What is duplicate content and whats the impact on your business?

We’re looking at what is duplicate content today, what the negative impact of having duplicate content is, and where this penalisation came from.

What we will cover

So you’ve built a stunning, all-singing, all-dancing e-commerce website, loaded your inventory with products, filled in the main content pages and your shopping cart and checkout is all linked up and ready for action.

So what’s next?

You could have a coffee and congratulate yourself.

OK, do that. Now, what next?

You could get started on a content marketing strategy? Done correctly, this is a great way to build long-term success into your business by creating a loyal stream of visitors.

Content can include a mixture of blog posts, videos, podcasts, newsletters and if you can make it 100% original, so much the better.

Done wrong, then enter google penalisation and a drop down the search results, so what is duplicate content?

Black hat SEO and duplicate content

Being at the top of google has value, and for as long as anything makes money there’s going to be people out there trying to sell a service to get your business there.

Be wary of anyone promising short-term results, or one-off payments and partner with someone who cares about your business for the journey.

An example tactic that relates to duplicate content is an old trick to capture a wider net of search terms, for example, our homepage may be optimised for “web design devon”, a strategy could be to duplicate that page and swap the word devon for totnes, Exeter, Plymouth, etc… You get the idea.

So google released an update to capture pages with a certain percentage of the same words in the same order, there’s still plenty of organisations who have repurposed the words very slightly to avoid this, I’m sure a google update will catch up with them soon.

Our approach is to understand your content, match it to a user’s search and optimise your website so it has the best chance of ranking. Not cheap our way to short-term gains.

3 Reasons Why Original Content is Better

There are a number of reasons why original content beats recycling material already found elsewhere. Here are three of the biggies:


Whether you are selling shoes, mobile phone batteries or fluffy toys, you presumably have some in-depth knowledge about your products (if not then you know what this week’s homework will be!)

Sharing this valuable information will soon turn you into an authority figure in your niche. Here’s a tip: go to Yahoo Answers and type in your product type. For example, when we typed in shoes we found that users were asking about decent running shoes for men, how to clean suede shoes and advice on whether Minden Pointe shoes were any good. Straight away you have some ideas for creating a blog post, podcast or even a video to answer these questions.

It should be clear to see how soon you could turn your e-commerce site into an online knowledge base.


When you create your own content you can do it in your unique style and ensure it is consistent with your brand. This helps to deepen the connection between you, your brand and your customers which is one of the keys to securing long-term customer loyalty.


Combining original content creation with a regular posting schedule is a powerful strategy for maintaining the bond between you and your customers and leads. Reading your monthly newsletter, listening to your weekly podcast and viewing your ‘video of the day’ will gradually become a routine that customers will build into their day. Note the use of a variety of different media to spice things up and appeal to a wider audience.

There is a Third (and Fourth) Way

Posting original content, created and produced by you and your in-house team is always the best strategy if you can afford the resources. However, if this is a struggle there is a third – and a fourth way.

These can be thought of as compromises between providing original content and saving time:

Curated Content

Rather than writing all of your own content, spend some time researching quality information on your niche. Identify 8-12 resources and copy the web address. Then write some original content to introduce each of the resources in turn.

On top of saving some time you might also secure some ‘link love’ from the grateful third parties you linked to.

User-Generated Content

Even curated content does take some time to get together. For the truly temporally challenged you could hand all of the responsibility for content generation to your users.

By offering guest blog spots or asking for video footage you can supply original content with minimal effort. The trade-off is that it can be tough to be brand-consistent with so many voices involved.

Can Outsourcing Content Creation Work?

Whilst it is possible to pay someone else to produce original content for you, it isn’t something you should approach lightly. Here are some of the questions you need to be asking:

Will they just duplicate content that’s out there?

Can this person/company understand my business?

Will I have a sole content producer or a team?

Will they be able to produce content to my schedule?

How much time will I need to spend editing content?

Can I trust them to provide original content (as the publisher you are responsible for copyright infringement)?

If you do go ahead with outsourcing content creation, try to avoid the really cheap content mills and companies who use ‘article spinners’ and similar ‘black hat’ techniques to dress up thin, recycled content as original material.

Hopefully this has pointed you in the right direction with what is duplicate content, and you will soon be enjoying the benefits of a more loyal and engaged customer base.

Knowledge is power and content is king – use both to rule over an e-commerce empire!

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