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The Google “Duplicate Content Penalty” Doesn’t Exist…Now What?

duplicate content

Jeremy Palmer sent a twitter update that often discussed “Duplicate content penalty” has been refuted by Google in a recent webmaster central blog post.

So the word from big G! is:

Let’s put this to bed once and for all, folks: There’s no such thing as a “duplicate content penalty.” At least, not in the way most people mean when they say that.

There are some penalties that are related to the idea of having the same content as another site—for example, if you’re scraping content from other sites and republishing it, or if you republish content without adding any additional value. These tactics are clearly outlined (and discouraged) in our Webmaster Guidelines:

  • Don’t create multiple pages, subdomains, or domains with substantially duplicate content.
  • Avoid… “cookie cutter” approaches such as affiliate programs with little or no original content.
  • If your site participates in an affiliate program, make sure that your site adds value. Provide unique and relevant content that gives users a reason to visit your site first.

If you weren’t already aware, a wordpress blog creates “duplicate content” just because of the way the pages are structured.

A “domain-name/page-1/” and “domain-name.com/blogging/2008/09/10/todays-post.html” might contain the same content. Unless you’re willing to spend a little time setting “no follow” tags on sections on your blog, you are already publishing duplicate content on the web.

I’m not overly disturbed that I might be “slapped” down by the search engines for this duplicate content and think the time could be better spent on growing my business instead.

Where a blog can stand out is to provide “value” to the content publishing process.

It’s been mentioned before that a genuine review (rather than scraped/republished content from other sites) will generate more sales, because it blends the visitors needs for accurate and useful information, together with your attempt to monetize the site.

Secondly, moving from a purely automated/mechanical approach to SEO and linkbuilding to a social traffic-based approach can yield great dividends for your business.

Blogs, in particular, are a great way for existing businesses to ramp up their marketing efforts and for new marketers to get their foot in the door.

For more resources, check out the Secret Blog Weapon.

2 comments on The Google “Duplicate Content Penalty” Doesn’t Exist…Now What?

  1. Paul Houle
    September 16, 2008 at 10:24 pm (6 years ago)

    Yep, the system they describe, where the system throws out duplicate pages when compiling search results is completely necessary if you want to make a practical web search engine.

    It’s just a fact that many web pages are duplicated in many places, sometimes hundreds of times. There are many reasons for this, many of which are legitimate. These pages have nearly identical on-site factors, so they tend to form a “plug” of identical results that displace more diverse results.

  2. Steven
    October 3, 2008 at 12:20 am (6 years ago)

    There are so many tactics but Google keeps updating their algorithms, as you seem to suggest, giving real value to the reader is the only sustainable rule to follow. If Google doesn’t find your content and its good content, then they, not you, should be making the changes.

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