Duplicate as well as poorly worded content or web copy is a ranking buster on Google.
If you have suddenly noticed your rankings slide you might just have a duplicate copy and this can be verified in your Google Webmaster Tools account.
Following are some interesting questions that you should be asking your web developers or web copywriters if you feel that you have duplicate content.
Has the article been professionally written?
This has now become one of THE MOST important factors when considering an SEO campaign. Search Engine Journal has a great article titled Content As A Google Ranking Factor: What You Need To Know, that goes into a more detailed explanation of why content is so important as a ranking factor.
If you are a vet in Brisbane, then you need to have a landing page about your services that has been professionally written. Putting a picture of a dog or cat on this page with a phone number is not going to cut it anymore. The reason being is that browsers want to land on a web page and find the content they are looking for immediately. If they don’t they will simply leave and bounce off that page. Known as Bounce Rates Google can detect an unusually high bounce rate for a website and this may impact rankings. With this in mind, your web copy must be specific and enticing as well as sticky. Keep them on the page for as long as possible which is an art and technical skill that only a copywriter and experienced web design team can implement.
Your main web pages, if they are going to rank on Google need unique well worded copy that is particular and very specific to your business or product. Things are tightening up so much with the search engines that you now need to have a full-time copy expert onboard monitoring what is written about your company, what is written on your website as well as the social media side of things. Obviously, this is for larger companies with deeper pockets for their marketing budget. Smaller businesses will have to look at either writing their own content or hiring a freelance copywriter.
If you are wondering why Google won’t rank websites with duplicate copy, the answer is simple; why would Google rank sites that have nothing new or informative to say? If it’s already published and online then it’s done and dusted. Google has sophisticated algorithms that can detect poorly worded websites or sites with duplicate copy and their Panda algorithm rollout was designed to pick up this exact type of activity.
Is the article original?
No point whatsoever in having a website built if the content just doesn’t work. You need to spend as much time on the copy as on the design if you are going to have a successful website and online campaign. Google will pick up on anything suspect and you will be paying for this transgression very quickly. The smarter operators have caught on to this and have either had their web copy rewritten or a have had a new site redesigned. Be careful and check if your copy has been duplicated by another company. There are content checkers online. All you need to do is copy and paste your URL into this search and it will list sites that have copied your content. Getting them to take this down is another story.
Did you buy the content online?
Many so-called copywriters will try to sell you the same article that they have already sold to other people. This is a killer for your search engine rankings as you are merely republishing copy that is already on another website. You may want to use this helpful tool to see if your copy is duplicated from Copyscape. Plagiarised, content even if it has been marginally altered to try to trick the search engines and fabricate blog authority will soon be picked up by Google. See what Semrush has to say in their blog Checking for Plagiarism in Google Docs.
Is the content waffle or does it actually relate to something?
Many companies will post content online just so it will be indexed and ranked. A good question to be asking is; how does this article read? The tip, in this case, is to read it out loud and if it sounds natural then it’s going to work. If it sounds as though it has been manufactured for search, then it may rank but it also may get penalised if there are too many repetitive keywords. This will make it look like you are trying to spam the system.
If you are getting the article written by a professional then make sure they do it and that it is not offshored to some random copy team. This is often the case and this is where issues arise as these guys tend to recycle articles. You DO NOT want to go down this path.