Duplicate Content Not Detrimental to Your Site

In light of Google’s recent video which was put out to answer questions about duplicate content, people have become more confused especially with what was said in the beginning of the video, which says:

“First and foremost I want to clear up a myth that has been going around called the

duplicate content penalty. Generally speaking, people are worried that Google has a

penalty for sites that have duplicate content on them…. What we’re doing for that

specific query we are omitting the print article. It’s not a penalty.”

This should have quelled the worrying webmasters on the effects of duplicate content on SEO. Unfortunately, it didn’t. As Google had been telling webmasters not to worry about duplicate content for many years, SEO webmasters are not likely to heed their call. While saying that there is “no duplicate content penalty”, Google is “omitting the print article” which to Google is not a penalty. For the SEOs, by lowering the number of pages available to rank, duplicate content can cripple your SEO efforts and therefore is a penalty of some sort.

On another point of view, Google may be right in saying that duplicate content is not bad. And it should not make webmasters worry unnecessarily especially if the reason for having a duplicate content is anything but to manipulate search results. As Google specifically mentioned in their duplicate content article:

“Duplicate content on a site is not grounds for action on that site unless it appears

that the intent of the duplicate content is to be deceptive and manipulate search

engine results.”

Hence, if Google suspects or feels that you are trying to manipulate search results, they may take action against your site, the final action of which is removing the duplicate content completely from the search results. If the duplicate content is alerting Google on spamming, it could be a reason for Google to take your content out of their search results. In this sense, Google is only penalizing “malicious duplicate content.”

When is Duplicate Content Not Detrimental?

  • Duplicate content may be caused by URLs on a website. For example, three different URLs point to the exact same page. With three different URLs a search engine could index all three URLs separately. In their index, it would appear that there are three pages corresponding to the three URLs. Search engines treat this type of duplication as accidental. And often search engines just select the best URL to represent all three URLs.

  • Duplicate content is also created when you create platform or function-specific versions of your site. An example would be recreating your site using mobile-friendly styles or you have versions of your pages that are printer-friendly. This type of duplicate content will not result in any penalties or problems in search engines. What is likely to happen on those pages is that it may appear in the “additional results” section of a search.

If this is the kind of duplicate content you are worrying about and not the spammy sites, then you can show Google a little faith and believe them when they say that there is no duplicate content penalty.

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