Why Duplicate Content Can Harm Your Autism Treatment Center Website

autism treatment center website

Ever go to the grocery store without a list? Inevitably, you forget something or buy an item you already have. How frustrating is that? And if you aren’t a list maker, you’re probably more familiar with these problems than most. But what does this have to do with your autism treatment center website?

Buying something you already have is a waste of your time and your money. And these days, who can afford to squander either? But unfortunately, this doesn’t just happen at the grocery store. Resource squandering can happen with your digital content, too.

What is Duplicate Content?

Duplicate content is just that, a situation where the same article is posted in two (or more) places on your website. Of course, duplicate content usually doesn’t happen intentionally. But as your autism treatment center adds new pages to your website, accidental content duplication occurs more frequently. Important information you need to share with patients, an article detailing a new study, even approved marketing language can be unknowingly copied to multiple places across your website.

In fact, some experts estimate that as much as a third of the internet is repeat content.1 Considering the size of the internet is now more than 44 zettabytes, that’s an incredible amount of misspent space, time, and opportunity.2

Why Does Duplicate Content Hurt Your Autism Treatment Center Website?

Here’s why duplicate content is a problem. Repeated articles don’t take advantage of significant opportunities to improve your SEO and rank higher on Google. So while you may think you have a healthy volume of data, if a third of your pages are filled with content you’ve already posted somewhere else, you’re actually hurting your SEO.

Let’s think about this from a search engine’s perspective. A user queries a keyword phrase, and your content is a perfect match! But when the search engine finds the same content at another URL, it’s not sure which URL to include in the search results. This also makes determining rank on the results page more difficult for search engines. As a result, the search engine may flag both pieces of content and assign both a lower rank.

Google takes duplicate content very seriously because these pages hurt user experience and reduce confidence in search results. So, if Google notices a pattern of repetition on your website and believes there’s an intent to deceive, they may go as far as issuing a manual action or even removing your page from the index. You don’t want that.

How Do You Avoid Duplicate Content?

Google provides some great insights about duplicate content.3 They even have useful tips to help website owners address and reduce repeated content. Here are a few suggestions to try:

  • Be consistent: Your URL structure should be uniform throughout your site. The more consistent you make the URLs of your autism treatment center website, the easier weeding out duplicates will be.
  • Use top-level domains: Promote consistency by using top-level domains in your URLs. The descriptive subcategories within URLs are particularly useful for identifying duplicate content.
  • Canonicalization: Help Google identify which content page is the original by tagging it with a “rel=canonical” label. This ensures Google will select the correct page, even if you have duplicate content.
  • Session IDs: If session IDs appear in your URLs, go into your website settings and disable them to reduce duplication.
  • Printer pages: Many websites include links to printer-friendly versions of their pages. Add a no-index tag to those pages so Google doesn’t crawl them in the first place. Another option is linking to a PDF file of your printer-friendly version to avoid this confusion from the start.
  • Use 301s: Adding 301 redirects are helpful, especially after restructuring your website. This allows your “.htaccess” file to intelligently redirect users, Google’s crawlers, and other spiders. 
  • Avoid stubs: Many webmasters use empty pages as placeholders to keep their websites organized. But users don’t like them, and they cause confusion about duplication. If you must use stubs, add a no-index tag until you’re ready to publish.

Struggling with eliminating or identifying duplicate content on your autism treatment center website? Dreamscape Marketing can help. Call us at 888.307.7304 to schedule a discovery call to learn how our team of healthcare content marketing experts can help you optimize your website design and create unique content that connects with your audience.


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