As hard as it is to assess ANY job candidate’s knowledge, it’s even harder with SEO candidates because there’s so much gray area in the industry. This blog series presents questions you can pose to help you determine a candidate’s level of knowledge.
Define duplicate content and its relation to search engines.
Any SEO job candidate should be able to demonstrate a working knowledge of what does and does not constitute duplicate content and explain how search engines treat it. Let them explain the causes of duplicate content, when it’s allowed, and when it can be harmful to a website. Don’t worry about discussing strategies here, but rather the impact of various forms of duplication.
Here’s how I would answer:
Duplicate content most frequently happens with content management systems that are pulling in content from a database and putting it on multiple URLs. In cases like this, it isn’t really the content that’s the problem but allowing for a system to create multiple URLs for the same content.
Other forms of duplication occur when content creators submit the same content to multiple publishing platforms. Typically, this is done as a form of link building and the search engines have warned against this type of duplication.
Some duplication is to be expected on a site, and the search engines create allowances for this. Specifically, when it comes to navigation/sidebar elements on a site, as well as product descriptions. There is usually little chance that this type of duplication will hurt your site, provided that you do offer at least some original content for each page.