Google Says "Don't Be Afraid" Of Duplicate Content

Oct 25, 2010 • 8:52 am | comments (6) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization
 

One session we did not cover in our SES Chicago coverage was the duplicate content session and now I am regretting it. Susan Moskwa from Google presented and offered some advice and tips on the issue, from a Google's perspective.

Of course, she said the same thing Google always says about the topic. There is no real penalty for having duplicate content, it is a filter, not a penalty. Okay, okay, so what is new?

According to the coverage by Top Rank, Susan explained when webmasters should not worry about duplicate content. They include:

  • Common, minimal duplication.
  • When you think the benefit outweighs potential ranking concerns. Consider your cost of fixing the duplicate content situation vs. the benefit you would receive.
  • Remember: duplication is common and search engines can handle it.

I honestly felt this way for a long time, but in many cases it might just make sense to make sure you do not have major duplicate content issues. Not always, but in many cases.

She added one more interesting tidbit:

A lot of people think that if they have duplicate content that they'll be penalized. In most cases, Google does not penalize sites for accidental duplication. Many, many, many sites have duplicate content.

Google may penalize sites for deliberate or manipulative duplication. For example: auto generated content, link networks or similar tactics designed to be manipulative.

Most cases, Google won't penalize for duplicate content, as said above. But if it is being done as a spam technique, then of course.

I do like one comment in the WebmasterWorld thread discussing this coverage:

If I had a nickel for every time I had to explain to someone the difference between a penalty and a filter... I'd have a lot of nickels.

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.

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Comments:

Avery

10/25/2010 03:58 pm

Duplicate content isn't a "penalty" - but it can often keep pages from appearing in the primary index (and thus very unlikely to be found in a search). It's an index issue, and one that can kill your rankings. This is SEO 101...what in the world are you talking about??

Jaan Kanellis

10/25/2010 09:40 pm

The main issue with dup content is allowing the search engines to pick what is ranked versus another that you would prefer. That is the main issue and it always has been

vijay

10/26/2010 05:37 am

Due to this issue most of the duplicate contents crawled by Google and they are getting traffic from SERP and original contents affected by this practice, Is it sandbox alive? Is it true?

Arc

10/26/2010 11:50 am

Duplicacy direcly or indirectly is a penalty. If your site is not indexed and doesn't come in rank because of duplicate content, it means the site is penalized.

Rob

10/28/2010 10:35 pm

I wouldn't really worry about having a duplicate content on a website - Google is smart enough to know it's a common thing - it will pick one page, the best page to show in search engine results... I would worry about duplicate content cross-domain - I've seen sites jumping between page 1 and page 3 in search results due to that issue...

Panduan

11/16/2010 04:30 am

I think you are right, so many sites and blogs with the same topics in their titles, but it doesn't cause them penalized by google on SERP. They have the same topics but they have different words on each their posts as well. It's only duplicate ideas

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