Solar dealers commonly ask "Is duplicate content an issue for my solar dealer website?" In particular, dealers worry that Google will penalise their websites for having duplicate content.
Sparking this concern is instances in which solar dealers have content that is copied from other sites. This would particularly be the case when you've got product information that is copied within your site.
In the following video I go through in detail the history of the Duplicate Content concept, and explain why it's no longer a problem. I also highlight a common example of duplicate content in business sites and why it's not an issue:
Google's stance on duplicate content
There is no such thing as a Google duplicate content penalty if your intent is to give a good user experience. Instead, Google just filters your content.
In 2008, Google themselves tried to demystify this duplicate content penalty, saying "Let's put this to bed for once. There's no such thing as a duplicate content penalty."
Google will search for instances where people try to deliberately or mischievously manipulate search engines. Penalties apply in cases where people just scrape websites completely, without adding value. But when you're providing content to your own website, Google will not take issue with instances of duplicate content from other sites.
MOZ, an industry site for search engine optimisation digital marketing, says "While not technically a penalty, duplicate content can sometimes impact search engine rankings." So this isn't about being penalised, it's actually about filtering.
Duplicate content penalty is not a thing. Don't worry about it. Instead, worry about the user experience you provide.
Optimising your websiteHow can you optimise your website if you have duplicate content?
- Focus on the user experience for a visitor.
- You need to be providing answer.
You will need to provide product information, service offerings, testimonials, etc. This means you will have some content that is copied from vendor sites, perhaps verbatim. As long as you have other content that is providing value around your services, this is not going be a problem.
Google looks at sites with duplicate content and considers if each website is actually providing visitors with the information they want. So then the question becomes:
- How does Google handle it?
- What does Google actually do?
No site will be penalised, but Google promotes the most appropriate dealer for the person searching for information. This can make some sites rank better due to their location and its proximity to the person searching the internet. Your site could be ranked higher or lower according to how compatible it is with mobile devices or desktop. Alternatively, rankings can be prioritised according to the user's existing search history.
Duplicate content is not an issue, as long as the intent on those sites is to provide value for the visitors.
Focus on user experience and providing useful information on your site. It's fine to have duplicate content on your site when that content helps the user experience, and gives them value. For example, product information: solar panels, inverters, batteries, and warranties. And other solar dealer information: service details, associations, awards, accreditations. As long as the duplicate content complements your own content and helps the visitor have a better user experience, you're going to be fine.