Google's Cutts Says Don't Worry About Duplicate Content But SEOs Don't Trust

Jul 23, 2013 • 9:21 am | comments (44) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization

Duplicate Content & SEOYesterday at Search Engine Land I covered a video answer from Google's Matt Cutts on the topic of duplicate content.

In short, should you worry about having duplicate content on your site or not. The short answer, is no. Google's Matt Cutts said that if you have content that is duplicative in your site, don't worry about it. He said, "I wouldn't stress about this unless the content that you have duplicated is spammy or keyword stuffing."

He may have been specifically talking about boiler plate content like privacy policies and such. But he does expand his answer to tell you that the only real case you should worry about is when your using duplicate content in a spammy way.

Truth is, SEOs and webmasters don't believe him. Also, Google has been telling webmasters not to worry about duplicate content for years. But even their own advice has been shown to be contradictory.

Here is the video answer from Matt Cutts:

The feedback on Google+ and Search Engine Land is not too positive. Here are some comments:

All this is to confuse people and make them think twice. They just want to minimize all the seo.

Never thought I'd hear him say that.

A misleading statement, why not to give full details, how to use duplicate content? Duplicate contents are allowed but what are necessary terms ?

Of course, answering a question on duplicate content in 2-3 minutes is not always the best idea.

Forum discussion at Google+ and Search Engine Land.

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Andy Drinkwater - iNET SEO

07/23/2013 01:35 pm

I can actually confirm that Google doesn't worry too much about non-spammy duplicate content, and speaking from experience, this can be quite a lot. Of course, it's better if you can avoid this.


07/23/2013 02:06 pm

I have to agree, so long as its sensible then duplicate content is fine. One of our sites has 5 pages of information for each product. 4 of them are pretty much identical across many of them as they are required information about similar courses. The site ranks #1 on a heck of a lot of competitive terms. Its about making sure the quality content is there. Having an entire page that is nothing but a duplicate will always be bad, but duplicate content certainly has it's place for usability if nothing else.

Gazeta Wyborcza

07/23/2013 02:39 pm

We don't believe Mutt Cutts or Barry Sullivan or Danny Schwartz. All liars, paid directly or indirectly. The above mentioned people have one goal in mind: to confuse and placate webmasters as Google ravages them.

Bill Ross

07/23/2013 03:29 pm

This is being taken way out of context - and being blown way out of proportion! If you watch the video he is not talking about "duplicate content" in the sense that SEO's (or website owners) think about it. He is only talking about stuff like boiler plate content that is required on every page of certain types of sites - this is really no different than saying if I have the same footer on every page will it hurt my SEO.

Nisha Garg

07/23/2013 03:31 pm

I agree StevenLockey. I have an automated software that generate websites with 100% duplicate content pre-stored in our database. Google pretty well rank all those websites. Only Keyword stuffing is the critical part I figured out.

Chase Anderson

07/23/2013 03:40 pm

These types of comments are interesting to me. What possible Agenda can you have? Do you have some financial position of leverage on the failure of Google? (Hope you're positioned for the long term) Or, are you just contributing worthless drivel because you're a disgruntled spammer that didn't follow the rules?

Ria @ TKStarley

07/23/2013 03:43 pm

Totally agree, he clearly cites legal content etc. as an example. This is nothing to get het up about, he's not trying to trick people!

Gazeta Wyborcza

07/23/2013 03:49 pm

"These types of comments are interesting to me." And you are? Memo to you, no one cares what's interesting to you.

Chase Anderson

07/23/2013 03:53 pm

I'm obviously more forthcoming with who I am than you are. So - perhaps the question you should be answering is, who are you?


07/23/2013 04:05 pm

...who, who, who, who

Deven Jadav

07/23/2013 04:16 pm

People around misuse any loop holes or say use spam techniques etc to get ranked, Google has to be outsmarting in some or other way to give best to web. Long term rulers & true blogger / webmasters will in anyways not misuse SEO to rank, But those spammy needs to be out. I don't mind Google saying anything, Donno how true / false it is but I would do the same if such a huge responsibility is on my head as Google has.

Beau Graves

07/23/2013 04:55 pm

Again... Spammy content, the problem is lots of people do SEO wrong and duplicate spammy content. It also has to do with the quality of site that the content is on. If it's a spammy site, most likely will be grouped into the "spammy content" category.

Graham Ginsberg

07/23/2013 04:56 pm

Aged domains with a stable track record do NOT get penalized by G for keyword stuffing. I can give examples. In most cases I found pages don't get indexed if you have copied blocks of text or just don't rank. However, The authority duplicate content site will rank with paid backlinks. Why are we still discussing Google?


07/23/2013 04:59 pm

Please do! I've seen some horrible keyword stuffing recently (albeit targeting keywords no-one searches for). I was surprised to see this title/URL stuffing working.

Graham Ginsberg

07/23/2013 05:06 pm

Search for "pelican bay real estate naples", it should be the 1st site. You can't miss it when you see it - LOL freekin hey. But almost every page is stuffed IMO, but let me know what you think. I don't want to list exact URL's for legal reasons. But the site is older and has been doing it for a long long time and no penalties. How to get by with paid homepage backlinks google boca realty


07/23/2013 05:32 pm

She's smart though...

Mike Weaver

07/23/2013 05:43 pm

Drivel, Chase. We're not playing basketball here.


07/23/2013 08:03 pm

I felt like I had stepped back in time. However, not too bad compared to the top result for "best seo to hire uk". I think it should show as #1 in the US, too. It makes no sense that Google ranks such sites at all. This is going a bit off-topic from duplicate content, although there seems to have been an OTT reaction to that video (it was totally taken out of context).

Graham Ginsberg

07/23/2013 08:25 pm

LOL - Back in time Shows you what an olde stable domain will do - G Rules are not applied equally I'm afraid that if that site gets fixed, I will have no other to give as a good example of KW stuffing :-)

Chase Anderson

07/23/2013 08:37 pm

Thanks for the catch

Courtney Miller

07/23/2013 08:42 pm

This is ridiculous, read the question, its specifically asking about Terms and Condition pages. It has nothing to do with general content on your site. Terms and Conditions, Legal pages are all going to read the same, but are you trying to rank these pages? NO! That's what Matt Cutt's is saying.

Craig Cole

07/23/2013 11:53 pm

Wow, that "best seo to hire uk" is unbelievable. KW stuff and 40+ barely relevant site wide links. It really does seem like one rule for one another rule for others... Maybe he really is the best seo to hire in the uk! :)

Barry Schwartz

07/24/2013 12:06 am

So what is he referencing about spammy keyword stuffing content. Terms and condition pages that are spamming Google. ;-)

Courtney Miller

07/24/2013 01:58 am

If you have keyword stuffing in your duplicate content terms and conditions pages then you are running into an over-optimization penalty, not necessarily a duplicate content issue, they are two separate issues.

Yogita Aggarwal

07/24/2013 02:55 am

It means the content which is informative and free from keyword stiffing can be used as a duplicate ... ??????

Andri Yarusman

07/24/2013 05:56 am

Well ... if Cutts said that , this doesn't mean duplicate content is okey , for better user experience we should stay away from duplicate content ...

Soni Sharma

07/24/2013 06:00 am

Yes that's true why Google should bother about duplicate content. People steal content from other websites. But it doesn't mean that your website would rank higher with that content. There are many industries where people use same content like Travel Industry, Products Shopping websites etc. But only the sites which have Good trust, PR and value in Google's Index rank higher.

Syed Waqas Bukhari

07/24/2013 06:02 am

Hi Barry Remember few weeks ago I've asked to you exactly the same thing about privacy policy and all that; you've said "Don t worry about it". same answer we've heard from Matt Cutts now. Great help Barry :)


07/24/2013 07:15 am

Matts is jsut trying to bluff ;)


07/24/2013 11:10 am

This is in relation to T&C pages specifically. I would not assume this is the same on content pages or landing pages

Rahul Trivedi

07/24/2013 11:22 am

Is this true? i cant imagine that matt can say this kind of sentences. Amazing.Really

Nathan Khan

07/24/2013 11:23 am

All duplicate content means is that if you look to be doing something dodgy or spammy it can be used as a way to justify a penalty, SEOs seem to take all these "google rules" so seriously but lets be realistic in what is psychically possible to examine, understand and justify with the mass amounts of data in the constantly updating indexes

Miguel Rego Gomes dos Reis

07/24/2013 11:53 am

I think, that Google can see very clearly who published content for the first time in history and attributes the relevance to this website accordingly.

Nathan Khan

07/24/2013 12:58 pm

Hi Miguel In eCommerce for example where a manufacturer has strict guidelines to a product listing and in some cases enforces that a description must be that of which they have provided, so page copy apart from site branding, links is the same in this instance - I've witnessed page one list up to 5 unique sites using over 70% identical copy for the ranked page, with ranks changing weekly If its a case of whom published first acting as a factor, would that outweigh overall power of the page or site and is the date published referring to date and time the page was first crawled or created, then take into consideration content changes/updates - it's going to get messy :/ I'm all for whitehat & uniqueness, but I do think we should think a little deeper and treat much of what we're told as grey^


07/24/2013 01:15 pm

This title is very misleading and not what Matt is saying at all. He specifically refers to text found in terms and conditions. He also refers to text that websites have to insert such as guidelines put in place by the likes of the FSA.

Nikhil Chandra

07/24/2013 02:58 pm

And do you mean that Google will know manually check for these things on billions of indexed pages. If it could be true for one page, it could as well be true for any page because all googlebot cares about is algorithm. It's just like saying good quality content which I seriously think is measured by time spent and somehow considering bounce rate of the said page. Should I really believe that Googlebot could somehow differentiate content of Camus from say Jeffrey Archer by analysing the style of prose, engagement, grammar and punctuation :-) And then really rewards the page of Camus (or Archer) for superior quality?


07/24/2013 03:55 pm

Sometimes it seems like that, or just parts of their algorithm that need fine tuning?

Idan Cohen

07/25/2013 11:19 am

Although he's answer is somewhat vague I do understand he's point about pages like TOS or Disclaimers that are duplicate. Many times those are created by a lawyer or an automated service and therefor a lot of them are going to be identical across many websites. I've actually checked a few top ranking websites' TOS on copyscape and found they were duplicated so I would say Matt is not lying about this....

Jitendra Vaswani

08/06/2013 11:35 am

Google is misleading webmaster in many ways. We need clear statement from Matt cutts


08/20/2013 08:06 pm

I have just hooked up my webmaster tools account and it says i have lots of duplicate meta descriptions (2 of for each), however, each page it is referring to does not have any content on my site that is anything like it. They are all original pages! Can somebody assist me with this please. I also have the same issue for HTML title tags...but still it shows me each and they are all original


09/10/2013 09:55 am

How long did it take your webmaster tools account to start fetching data?

Spook SEO

01/19/2014 04:30 am

It exist in the world of SEO and I don't believe if some posters just made a mistake. UUUH.

Abhiram Pathak

01/21/2014 11:58 am

This is a very useful article for every SEO. There are new challenges coming in the future related to SEO. Duplicate content is effective for seo also harmful for website, the fact that duplicate content was not considered.

William John

01/23/2014 07:09 am

Duplicate content may be a reason for penalty but it is not considered by google how ?

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