How does Google handle duplicate content?

How does Google handle duplicate content?


Today’s question comes
from Gary Taylor. Oh, he’s asking from Stratford
Upon Avon in the United Kingdom. And Gary asks, “How does Google
handle duplicate content, and what negative
effects can it have on rankings from an
SEO perspective?” This is a question
that we hear a lot, so we figured it was
worth tackling again. It’s important to
realize that if you look at content on the web,
something like 25% or 30% of all the web’s content
is duplicate content. There’s man pages for Linux,
all those sorts of things. So duplicate
content does happen. People will quote a
paragraph of a blog and then link to the
blog, that sort of thing. So it’s not the case that
every single time there’s duplicate content, it’s spam. And if we made that
assumption, the changes that happened as a
result would end up probably hurting
our search quality rather than helping
our search quality. So the fact is Google looks
for duplicate content. And where we can
find it, we often try to group it all
together and treat it as if it’s just one
piece of content. So most of the
time, suppose we’re starting to return a
set of search results, and we’ve got two pages that
are actually kind of identical. Typically we would
say, OK, you know what? Rather than show
both of those pages, since they’re duplicates, let’s
just show one of those pages, and we’ll crowd the
other result out. And then if you get to the
bottom of the search results and you really want to
do an exhaustive search, you can change the filtering
so that you can say, OK, I want to see every single page. And then you’d see
that other page. But for the most part,
duplicate content is not really treated as spam. It’s just treated
as something that we need to cluster appropriately. And we need to make sure
that it ranks correctly. But duplicate
content does happen. Now that said, it’s
certainly the case that if you do nothing
but duplicate content, and you’re doing it in
an abusive, deceptive, or malicious or manipulative
way, we do reserve the right to take
action on spam. So someone on Twitter was
asking a question about, how can I do an RSS
auto blog to a blog site and not have that
be viewed as spam? And the problem is, if
you are automatically generating stuff that’s coming
from nothing but an RSS feed, you’re not adding
a lot of value. So that duplicate content
might be a little bit more likely to be viewed as spam. But if you’re just
making a regular website, and you’re worried about whether
you have something on the .com and the .co.uk, or you might
have two versions of your terms and conditions, an older
version and a newer version, or something like that, that
sort of duplicate content happens all the time on the
web, and 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 for every city in every state in the
entire United States show the same boilerplate
text, which is oh, no dentists found in this city
either, for the most part, you should be in very
good shape and not really have to worry about it.

65 COMMENTS

    Matt, 

    When Google will be smart to see www.google.com.br and  WWW.GOOGLE.COM.BR and any other capital . lowecase on same domain or URL , querystring are not duplicated content , title, description  ???

    But what about WordPress sites, where the categories & tags are being treated by Google as duplicate content? Should we mark those to be "no index"? I keep hearing differently things, so I don't know what to do.

    Hey Matt, what about if you're running a CMS system that auto generates pages based on different ways of sorting category pages. I have one particular article page that was sorted into 10 separate pages, with 90% of page content duplicated to the other 9 pages. Would something like this cause a penalty against my site?

    BTW: I wanted to thank you for making these videos, I watched probably close to a hundred of them already!
    #CMS #Joomla #MattCutts

    So, I think I understand then that this leaves e-commerce stores that have the same exact boiler plate content as 20 to 100+ other sites sitting squarely in the duplicate content category meaning that Google is grouping the product pages across the web and only showing one in the search results due to relevancy. I would bet that the one that shows is the one with the highest CTR or most social shares. Since last year the algorithm changes that Google has made have significantly changed how e-commerce stores (that do not have unique products or unique content) operate; forcing most into AdWords to get site traffic.

    Interesting explanation of duplicate content from Matt Cutts. My take away is – if your intent is good, not a problem. If you're just trying to load up a web site with content and it's all duplicate, that's a problem. What's your take away?

    Hi Matt, What about bookmarking sites which are developed with Pligg CMS? Because every submitted link or site automatically generate it's description or content, then will it goes to spam or not?

    Matt heeft het vooral over dubbele content gerelateerd aan websites onderling. Heb je dubbele content op je eigen site, dan filtert Google dit wel degelijk uit de zoekresultaten. Via het commando Site:jouwwebite in de zoekbalk kun je onderaan de pagina zien of Google dit voor je site doet. (Ik zie dit zeer regelmatig!)

    Helpful thoughts of @Matt Cutts to have a clear understanding about how to handle duplicate content, which isn't always necessarily spam!

    The duplicate content issue I often see involves expert or specialist information for doctors and lawyers.  Certain Internet marketing companies sell websites focused on specialties like pediatrics or divorce law to hundreds of clients.  Ninety percent of those sites, for any specialty, is duplicate content.  I can take several sentences from a pediatrician's website in Houston and find the same exact sentences in pediatricians' websites across the English speaking world.  Since these sites appear in local results, my impression is that Matt's example isn't applicable.  A Houston pediatrician's website may have twins in Dallas, Austin and San Antonio, but no duplicates in the Houston results.  So Google never has to pick one of these duplicates over others.  However, my impression is that these sites also don't perform as well as sites with truly unique content.  Any thoughts on this example?

    Man stelle sich einen üblichen Online Shop vor. Sagen wir einen Shop mit 100.000 Artikeln. Diese Artikel kauft der Händler und bekommt auch von den Lieferanten die Herstellertexte – BÄM. Und dann werden diese Artikeltexte noch bei allen Preissuchmaschinen gepusht. Wieder BÄM, Und weil das noch nicht genügt werden alle Artikeldaten an die Affiliates per CSV Datei gepusht. Am Ende findet man diese Artikeltexte so oft im Web, dass man gar nicht mehr weiß wer ein Spammer ist und wer nicht.

    Pay attention to the last 10 seconds. I see a lot of sites that create almost duplicate pages for multiple cities to rank in each one. There are better ways to rank in nearby cities.

    Duplicate content… And more often than not, STOLEN content, Google!
    My biggest problem with you is that you will index STOLEN content before genuine content. Google hand in hand with online thieves.

    What is perceived to be duplicate content, as you often have products which are different to each other by a variable amount, but from a selling point of view you wish to duplicate elements of the description across the range of products?

    You're rocking that vicious gnauga shirt, @Matt Cutts.  Care to share your Kingdom of Loathing player name? I'm Mr. Skullhead.

    Nice info to know. People can get a bit too focused with what harm some duplicate content can have and if it has a negative effect on your site.

    I wonder how Google treats shopping sites and blogs posting the same product specification and technical information.

    So it would seem that this is really a relief for someone like me that speaks to tax issues that are covered by others.

    Mare ! Je tape des requettes comme ( femme en webcam, fille à la cam, webcam de femme ) etc.. Je ne trouve que des tubes de vidéo porno ou ont peu voir des vidéo de webcam. C'est pas ça que je cherche ! Je cherche des vrais sites de WEBCAM ! Mare des tubes…

    Dear @Matt Cutts,

    How about those who copy content from Google Play Store? Like the famous appbrain.com, amazon.com for android? Are they being treated the same as all other website in the world? Or Google treats them differently?

    I'm worried as I'm sending an article to another blog, but also want to ensure that my regular readers can view it on my blog.
    Should be fine, no?

    Hey Matt,
    What if I am selling the same content to multiple clients in different localities? The content would appear on different URLS owned by different businesses. Wourld my clients be penalized?
    Joyce

    Can anyone clarify what happens in the following situation.

    Let's for arguments sake say I have a job board and I have a job advertised on there and another website aggregates that content – let's say Indeed.com. Now does Indeed get the credit for the original content or do I because clearly they're the higher authority on Jobs in general but they do NOT own the original content that they scraped from my website.

    This has always plagued me – can anyone shed some light?

    Interesting… He mentions that this is a question they get a lot so it was worth answering, yet before that he says "ohh" as if he is it is the first time he read the question ha.

    Interesante que el 20 por cien de la mayoría de los sitios es contenido duplicado. La gente suele confundir contenido duplicado con contenido copiado de otra web y la diferencia es abismal.

    How can I make a website about for ex. quotes or song lyrics and have unique content? Should I write my philosophical opinions about the song lyrics in order just to create some unique content?

    for example all classified sites goes with CMS.  and visitor can put their adverts.  so visitor can put their advert on serveral classified sites same content.  their object is sell their property as soon as possible. in this case . lot of duplicates on several classified sites . any idea?

    #webdesign   #webdevelopment   #seotips   #kawdoco  

    When Google+ taking over youtube….users are allow to make multiple accounts…and they can rename it to anything they want….even the same names that already existed on youtube…for example, I was able to make another account named "Google Webmasters"….so anyone can impersonate someone else on youtube…and I bet it's going to be the popular channels…..how are going to tackle that issue??

    Matt Cutts states that about 25-30% of content on the net is duplicate content. He goes on to say that duplicate content does happen and that not all duplicate content is spam. Google looks for duplicate content and then tries to group is together and treat it as one piece of content. So when Google comes across two identical pages Google may decide to show just one of the pages on search results. Not all duplicate content is spam – it just needs to be clustered appropriately. Duplicate content does happen. But if all you do is duplicate content and you are doing it in an abusive, deceptive, malicious or manipulative way than expect Google to take action and treat your content as spam.
    Matt suggests that it is important that you add value to your content.

    Well stated! very true. By the way I am a video marketer,and I utilize youtube to get web traffic, and this particular video is very helpful for me. thanks! you can visit my youtube channel and learn more information about how i operate for the benefit of my web business (how to get unlimited traffic, boost sales, channel popularity and much more…)

    I have referral forms for each city in Canada. The forms are similar, but there is localized content. My users prefer to look up and use the form for their own town, makes them happier. So is this duplicate content? I feel it is necessary to keep my users coming back

    What would happen if I uploaded the same video every day? But changed a millisecond or added a frame each time so it wasn't completely duplicated. Would that be allowed on YouTube? Just out of curiosity. 😛

    Hello Sir, I have a website on WordPress which is not a self hosted site. Does it make any difference on traffic or Google rankings to my website?

    I've got a website that has been mirrored by somebody, and they somewhat managed to took our place in several SERP : with the same title, meta and content, at about the same position, but their domain.tld

    How could that possibly happen ? Our website has been online for almost 5 years, has a fair number of high quality and 100% organic links (mostly from online magazines and blogs), and yet in a week or two someone else could take our content and our trafic, even on keyword containing our BRAND !

    Their site is now down, but we have had a cut of ~90% of our homepage trafic, and Google still shows and links to the false site… I have reported that this site has deleted its content, but I have no idea how to retrieve the fair position we took time and work to achieve.

    Hi, is it ok to duplicate the code for page design then? E.g. if we need lots of pages that will differ in the actual videos/writing, but could use the same overall layout, is that ok?

    I have a competitor with about 100 suburbs with each suburb name as the main H1 heading tag & then the rest of the content is identical to every single page & they are ranking at the top of all of these suburbs is this O.K or is there anyway to report this site

    Thanks

    Matt, we have a web site Filled with 1,900 products and are just starting to load the same products to Etsy and wondering if we need to create all NEW copy or edit current copy so it is not duplicate copy. We do not want to hurt our SEO by having the exact same product descriptions in both areas for a product. Thanks for your help and time. And LOVE watching your videos. Myra

    Her brother
    My content writer has written a duplicate content on my website and when my website ranking on the first page some complaints to DMCA and now i am remove from the search results what should I do now it will effect on my ranking please reply

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