The words ‘duplicate content’ strike fear into the hearts of marketers everywhere, something akin to cavity search or TV Reruns. Actually, it’s pretty similar - who wants to watch the same show over and over again? It’s the same with content - users don’t want to read articles that just repeat information and don’t bring anything new to the table. More than that, duplicating content hurts your reputation as a website and as a business. But what exactly is duplicate content? And why is it so bad?
Duplicate content can be a variety of things, and not all of them are bad. Google defines duplicate content as “substantive blocks of content within or across domains that either completely match other content or are appreciably similar.” Google actually distinguishes duplicate content by two types: non-malicious and malicious duplicate content.
Non-malicious duplicate content includes instances such as syndication - when a website publishes your content on their own website - or when your website has multiple URLs, such as when you have pages optimized for different browsers, among others. These types of content duplication are not penalized by Google and are actually common, if not unavoidable.
Duplicate content that is malicious is done to manipulate search results. The short of it is that duplicating content occurs when a website recycles old content in an effort to rank higher for keywords or tags (more keywords = higher results). This is not always their intent. There are many other reasons that a website might reuse its own content - one example would be an e-commerce store that struggles to write hundreds of product descriptions, so they reuse what they’ve already created. The distinction here is the intention behind the content, but Google is not all-knowing and can often misconstrue it, so it’s better to avoid duplicating your content as much as you can.
Note: It’s important to distinguish duplicate content with outright plagiarism, which is not only seriously bad form but can carry legal penalties. We know you would never plagiarize, so we’ll keep our definition of duplicate content to the reusing of your own work. Additionally, if someone else has plagiarized your work for their own site, you should report the site to Google.
Of course, you own the rights to your work and are free to reuse it in any way you see fit. But if you’re looking to bring your website high SEO rankings and an engaged audience, it’s a bad choice for a number of reasons. Let’s take a look at them.
Duplicate content hurts your keyword strategy. Keyword placement is a staple of good SEO practices, and getting your content keywords just right can take a lot of time and effort. That’s why some websites recycle old content that has successful keyword rankings - you know they work, so why not use them again? It’s faster and cheaper than writing new, original content!
While this may seem smart, it’s actually counter-intuitive. Because when you recycle your content and keywords, you’re actually giving yourself competition. As Google algorithms crawl the internet, they collect keywords and index them for searches. So, if you post content that uses the same keywords multiple times, Google is going to crawl both articles and pit them against one another. See the problem? Your original content will now suffer because of increased competition, essentially making all of that time you spent doing keyword research a waste. It’s a lot like hobbling yourself before the big race - just not smart.
As we’ve noted, search engines crawl websites and index the results for users. Because they want to give users the best possible experience, they rarely post multiple websites with the same content on their result pages. For you, this means that if multiple websites online have your content, Google may not mark your original page as the best page to show. If your duplicate content is on a different URL that has a higher domain score than yours, this can lead to them getting higher search results for your content. Plus, you don’t want your printing pages showing up as the landing page for users, or your mobile site ranking higher for desktop users.
Syndication is an important part of marketing, so you shouldn’t avoid it. But, be sure that any websites that publish your content link your site as the original page so Google knows which one to index first. Also, there are plug-ins and other technical ways to note your own website pages as the original pages and remove other pages from indexing altogether. If you aren’t sure how to do this, contact us for a consultation. We’re here to help!
Google’s algorithm is constantly learning and evolving, and it can now separate duplicate content that is malicious or non-malicious - to an extent. If Google decides that you are copying or “scraping” old content to increase your search results, it will do a manual audit of your site. If you’re found guilty, they can penalize you stiffly - even so far as removing your site from their results altogether. And getting back into Google’s good graces is no easy feat - it requires that you address and fix all of your duplicate content and then request a new investigation, which can take some time. You don’t want to get called into the proverbial principal’s office, so avoid posting duplicate content when you can.
Setting the technicals aside, duplicate content will negatively affect your audience’s interest in your site. As we said earlier, nobody likes reruns. Publishing old content that doesn’t add any value to your readership will ultimately lead to a decrease in your website traffic by itself. If you’re posting duplicate content across landing pages, this will negatively affect your click-through and bounce rates as users leave your site for something more interesting. If your published content is stale or repetitive, you may lose user loyalty and sabotage your chances of return visitors.
If you’re having trouble keeping up with your content marketing - or just need some fresh ideas - let us help! We can create a content marketing strategy that’s perfect for your business and then help you implement it!
Publishing content that is new and original is the best way to avoid the negative effects of duplicate content. Be sure that anything you’re posting on your website is authentic, adds value to your readership, and introduces new keywords and ideas. If you have an article syndicated by another site (go, you!), be sure that they are appropriately linking back to your website as the original version so that they don’t beat you in the search results. And be sure to use the correct URLs and tags when creating duplicate pages to make sure that Google indexes the correct one.
Need more help? Contact us today! BIS Designs can handle all of your content marketing and website design needs.
Website design trends are as fluid and changing as the sea (or the internet). What is popular today may be a website faux pas tomorrow, and what was deemed uncool two years ago can make an unexpected comeback. Staying on top of the day’s trends can feel like a full-time job. Luckily, we’ve done it for you!
We’ve scoured the industry’s top leaders for the day’s most popular website design trends. The ones that can make or break your website. The ones that will set you apart from your competitors. The ones you can be sure will stick around for 2020. Check them out below!
The days of desktop dominance are gone, and mobile devices are the undisputed king of screen time. Users spend an average of 69% of their media time on smartphones, so if you want to reach your audience then you’ve got to optimize your site for mobile use. Also, Google now ranks mobile sites ahead of desktop sites in search rankings, so focusing on a mobile design will help make sure your site is seen. And studies show that users are 67% more likely to buy a product from your site if it is optimized for mobile use. See the pattern?
Mobile devices aren’t exactly new, and they’ve taken up a big spot in web design for a few years. But the new focus on mobile-first designs means that website designers are focusing on mobile templates first rather than creating websites for desktops and then making them responsive to other devices. Because users expect a website to load in under 3 seconds, optimizing a website for mobile loading also means you’ll decrease your bounce rate and increase your user engagement.
What does that mean for you? Well, it means a focus on layouts that can be compressed to fit a smaller screen without losing content. It’s also important to keep in mind that mobile screens are touched rather than clicked, so you’ll need to adjust your designs to be accessible by various fingers. In short, simple and direct navigation, adaptive designs, and responsive frameworks will reign supreme.
Speedy and Trendy Designs
We’ve already discussed optimizing your website for load speed (recap: you should), but doing so involves more than just technical work. The design of your website also plays a big role in how quickly it loads. Keep your design simple but trendy to stay on top of your speed and your relevance. Be generous with your white space - it helps guide users down the page and keeps your site uniform, while also loading quickly. You should also reduce clutter by ridding your site of unnecessary graphics and complex designs to make your site quick and scannable.
For the trendiest site on the web, use a good mix of contrasting colors, large and playful fonts, and high-quality images and videos. Grid patterns are becoming especially popular - a good example of this is the block layout of Pinterest pins. Grouping your content and related pages into easily scannable squares keeps your users attention while looking sleek and modern.
Video is King
Unless you’ve had your head in the sand, you’ll know that video content is the name of the internet game. Today’s users are more concerned than ever with immediate gratification, and information is often easiest to access and digest in video form. In fact, static pages (those without any animated or video content) are likely to be obsolete by 2020. That’s why the top websites have shifted their content focus away from text graphics and articles and instead use full-screen or embedded videos to boost their site traffic.
One of the top ways to do this is to place videos in the header of your website to immediately gain the attention of visitors. Or, you can place multiple related videos along your page to entice users to scroll down. Some websites even choose to display looping videos as the background of their homepage. Whatever method you choose, video content should be your prime focus as we move into 2020.
Don’t have video content? Jump on the motion bandwagon with GIFS or animation to keep your page from looking static.
Chat Bots are a new feature in AI that have taken the internet by storm in 2019 and show no signs of slowing down. A chat bot interacts with users on your website through chat ‘conversations’ to provide automated customer service, saving you time and money. They also allow users to access information and engage with your site much more quickly than traditional methods. Chat bots use assigned ‘rules’ and information along with really cool artificial intelligence to allow users to do a multitude of tasks. They can do things such as ask questions, file complaints, make online orders, book flights, buy tickets, and more.
There are two types of chatbots: simple and advanced. Simple chatbots use pre-filled keywords to process and respond to customer queries. This type of bot is much simpler (and cheaper) to implement on your website, but it isn’t as good at engaging with your users; it often responds to difficult or unanticipated questions with an ‘I don’t understand’ message. On the opposite side of the coin, advanced chatbots use artificial intelligence to learn customer preferences and enhance conversation. They are able to make jokes, understand sarcasm, and answer complex questions.
Artificial intelligence is not yet an art, so there are still bugs in the system. Plus, chat bots can be extremely expensive and they require technical knowledge that many companies may not have on the payroll. However, we anticipate that as technology advances, chat bots will become much more streamlined and accessible for all.
Sticky elements is a very descriptive name, as they “stick” to your webpage. In other words, as users scroll down your page the sticky elements scroll with them. It’s a great way to keep navigation simple and keep your users engaged.
Sticky elements can be a variety of things. Newsletter sign-ups, contact information, and promotions are all good sticky element materials. Many websites create sticky “floating” menus to make navigation easier for a better user experience. Perhaps the most important one is social media links, which allow users to quickly link to your accounts or share your material on their pages. Which is important, because social media attracts billions (with a b) of internet users every day. That’s a huge audience!
But, be careful not to over-saturate your site with too many sticky elements. Doing so can make them seem spammy and intrusive, plus they’ll cover your other content. Stick to the sweet spot - no more than two or three at a time.
Well, there you have it. The top website design trends for 2019-2020 focus on increasing speed, keeping your designs simple but engaging, and using technology to stay ahead of the game. Trends evolve, but we’re confident that keeping these in mind will help keep your website relevant and modern through the New Year and beyond.
Need more help? We do website design! From consultations to complete overhauls, BIS Designs can transform your website into a stunning reflection of your business. Contact us today!
Here’s a quick illustration of how SEO works…
Google has developed automatic algorithms that rank your website. They send out what are called “spiders” to “crawl” your site and check it for over 100 indicators that determine whether the website is valuable or useless. These indicators include things like backlinks, domain age, traffic, fresh content, etc.
SEO can be considered the art of making sure those crawling spiders are happy with what they find. It is a very complex field that is always changing but in all that chaos there are a few constants that have remained the same since the beginning.
1. You need your own domain and hosting.
One thing that beginners need to know is that you need your own domain and hosting. Free blog set ups don’t do any favors for your SEO efforts. Why?
People tend to speculate that if you were serious about your website you would get your own name and host it yourself. Google only wants to point to websites that are considered serious and trustworthy and so this is a basic signal.
Starting your own website, hosting and a business blog can seem intimidating but that’s why we’re here. We offer multiple packages to meet your needs, which saves you a lot of time.
2. Problem solving with original content.
Keep in mind that Google’s entire purpose is to provide their customers with relevant and useful search results. Everything they do is built around this goal.
To be realistic, the most important thing you can do for your SEO is create the most useful content that solves people’s problems. If you are solving problems that people are searching for then it is likely that you are going to get shared on social media and ranked higher in Google.
And “original content” means so much more than just blog posts these days. You can expand into:
3. Make sure your theme is SEO optimized.
Think of SEO as having two components: the off-site stuff like social media and backlinks and the on-site stuff like optimizing your theme.
Optimizing your theme is important because it helps give Google indicators that you are a trustworthy site. It also helps Google find your content. Some of the things to keep in mind when optimizing are:
4. Build your social media profiles constantly.
You want to have a big focus on social media for SEO purposes as well as traffic building purposes.
Because Google is now looking to social media as a signal of an article’s authority and relevance. If people are sharing on Facebook or tweeting about it, you must have written something pretty good. The best way for this to happen is to build a strong following, keep them engaged and they’ll see your blog posts as they are shared.
Commenting and sharing other business blogs is always a great way to build a community and possible cross-promoting opportunities for the future as well.
Are you now ready to get a blog started and make sure your SEO is on the right track? Schedule a meeting and we’ll handle every detail from writing, optimizing your website and sharing to your social media!
Author: Stephanie May
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Phillip Long - CISSP, CEO of BIS Technology Group, along with his team of marketing and information technology experts, will walk you through an overview of what your business should be doing to protect your data and plan your digital marketing strategies.
About BIS Technology Group
BIS Technology Group is the technology leader on the Gulf Coast and is comprised of four divisions: Information Technology, Web Design & Digital Marketing, Office Equipment and Business Consulting. Together these divisions help local businesses exceed expectations and allow them to group to their full potential while minimizing risks. To learn more about BIS Technology Group, visit bistechnologygroup.com.
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In today's world of smartphones, internet browser usage is now dominated by mobile devices and not the desktop. With more and more individuals surfing the web on their smartphone, the requirement of having a mobile friendly website has reached the point to where Google is now strongly influencing website rankings based on whether or not a site is mobile friendly. Here are few more key points on why a mobile friendly website is so crucial:
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