5 Tips For Rewriting Duplicate Content

by | Mar 23, 2017 | Content Production

There are only so many ways you can write about horseshoes before you feel your brain trying to escape your skull.

When you’re writing location or category pages for your business, a client, or your not-so-tech-savvy relative, you’ll probably find yourself working with the same information and phrases, over and over (and over and over). You might find it tricky to make each page different yet just as exciting as the last.

If you’re reading this, you’re probably stuck with a page or two of rewrites on your hands, near-drowning in coffee and desperate for tips to whip up some unique content.

Well, we don’t always get what we want, do we? Kidding! We totally have some useful tips for rewriting duplicate content below.

But first, let’s clear up some common myths surrounding duplicate content, with help from our incredibly smart and devilishly handsome Head of SEO, Alex.

Duplicate Content Won’t Get Your Website Penalised…

This is not a drill. Duplicate content isn’t something that your site can be penalised for. Some people mistakenly believe that Panda can penalise for this, but the truth is: a site won’t receive an algorithmic penalty for duplicate content.

This doesn’t mean you should go copying and pasting everything to make up your website though. That would be very silly indeed.

…But It Will Probably Stop Your Page from Ranking

The bottom line is: Google likes unique content. Google is unlikely to show two versions of the same content in their index, so having a page of duplicate content makes it difficult for that page to rank. Especially if it’s copying content that already ranks. Users want diversity in their search engine results, so Google will generally show just one version of the duplicate content (typically the original).

The take-away: Your page probably won’t rank if you use duplicate content. This means less website traffic, fewer opportunities for conversions, and no one will get to see your hilarious post on horseshoes. And wouldn’t that be a shame?

How to Rewrite Duplicate Content

Here are our top 5 tips for rewriting duplicate content, so you can have web copy as unique as you are (unless you’re a twin, in which case we’re sorry).

Note: These tips apply to rewriting your own content across similar pages (like location and category pages). You should not use these tips to rewrite content from a competitor’s site. In fact, you shouldn’t be doing that in the first place. That’s a paddlin’.

Paddlin'

The Synonyms Function Is Your Best Friend

Let’s face it, we don’t always have the creative juice required to come up with another word for smitten (infatuated, besotted…). This is where the online thesaurus comes in handy. Just right-click that bad boy and head straight to the synonyms function for a list of words to choose from. If you can’t find one that works with what you’re trying to say, it’s Google’s time to shine.

Change ‘If’ Sentences into Question/Answer Combos

This is a great tactic for rewording the same info into something new. For example, you could change:

  • ‘If your horse is prone to excess hoof wear or injuries, horseshoes can help protect them.’

To:

  • ‘Does your horse have an injured hoof? Horseshoes can prevent abnormal hoof wear and damage.’

See how that works? Plus, everyone likes being asked questions from their computer. Unless it’s about that weird animal-print onesie you bought online after two glasses of wine. That’s nobody’s business.

Rephrase Headings and Subheadings

Nothing screams ‘lazy’ more than having the exact same headings and subheadings on every page. Get creative and phrase these differently. For example:

  • ‘How Do You Put A Shoe On A Horse?’

Might become:

  • ‘What’s The Best Way To Apply A Horseshoe?’

They say the same thing, but in a way that won’t make it seem so templated. You’re welcome.

Turn Sentences into Lists

In the case where several items are rattled off in a sentence, you can turn these items into a list of dot points. For example:

  • ‘To shoe a horse, you will need a hoof tester, horseshoe pullers, a nail clincher and a nailing hammer.’

Can become:

  • Before shoeing your horse, make sure you have these tools:
    • Hoof tester
    • Nail clincher
    • Horseshoe pullers
    • Nailing hammer.

Cut Concepts Down Where Necessary

In the case where one page discusses something in great length but it’s possible to cut it down to be nice and concise, do that. If one page rattles on about the different types of horseshoes available, keep that information short and sweet in your next rewrite.

We hope you’ve learned a thing or two about rewriting duplicate content (and the importance of horseshoes for your majestic, maned beast).

For more inspiration to make your website copy the best it can be, check out our 4 Quick Tips You Can Implement Now For Better Writing. Or just hit us up; we can write it for you while you watch Netflix instead. We got you.

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