Canned Content? Google Hates It. And So Do Clients.

So you know that website content you paid a pittance for? Or the stuff your franchise sends to you to post on your blog? Google the first couple of sentences. Then tell us how many other sites are using the same content. If it’s on more sites than yours, then you’ve got a problem with canned content. Google will penalize you for using it. And so will clients.

The Google Gods are real. And they know how to read.

We’ve talked in the past about how important it is to please the Google Gods. Over two-thirds of all internet searches are done through Google. That means if you fall out of favor, your website traffic will fall. You can publish blog after blog on your website, but if the content is identical to any other content on the “interwebs,” Google takes action by taking no action. Google is passive aggressive this way. It simply won’t send searchers to your site. Why?

Industry website architecture leader Deepcrawl says,

Duplicate content means search engines have to waste time crawling all the different duplicate versions of a page, and you’re relying on them to do it in the way you want them to.

Having two or more versions of the same content also means authority signals (eg. backlinks) and social shares are split over numerous versions. Each version is then weaker, limiting their performance.

If you have duplicate content on your site, you are effectively leaving the health of your website in the hands of Google’s system.

In the past, site builders would just copy whatever content was out there to stockpile keywords for SEO. Search engines would refer readers to sites trying to sell a product when the content had nothing to do with the keywords. Google decided this was bogus (never mind that copying content violated copyright laws) and not a great way to treat internet searchers (yes, we’re giving Google some credit here). Nor was this the best way to use algorithms if they wanted to be known as a credible search engine. So they found a way to deter that kind of obnoxious behavior. Hit the copycats where it hurt – in traffic that might translate into conversions.

Your clients are real. And they know how to read.

When potential clients search, you can bet they notice duplicate content, even if they don’t immediately recognize it as redundant. While they might not be literary critics, readers are influenced by what you are saying and how you say it. If you’ve got duplicate content, nothing sets you apart from your competition. There’s no unique value proposition. And most times, even if the canned content is grammatically correct, it’s dry. No one really wants to read dry articles or boring website copy, so their mind wanders, they skim more and don’t bother to read all the way through. They leave your site after a few seconds or short minutes. This increases your site’s bounce rate. And that’s bad.

Cause and effect are real.content, marketing, social media, website

Here’s where Google’s and readers’ responses to duplicate content intersect. If you have duplicate content:

  • Google sends fewer searchers to your site, which means you get less traffic and fewer people reading your content.
  • Google will label your site as having less site authority, which means even less traffic is sent your way.
  • Your few searchers read less of your content because it’s dry or poorly written, causing a high bounce rate.
  • Google sees the bounce rate and sends even less traffic to your site.

It’s a never ending, negative spiral that can quickly put you out of business.

A solution is real.

The easiest way to prevent all these issues is to write solid, original content that clearly communicates your business’s message, brand and voice.

Okay, maybe that’s not the easiest way, especially if writing content and blogs isn’t your thing. That’s where All Things Writing comes in. We work with you closely to give you the kind of website copy you need to boost your business. Our talent is at your disposal. Let us put it to good use by helping make your business successful.

All Things Writing is a full-service content development and content marketing company on a mission to help clients shine online and in print. Our clients are from the private, government and nonprofit sectors.

Katherine Gotthardt, CEO

Katherine Gotthardt, M.Ed., writing concentration, has been writing, editing and teaching for more than twenty years. For the past ten years, she has focused on content development and content marketing for small to mid-size businesses, writing and disseminating material that increases client visibility while supporting their brand. Besides being published in dozens of journals, Katherine has authored five books: Poems from the Battlefield, Furbily-Furld Takes on the World, Approaching Felonias Park, Weaker Than Water and Bury Me Under a Lilac. Learn more about her creative life at