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.