Many people ask us the question “is duplicate content treated as spam and will it effect my search engine ranking?”.
– it isn’t a straight forward Yes or No.
The best place to start is by taking an overview of ALL the content on the web. How much of it is duplicated?
You may be surprised to know that around 25% to 30% of all web content is duplicated.
People quote a paragraph from a blog and then link to that blog, so it’s unfair to say that all duplicated content is bad. Google realises this and the idea that they boot your website off wholesale is actually a myth. If Google did this for every website that had duplicate content, they’d decimate their search engine results, not enhance them.
So Google looks for duplicate content, and then they group the content together – as if it’s one piece of large content. So for example, if Google find two pages that are identical, what they usually do is make a decision – rather than show both pages, they say ‘since they’re duplicates, lets just show one of these pages and push the other page down to the bottom of the search results’. So if you HAVE duplicated a page and you can’t find it, in the top 10 or 20 pages of Google searches, try doing a filtered search and ask to see all results for that particular search. The chances are that your page IS still available in Google search – just not in a prominent position.
So is duplicate content treated as spam? The immediate answer is ‘No’, Google make sure that content is ranked and clustered appropriately to return the most balanced search for that particular user.
BUT, it’s also worth noting that if you decided to create a site that pulled together content from others sites and other pages wholesale – say you created a site that simply showcased other peoples RSS feeds – Google have said ‘they reserve the right to treat such actions as spam’ why? because you’re not ‘adding value’ to what’s already available. So any deceptive, underhand or malicious attempts at duplication will be spotted and your site may be weeded out of Googles searches.
I really wouldn’t get stressed out about the notion that you might have a little bit of duplicate content. As long as you’re not trying to massively copy …show the same ‘boiler plate’ text, …for the most part you should be in very good shape and not really have to worry about it.
The basic rule is – Add Value with your content. A little bit of duplication in reference or to support your copy is fine and shouldn’t affect your standing in the search engines, just don’t look on duplication as an easy way to provide content.
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