People often talk about duplicate content penalties, but in reality there is no penalty whatsoever for having duplicate content on your site. It’s really just more of a self-inflicted wound.
Let me explain. If you shoot squirrels in your backyard and accidentally shoot yourself in the foot, you can’t blame the authorities for sending you to the hospital when all they did was give you a ride. Using a 22 in your backyard to shoot squirrels may not have been a smart move, but nobody is responsible for that hole in your foot but you!
Even though Google (or any other search engine) doesn’t penalize you for duplicate content, you’re still shooting yourself in the foot and will reap the bloody consequences of it unless—and until—you get it fixed.
Earlier this year I provided a Complete Guide to Mastering Duplicate Content Issues, so I won’t try to duplicate that here (see what I did there?), but I do want to highlight the importance of this particular issue.
Duplicate content is one of the most critical issues that can keep a site from performing strongly in search results. As such, it should be one of the first issues to be assessed and fixed if you want to increase your search traffic.
Due to the complexities that cause duplicate content (in some, but not all cases), fixing it can often be a massive undertaking. The solutions typically require either a developer or a writer, and sometimes both!
If you’re looking for quick SEO wins, determine if you have a duplicate content-sized hole in your foot. If you do, get your site to the clinic right away!