is one tool we recommend to determine whether or not your site is utilizing potentially copied content. The tool will search the internet and return a report that shows you examples of other sites using the same copy as yours.

What Should I Do if I Find Copied Content on My Site?

  • Remove all copied pages from your site
  • Identify and rewrite the 10 most important pages, at a minimum.
  • Write new content with basic search engine optimization guidelines in mind, such as mentioning the name of the city your business is in and using high-traffic terms in H1 and H2 headers.
  • After restructuring the site and removing pages with duplicate content, you should ensure that those pages have a permanent 301 redirect in place. This way, if a search engine bot crawls a page and sees the 301 redirect, it will reach the intended, newly written page.
  • If you manage multiple websites with similar subject matter, resist the urge to reuse or remodel blocks of content across them. Maintaining original content across your site will ensure your SEO efforts are optimized and give visitors the most accurate information possible.

For more guidance on creating original content, or tips on how you can make the most of your medical practice’s marketing budget, don’t hesitate to reach out.