Google: We May Rank Duplicate Content Across Domains When...

May 26, 2016 • 8:41 am | comments (26) by | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization

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I think this is the last item from the Friday Google+ Google hangout that I have to write about, this one is on duplicate content, copied content from one site to another, which we covered a lot here. But here, John Mueller said that sometimes, Google may rank content that is duplicate, copied from one site, in their rankings and not canonical that version and only show one of the URLs.

The fear with duplicate content or copied content is that if someone steals your content, Google may rank the stolen content and hide your content in their search results. John Mueller from Google said this is not always the case.

At the 32:48 mark into the video, John answered this question:

An employee copied our product descriptions on eBay, rankings have dropped. I heard if you moved content to a new location, the algorithm will automatically create redirects, trying to be smart. Is it possible our authority has been redirected to eBay because of this?

He said Google may, in some cases, "index them separately" and rank them separately. Here is his full answer, because it is not always the case that they do:

Usually not. So usually what would happen if we find exactly the same content somewhere else, then we try to make a decision on which one of these is the canonical version, and we'll pick that one for indexing.

On the other hand, if you have your product description on your website, and someone copied the description and put it on eBay, then those pages, when you look at them overall, will be very different. And it won't be the case that we'll say, oh, some of this content is the same as here. Maybe we should fold them together. t's more a matter of us looking at these pages and saying, oh, well, these are two unique pages, we'll index them separately. But depending on what people are searching for, maybe it makes sense to show this one or that one.

So particularly if we recognize that someone is searching for something maybe more geared towards eBay, then maybe we'll show the eBay version. If someone is searching for something that maybe they can pick up in a physical store nearby, then maybe it'll show your version.

So from that point of view, it's not that they're hijacking your search results, or that there's anything kind of problematic happening there. It's just a matter of our search algorithms trying to figure out which one of these pages is the more relevant one in which situation when someone is searching.

Here is the video embed:

Forum discussion at Google+ & Twitter.

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