​​What is Worse Than Duplicate Content? No Content.

With SEO already being shrouded in mystery and wrapped in an enigma, it’s no wonder why we collectively flinch when we hear the term “duplicate content.”

Since launching (pun intended) my plugin, Launch With Words, the fear of duplicate content has been the largest concern. This is my answer.

What is worse than duplicate content, friend? Yep, you guessed it. 

No content.

I’m tempted to end this blog post here, but that’s just not cool.

What Is Duplicate Content?

Duplicate content is content that appears exactly the same on more than one URL. We’re talking about the words. This can apply to either posts or pages. Whether or not the website lacks quality because of the content, depends upon the context of your whole website. 

This is why my content packs are different. Since the content is all imported as draft blog posts, the site owner can edit or add to the content. Leave it as is or make it your own. Is it any different than hiring a ghostwriter? Maybe. You have to check their content as well — and for plagiarism.

“Ex-Googler Matt Cutts once famously said that 20% to 30% of the web consists of duplicate content. While I’m not sure these numbers are still accurate; duplicate content continues to pop up on every site. This doesn’t have to be bad news.” Edwin Toonen

Is there a Penalty for Duplicate Content?

Technically, there is no penalty for duplicate content. This is why so many companies cross-post their articles on LinkedIn, Medium, or even syndicate their content on Forbes.com.

“While not technically a penalty, duplicate content can still sometimes impact search engine rankings. When there are multiple pieces of, as Google calls it, ‘appreciably similar’ content in more than one location on the Internet, it can be difficult for search engines to decide which version is more relevant to a given search query.” Moz

When people ask me if there is a penalty, it’s my stance that they’ve asked the wrong question. What’s the penalty for having no content on your website? How many leads have you lost when potential customers looked at your site and didn’t trust you? Does your website show your brand as the expert? Do they trust you? Are you a source of authority? 

What content will you share on social media? How will you prove to Google that you’re publishing consistently? 

These questions are more important than any “duplicate content issues.” Potential customers who found your website through social media or an in-person referral, don’t care about duplicate content.

“Your content, or your food, should have a beneficial purpose. There must be added value. We could argue that the added value of potato chips is my happiness and I would give you that point. Most nutritionists wouldn’t.” Warren Laine-Naida

Is Launch With Words Duplicate Content?

The premium content packs are 12 completely written blog posts and could present duplicate content issues. If for some reason, hundreds of people purchase and install a single pack on their websites, it might be a minor issue. Technically there would be an issue with duplicate content. 

Do I anticipate hundreds of orders for the roofing content pack? No. Residential General Contractor? No. Maybe I should anticipate more growth. If these content packs can help five to ten businesses show the best side of their industry, I’ll be completely proud of my product, Launch with Words.

Duplicate Content and the Franchise Industry

As I wrote as a reply to a comment in WPTavern, service-based businesses like contractors or real estate agents have a tough time 

“Small, service-based businesses have a difficult time competing with the Franchise industry since Franchisees have the backing of a much larger brand that provides all of the marketing collateral — including their websites and their content.

The Franchise Industry is a $767+ Billion industry. That’s a lot of firepower.

So this product is based upon my experience working in the franchise industry. They live and breathe duplicate content.

How so?

Because it’s the Franchisor’s job to provide marketing collateral, they often hire PR firms to write articles that are syndicated to multisite website installs. The Franchisee has no ability to localize the content. It’s just on their website. That content is all duplicate content.

Further, I spent a little over a year writing templated page content for roofermarketers.com. This agency exclusively builds websites for roofers. All of that content I have written would be considered duplicate content.

And yet, they have increased the business of these roofing companies? How? Google ads, copy that informs and works, well-written text.

With my blog post pack, these service-based companies also have things to share on social media — Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn — as well as in their email marketing.

People go to websites for two reasons: validation and discovery. Yes, once they found the local business, they want to be able to see if they know their stuff.

The topics I’ve covered in this roofing pack also help serve as FAQs. This builds an internal library for the sales team to send to prospective clients.

So, what’s worse than duplicate content? No content.


  1. tess on August 9, 2021 at 8:32 am

    This is such a GREAT newsletter!!!
    I’ve had individual conversations with my newsletter program clients, but I’ve never written something like you have.
    I’d like to write something and link to your post … on my list!Hugs!!

    —Tess WittlerContent Marketing for the Building Industryp: 717.773.3941 | e: tess@tesswittler.com Less blah, blah, blah. More meaningful content.Subscribe to my newsletter to get insights and tips for generating and nurturing leads with meaningful content.

    • Bridget Willard on August 9, 2021 at 9:44 am

      You are the best! I can’t wait to hear how that helps your clients.

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