Paying mind to similarity index and why ignoring it could have serious repercussions
The similarity index is a term you should be familiar with as an online writer. It is defined as the composite number that is highlighted after matching two texts to determine how similar the content from both pieces is. It is typically displayed as a percentage and the displayed number measures the percentage of your article that the program found the matching text for. This is regardless of proper citation in your work or lack thereof.
If the similarity index is high this could mean the writer has quoted various other works to a large extent even if it is legitimate.
It is understandable that you will want to offer quality content for search engines in terms of consideration and indexation and this can lead you to weed your indexable content down. You may also be worried that search engines will not be able to comprehend your content due to existing similar pages because of things like product variations. It will be unwise for you to rush into a decision that could damage your SEO in the process of trying to make search engines happy while destroying your organic visibility in the process.
You can make use of canonical tags to instruct crawling search engines of the representative alternatives of similar or duplicate content. You just have to place these tags within your source code head section. Canonical tags are very effective in dealing with similar or duplicate content. The easiest way to determine whether you have similar content on your website is to review the site manually while addressing sections of the site appearing to have different URLs but similar content. Take some of the URLs and use tools such as Similar Page Checker or simply review the site for any similar content using Siteliner.
You may also want to consider consolidating multiple pages into one or expanding certain pages if you have multiple pages that appear to be similar. For example, if you have a site with two distinct pages for different but related topics but the information is the same on both these pages, you may either expand each page further to encompass original content about each topic or merge both pages into one about both topics.
Similar content can present an issue if not addressed:
Your website will suffer in terms of ranking and you may end up losing traffic. Both losses typically originate from 2 main issues
– Search engines rarely show multiple options of similar content in order to give users an optimum search experience. They will, therefore, be forced to select the best version which will be shown as the best result diluting visibility of websites with similar or duplicate content.
– Equity of links will also be diluted further because other websites will have to choose the best option from the duplicates. As opposed to all the inbound links directing to one content piece, they will link to several pieces distributing the equity of the links among these duplicates. Inbound links are considered a ranking factor so they can affect the search visibility of certain pieces of content.
The overall result is that the piece of content will not get the search visibility it deserves.