SEO glossary: Duplicate content



In a nutshell: What is duplicate content?

If a domain contains identical content on one or more pages, this is called duplicate content (DC). To avoid ranking loss in the worst case, website owners should avoid DC at all costs.


What is duplicate content?

Whenever certain content appears twice on several pages, search engines classify it as duplicate content. This can be identical duplicate texts as well as complete individual pages.


In addition, a distinction is made between internal and external duplicate content. If we are talking about internal DC, the duplicate content is located on one domain. In the case of external DC, the content is distributed over several domains.


If search engines detect duplicate content, it is quite difficult for them to choose the right "original" content. Consequently, such duplicate content is filtered out and it may result in a loss in ranking. For this reason, duplicate content should be avoided at all costs.


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In which situations does duplicate content occur?


There are several situations where duplicate content appears. Below are examples to illustrate DC:


  • URLs have their own print version with the same content


  • Online stores offer their customers an additional PDF with product information. In this, the details and descriptions are identical to the product page.


  • Product pages with different product variants such as colors, shapes or sizes


  • URLs can be reached with different upper and lower case letters. Example: and


  • If a website exists under several http variants such as https://, http://, http://www. or https://www. and there is no redirection to a specific address, there is a risk of DC


  • If there is pagination in the header or footer, this can also generate duplicate content.


  • A CONTENT MANAGEMENT SYSTEM or blog automatically creates tag pages (also known as tag clouds). On these subpages, content is created that may be duplicated.


How is duplicate content avoidable?

If you want to avoid duplicate content, there are different approaches. Probably the most basic one is: Don't let it get to the point where DC is created.


For this reason, it is helpful to always have an overview of the project and to keep an eye on everything. If duplicate content still occurs, it makes sense to set up a 301 redirect, for example. It leads to the URL with the original content.


But can the duplicate content obviously not be avoided because, for example, different product variants represent added value for the user? In this case a Canonical link makes sense. It shows the search engine where the original content is located and links to it at the same time. Thus, there is also no downgrading.



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Conclusion on the topic of duplicate content

If content such as text appears twice and three times on a domain, it does not provide the user with any added value. And that's exactly how search engines like Google see it. For this reason, it is important to prevent duplicate content. Otherwise, it can happen that DC leads to a downgrading of the domain and it loses rankings.


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