What exactly is duplicate content, and will the search engines penalize your site if you have it? What if other sites scrape your content, will your site suffer when those scraper sites rank higher than your web pages? Or is all this worry about duplicate content needless since dupe penalties on the web are just a myth?
Let’s see what Google has to say…
In Demystifying the “duplicate content penalty”, Webmaster Trends Analyst Susan Moskwa writes that there is no such thing as a duplicate content penalty.
In other words, if your web site has a screen version and a print version of the same web page, you will not get slapped with a dupe penalty.
However, the following activities (which look like duplication) will get you in hot water:
- Republishing other content… without adding additional value.
- Scraping content from other sites.
- Creating other web sites which contain info that’s similar to info found in your other sites.
What happens if you want to spin off part of your site into a separate domain? You will need to use 301 redirects so that the search engines will not see your sites as pages to penalize.
Photo by iChaz
So, who are truly worried about duplicate content? These are usually legitimate online publishers whose web site structure produces a lot of duplicate content. For example, if you have a WordPress blog that has a 1-post category, both the blog post url and the Category url will contain practically duplicate content.
It is to this group of people that Google says: there is no such thing as a duplicate content penalty.
Unfortunately, some internet marketers will tell people: “Hey, there’s no dupe content issue, so go ahead and start a blog using content found in other web pages.” Clearly, the search engines will impose some kind of penalty, because the intent of the blog or site owner was to simply put up a site using only or mostly content which is already being used in other sites.
The intent, in other words, is to get something for nothing (by publishing pages with little or no content).
So, if someone is selling you a system of automatically populating your blog purely with online content you don’t own (or content already found in your other sites), and then they add that “there is no duplicate content penalty”, and you still insist on not adding new or unique content, then don’t be surprised if your web site does not last long in page 1 of the search engine results.
For hardworking online publishers, the duplicate content penalty is just a myth. But for shortcut publishers who don’t even want to contribute original articles online, the dupe content penalty is as real as the truth behind their intent in simply re-publishing articles in their web sites.
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"Duplicate Content: Will You Get Penalized?"
First Posted: September 25, 2008 | Filed in: Web Traffic