Q: I am trying to fix a website and have always been told that putting duplicate content is a complete No. I decided to put 500-550 character text and have now realized that I have already put 736 characters text on 80 pages. Please tell me if it is ok to put duplicate content on each page and if 736 characters is too much.
A: You are confusing duplicate content with overlapping content. Therefore, you need to understand what a duplicate content is and why or how the website can get penalized for this.
Here are some examples:
Page 1 has same Title tag, same Meta description tag, same content, but different URL on the same domain.
Page 2 has same Title tag, meta description, and content but different URL on the same domain.
So, in this case, you have two pages with exactly same details on the same website. This is the case of duplicate content and you should use Canonical Meta tag to let the search engine known the true Page of the two. By ignoring this, you may get into trouble.
Page 1 has same Title tag, meta description tag, and content but the URL is on a different domain.
Page 2 has same Title tag, meta description tag, and content but different URL on different domain.
In such a condition, you do not control the second page and this is more problematic. Being the first out of the box with content may work for you. This is a huge problem and Google cannot crack down unless your website participates in some kind of scheme.
Page 1 has similar Title tag & meta description tag with 20 percent same content (mostly a keyword footer).
Page 2 has similar Title tag and meta description with 20 percent exact content (namely a keyword footer).
In this case, both are not same pages and you might have overlapping content but not a duplicate content. If this content appears natural in terms of website navigation and the keyword paragraph with overlapping content is not too long, then:
It will increase the keyword density for target keywords across the site & will send clear keyword themes to Google
It will allow for “link sculpting” as the keyword paragraphs is a part of site navigation
It will get natural syntax onto the page
Keyword Paragraph & Rest of the Content Ratio
I would suggest you not to overdo the keyword paragraph. Stop yourself from making it 90% of the page. Just like each page should have unique content, each page needs unique title & meta description tag also (as specified in Google SEO Guide).