Duplicate Content Definition & Meaning

What Is Duplicate Content?

Duplicate content is a term used in the field of search engine optimization to describe content that appears on more than one web page within the same domain or across multiple domains. The content can be identical (exact duplicates) or very similar to each other.

Duplicate content matters for SEO because it can impact search engine rankings. Although there is no such thing as a duplicate content penalty, having exact duplicates or very similar content on a website or across multiple domains can make it difficult for search engines to decide which version of the content is relevant for a search query.

This means that search engines like Google may rank the wrong content in the search engine results pages (SERPs) for a given query or bounce back and forth by showing each version at different times; essentially diluting the visibility of each other in the SERPs.

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Duplicate content is also an issue for SEO because it spreads the backlink equity among duplicate pages, which reduces the PageRank score for each URL. Google uses a PageRank algorithm to help determine the popularity and trust of a web page when deciding where to rank it in the SERPs.

When there are duplicate pages showing up on a website or across multiple domains, other website owners who are looking for resources to link to from their sites may rank to the wrong URL, which dilutes the PageRank signals for the page you want to rank high in the SERPs.

Visit the SEO Glossary

Go to the SEO Glossary to find more terms and definitions that relate to the field of search engine optimization.