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How Google Works
In the UK, Google holds around 90% of the search market share. Getting to the top 5 in Google ensures high visitor numbers to your site. Google decides the way it orders sites by sending a program called a Googlebot around the web, which collects data about the pages it visits and follows links from page to page. The Google algorithm assesses the page data based on over 200 factors and then assigns a quality score to each page.
The order in which results appear on search engine results pages is based on this quality score.
Why duplicate content is a problem
A significant factor for a page's quality score is the uniqueness of the content. Google explained the reason they do this in a blog post in 2006.
Our users typically want to see a diverse cross-section of unique content when they do searches. In contrast, they're understandably annoyed when they see substantially the same content within a set of search results.
The Google algorithm can identify unique content; if two pages contain identical content the algorithm will select the page that has been there the longest and exclude the copied page from the index.
Obviously real life situations are not as simple as this and pages are rarely identical copies. However, if the algorithm identifies that pages on your site have a substantial portion of copied text, the quality score assigned to your page will be a lot lower than the quality score assigned the original text source.
Why duplicate content happensTypically, this issue affects ecommerce sites. If you have 5000 products on your website it makes sense to use the manufacturer's description for the product as otherwise you would need to review and write content about 5000 products - a hefty task to say the least. Sadly, this means your site is now full of duplicate content.
The only way to be sure you do not have problems with duplicate content is to write everything yourself. If you do not have resources or staff to write up original content, you can commission a knowledgeable copywriter to write the pages for you.
I-COM offers copywriting services; we can help identify duplication issues on your site and resolve them as part of your ongoing online marketing package. Contact us on 0161 402 3170 for more details or fill in our online contact form and one of our team will call you back.