Keep it Original: What You Need To Know About Duplicate Content
If by any chance you are in the business of digital marketing, you must know that in this business, you have to create content all the time. However, creating content is not as easy as one might think: You always have to try and find something new to say that you haven’t already said before. But creating content is not just about not repeating yourself: When dealing in the field of creating content, there is one ominous threat that is always lurking in the background: duplicate content.
Duplicate content is any content (texts, images, videos, and more) that is being published on the web after it was already posted before. The so-called classic case of Duplicate Content is when someone sees a text somewhere on the web, copies it, and pastes it on their own website or another digital asset. The conception that most people have in this manner is that when Google detects duplicate content, it “punishes” the page or website that copied the content (It is also worth noting that duplicate content can also constitute plagiarism and result in a lawsuit regarding copyright infringement. If you have any concerns like that, consult with a legal counsel).
Since duplicate content is such a confusing concept but an important one, we feel it is time to clarify it in a simple fashion.
What is considered duplicate content, and what is not?
When the same content is republished in a different format (for instance, a video and a text), it is not considered a duplicate. Furthermore, when content repeats along the same website, it does not constitute duplicate content. For instance, if you have a footer or header that repeats itself throughout the website, or a text that repeats itself in many products in an online store, this won’t damage our site rank.
Another misconception is that if someone takes our content and publishes it on another website, this won’t damage us since Google can know which site published it first.
What Google doesn’t like is content scraping: Content that is taken (“scraped”) from another website. If the content is taken from another website, google will know and punish it. What is more important to know is that it doesn’t help if you change the content “just a little bit”; for instance, it doesn’t help to change texts by rephrasing headlines or using synonyms or images by changing them slightly to try and make it look original. If your content has no added value, google will view it as spam.
What about stock images?
One of the biggest questions in this manner regarding stock images is: since they repeat countless times throughout the internet, are they considered duplicate content? An experiment conducted in that manner showed that Google might not punish websites for using them, but it rewards the use of original images.
Not just search engines
An often miss conception regarding duplicate content is that it’s relevant only to realms of SEO. However, basically, the entire internet works that way: smart algorithms analyze everything we do and give us grades for it (depressing, right?).
This, of course, is relevant for using Instagram: If we maintain a personal Instagram blog where we upload content regarding our friends and family, then we are in the clear. However, if we maintain an Instagram business account, we want to post content relevant to our tradecraft, and finding something original to say is not that easy. Furthermore, social media managers often use stock images or Canva templates to make their posts. Everybody uses the same tools to create their Instagram posts, and the algorithm understands this is not original material. Instagram might not “punish” us for spamming, but it will give us less reach since we don’t add anything new.
And that is the most crucial lesson in this article: We post content to our professional Instagram profiles, and we have to try to use as few stock photos as possible and more original images as possible. If it could be original reels, even better.