Duplicate Content, Should You Be Worried?

Many webmasters struggle to find unique, interesting content to engage visitors and improve their experience. The result of this is generally resorting to massive duplicate content that may or may not add any value to the end users experience. Today we are addressing the question “just how does Google handle duplicate content and what are the effects in terms of rankings”.

It’s important to realize that if you look on the web you will discover that at a bare minimum 20% of all content is duplicated and resides on countless other websites. For example, and with good reason, people will copy a quote from a reputable person and then maybe even link to their website, and in cases like this it could hardly be considered spam thus is not likely going to be grounds for any penalties. If it were it would do more harm than good to the quality of the search results. So let’s face it, duplicate content does happen, but the real question is does Google look for duplicate content and at what point does it result in a penalization.

Copied Content Gets Buried 

The fact is when it come to ranking websites on the web Google absolutely does look for duplicate content but what they generally do is group all of the content on a web page together and view it as a single piece of content, as opposed to just looking at a small chunk of the page. If Google sees that your content in its entirety adds no value in comparison to the copied information then they most likely will bury that page in search results. The point is that a user will have a very bad experience if each link they visit contains the exact same information and no added value, thus pushing the copied content down in the rankings makes perfect sense.

Keep in mind that duplicate content is normally not considered spam and nor does it penalize your website, but if you want the page to rank higher then the key is you simply must add some unique value to your page that is not being received on the page where you have copied the information and facts from.

Now there is such a thing as duplicate content that is being done in an abusive or manipulative way and in such cases you can expect to be penalized or dropped from the SERP completely. For example if you were to do an RSS auto blog from a third party blog site and that’s all you did for content then you are adding zero value and hence it will most likely be considered as spam.

Safe Zones With Duplicate Content

If you are worried about your privacy page or about us page being similar to other pages then relax, as not only are these generally less important pages for most webmasters but it’s not going to create enough duplicated content to cause any problems. Also, let’s say you own similar .com, .uk and .ca websites that are similar in nature, and thus have some duplicated content. This is not going to be a problem unless you literally make every product or city page (for example) the exact same using a template and only cutting and pasting a word or two.

The bottom line is it’s easy to use duplicate content and still rank very well for highly competitive search terms. Simply take the time to add content that is unique and of value, even if it’s just 50 – 100 words and you’ll be fine. Ask yourself this very simple question, “does my page offer any ADDED benefit than the page where I took some information from”. If the answer is yes then chances are you are good to go.


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