Duplicate Content: What Is It 12/2006

Dec 12, 2006 • 7:35 am | comments (3) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under SEO - Search Engine Optimization

A huge topic at the SES conference last week was duplicate content. The definitions and how search engines handle duplicate content has changed a lot over the past few years. So that is why I dated the title of this post.

A Cre8asite Forums thread discusses just that.

In short, duplicate content is not a penalty. It hasn't been that way in years.

When you have 20 pages of the same page of content, a search engine will do their best to pick the best page on your behalf and filter out the remaining pages.

Why? The search engines do not want the same page in their index more than one time because it wastes resources and provides a bad search experience (showing the same result twice is not good).

So search engines (Google, Yahoo, MSN, Ask.com) all try to pick the best page (one with cleanest URL, most links, etc.). But if they pick the wrong URL (not the best page, in your opinion) then you may consider it a penalty, when it is not.

This is why you should help the search engines out by using 301s and robots.txt files to tell the search engines which pages are the important ones. With Google you can also use Sitemaps and increase the priority score of the important pages, relative to the others.

So it is your choice: Let the search engines choose for you or you make the choice.

Forum discussion Cre8asite Forums.

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12/12/2006 08:17 pm

One other case is where some product pages are so paper thin they all look alike even if assuming spiders ignore everything except the meat (i.e. template HTML, fotters, navigation text, etc). If duplicate content filter only filtered out true duplicates, I don't think we'd be here talking about it :)


12/12/2006 09:14 pm

So In a sense there is a penalty as in it will ignore all the other duplicated pages on your site. Thank You


12/12/2006 10:28 pm

I've been following Duplicate Content issues for over a year now. When Google says "we will do our best to decide on the authority page", they do just that. Yahoo may shake their heads or say they will do the same, but such is not the case. Once Yahoo identifies the duplication they will penalize your website. MSN will find authority just like Google. The really sad truth is that most SEO and SEM professionals are not very accurate in their description of duplicate content. In fact, in my questioning these same people at PubCon, each had different answers. Here's my take on duplicate content. Google doesn't care, unless you are running tons of domain names with similar content. They will penalize some url's and leave others. They will not penalize all, but try to retain the domains that are receiving traffic. You will not gain link benefit from cross linking multiple domains with similar content. Yahoo has no definite idea on what duplication is. In fact, Yahoo is the only search engine that will run your page code (not just content) into a duplicate search and you will be penalized. (Affiliations beware)

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