Google On What To Do If You Can't Have 100% Unique Content

Jan 6, 2014 • 8:13 am | comments (26) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization

smiley paintedGoogle has said time to time that having some unique content, even if it is a few sentences of unique content may be enough.

So when Gary Illyes from Google responded to a thread at Google Webmaster Help - his response stood out.

He wrote, "You want to keep in mind that the users (and also our algorithms) prefer unique and compelling content." But if you can't, then what?

Gary wrote that you must have elements that are unique.

If having 100% unique content is not possible, the webmaster should make sure to have elements in the pages that are unique and valuable for the users, give a good reason for them to visit the site.

There are plenty of sites that do not 100% unique content, including this one (clearly, since I quote threads) but adding value on top of that content by aggregating it, adding context and tools on top of it - that can be the "element"(s) that are "unique and valuable."

Forum discussion at Google Webmaster Help.

Image credit to BigStockPhoto for smiley face

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01/06/2014 01:44 pm

Seriously? Here's the only translation I can hear in that nonsense: "You Need Unique Content, but if you're too cheap, lazy, or unfocused to create any, just fake it a little"

Adam Heaton

01/06/2014 01:56 pm

Or you know, you could read the article and work out that is in fact "Copy someones content by all means, but add your own two pence to it to make it your own", just like painting a picture yourself of someone elses art, however you make it your own.

Alexander Hemedinger

01/06/2014 01:57 pm

This goes against everything were told about content. Guess we'll just take someone else's and change a few things to call it our own. :P


01/06/2014 02:08 pm

Sure you could Adam, and that's an admirably pragmatic approach to every business conversation ever had. But in the Google/SEO/duplication game, especially considering Google's mixed messages on the subject, it's ... ridiculous. And likely Google weeding out more of the nothing-to-contribute types through natural un-selection.

Durant Imboden

01/06/2014 03:57 pm

It's probably a mistake to overthink this, since: 1) The definition of "content" isn't clear (for example, are facts "content" in the context of Gary Illyes's quote?), and... 2) Site authority obviously counts for a lot (an AP story in the LA TIMES is likely to rank higher than the same AP story in the YOKELVILLE NOWHERE-NEWS, even when there's nothing unique about either page).

Michael Martinez

01/06/2014 03:57 pm

No, it does NOT go against everything we were told about content. Googlers have been saying "add value" for years. Nothing has changed.

Alexander Hemedinger

01/06/2014 04:15 pm

It's a joke response. Guess my little face wasn't the right approach. Should just put (kidding). :)


01/06/2014 04:48 pm

yes. academic article on topic that win nobel prize will nowhere, but at top of current google serp will be wikipedia doorway page with 3-4 internal links and 2-3 generic phrases.


01/06/2014 04:55 pm

add value = create dublicate content. It ranks better than unique, HQ content.

Michael Martinez

01/06/2014 05:14 pm

All this constant whining and complaining from the SEO community just underscores how short-sighted and ineffective the favored practices of "marketers" have been.

Justin McGill @ Workado

01/06/2014 06:29 pm

The typical "add value to your visitors" is a pretty standard answer these days.


01/06/2014 08:32 pm

when nothing have to answer, born things like "high quality, unnatural, added value". We all seeing current google serp and can clearly tell - it not about this serp, it about money.


01/06/2014 08:34 pm

everybody think on level of their ability. Including "non-marketers".

Keith Aldrich

01/06/2014 09:18 pm

Content scrapers rejoice! Just add navigation and a voting system and your golden. Haha....

Michael Martinez

01/07/2014 01:41 am

Maybe. Maybe I just didn't see the smiley. Sorry.


01/07/2014 04:44 am

Use at least 70% uniqueness on your content and it must be user prospective, then hopefully user engagements increase on your blogs/website as well as ranking. @rachitseo:disqus

Subhash Prajapati

01/07/2014 07:41 am

Content is the king of any website. If your content is unique and user prospective, then surely website should rank in top.

Dick Head

01/07/2014 11:43 am

Is re-arranging the content considered unique?

Patti Paz

01/07/2014 01:29 pm

I think that is called 'spinning'

Gracious Store

01/07/2014 10:46 pm

Thee is no content on the web not even peer reviewed articles that are 100% in journals unique. The uniqueness or the originality or a content lies in your ability to add some information or value to what others have done.

Christopher Skyi

01/08/2014 05:08 pm

Again, more common sense when you think about that -- most sites are now online content publishing houses and the first rule in the publishing industry is to be as interesting and unique as possible; accomplish that (not easy), then rankings and traffic will follow (at least much more easily)

Christopher Skyi

01/08/2014 05:09 pm

What would your high school English teacher say if you asked if re-arranging existing (someone else's) content was a valid essay writing strategy?

Christopher Skyi

01/08/2014 05:13 pm

Unless the YOKELVILLE NOWHERE-NEWS publishes something interesting and hot first; that's how they compete in the print world; being first counts for a lot online since people will read and cite that first; that often can be enough to cement your position on the first page.

Durant Imboden

01/08/2014 05:37 pm

My hypothetical example referred to AP stories. Chances are, the YOKELVILLE NOWHERE-NEWS won't be first out of the gate with an AP story, unless it started out as a local story that the AP picked up.

Jacques Bouchard

01/08/2014 09:03 pm

I'm leaning more towards plagiarism. ;-)

Christopher Skyi

01/08/2014 09:09 pm

Yes, that's exactly right.

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