How Do I Avoid Duplicate Content?

As a general SEO rule, we want to avoid duplicate content whenever and wherever possible. Search engines strive to only show a single version of a page to users, and have come up with a simple way to do that: ignore the duplicates. In fact, search engines will typically only show the first version of a page that was published, and will effectively ignore all the copycats. That means that if you copy your content from another site, or borrow heavily from online resources, your page isn’t likely to show up in the search results. It essentially becomes invisible to the search engines.

Duplicate Real Estate Listings

Real estate websites are particularly challenged by the duplicate content concerns, because the real estate listings are duplicate by design. Your MLS board sends the exact same data to every real estate website in the area, which means all those listings are adding duplicate content to the site. The more listings your site has, the more pages of duplicate content it has too.

One strategy to combat duplicate listings is to actually limit the number of listings on your site. Focus your site on the areas you actually serve, and you’ll end up with a more concentrated site with your authority condensed on the remaining pages. The more important a page seems to you, the more important search engines will consider it too. A real estate site with only 300 listings is far more likely to have those listings rank than a site with 3000 listings.

Other Duplicate Content Exceptions

There are other exceptions where it might make sense to have duplicate content on your site as well. For example, some real estate websites are pre-loaded with generic content pages, helping agents launch their sites faster. These content pages can help a website look professional and complete, even before you have the time to personalize the content. That’s ok—just remember that these pages may not show up in search engine results until you rewrite them in your own words.

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