If you’re like me, you may have seen “expert” articles popping up decrying the long-held assumption that reposting duplicate content hurts search engine rankings.
While it’s true that Google’s algorithm doesn’t hold duplicate content too high in its list of practices that negatively impact search engine rankings, duplicate content does hurt your SEO efforts.
Think about the purpose of search engine optimization: To get clicks. If you publish a blog post on your website, and then post the exact same content on a friend’s website, even if you both “rank” on search engines, half of your clicks are going to your friend’s website.
Here’s an example. Cody writes a blog post called, “How to get an athletic scholarship” and publishes it on CheshireAcademy.org and Boardingschools.com. Marcy searches in Google “how to get an athletic scholarship.”
Assuming both articles show up, which one is Marcy going to click on? If Cody cares more about cheshireacademy.org showing up, but boardingschools.com has better authority according to Google, Cody’s blog post will show up higher in Google results (and thus get more clicks) on the Boarding Schools website.
Now, let’s say you have two web pages on your website with the same content. Page 1 has a call to action, but page 2 is leftover from an old website design. If both are showing up in Google’s search results, anyone who clicks on page 2 won’t be prompted to complete a call to action, thus costing you leads.
Producing content isn’t the end goal. The end goal is gaining usable leads for your business. While on a superficial level duplicate content doesn’t “hurt” SEO, it does hurt your long-term goal of gaining leads from search engine optimization.
That being said, perhaps you don’t care about generating leads, or maybe you own both websites the content is posted on. In either of these cases, you can feel free to post duplicate content with the understanding that Google will not hold the lack of original content against either site.