By Peter Nisbet
The truth of the Google duplicate content penalty is quite simply that there is none! If that confuses you, then you have been reading too many misinformed forums or blogs where people get stuck on some popular term that they have no idea what it means, and then profess to be experts.
The only experts on the Google duplicate content penalty, and the only people who are qualified to define it, are Google, and in Google’s own words “There is no such thing as a duplicate content penalty”. This comes directly from Google’s Webmaster Central Blog.
That should be the end of this article, at precisely 96 words excluding title as I define my word count. But it is not. Why? Because even though this blog is operated by Google, and even though much the same has been stated by Matt Cutts, Google’s main software engineer, and other Google experts, people still argue and complain about the Google ‘duplicate content penalty.’
So here is the truth: you might ask who am I to know the truth, but I read all the Google blogs and their official statements, and in applying what I learn, I achieve excellent results for my Web pages on Google search engine listings: and those of Yahoo, MSN and Bing. So I am coming from a sound base that my results can prove.
As a professional article writer whose customers trust to get them the best results from the articles I write, I have to be very aware of the policies and the way the algorithms work of each of the major search engines, and so I am as qualified as anybody to comment on myths such as this.
The Truth of the Google Duplicate Content Penalty
There is no duplicate content penalty. Google’s major search engine function is to offer a customer the best possible results for a search, based upon the search term (keywords) that the customer has used in the Google search box.
Google’s customers are not:
- You, who use it to get your Web pages listed.
- AdWords advertisers that use AdWords to advertise their products.
- Corporations or individuals that use it to have their Web pages listed.
- Internet marketers who recommend others to use Google for advertising or searching.
Google’s customers are those seeking information, whether that is to solve a problem, where to purchase a product at the cheapest price, find a sports result or to get directions to a specific location. Everybody that uses Google uses a search term to find some information that they need. That search term is what you and I refer to as a keyword.
If Google detects several Web pages offering exactly the same content, its algorithms will select that which best offers the information required and list that. It might also list one or two other pages offering exactly the same content if there are good reasons for it doing so (e.g. more links to other relevant Web sites, more other relevant pages on the domain, and so on).
So, not all duplicate content pages will be refused a listing. If these duplicates are articles, then the algorithms that the spiders carry on their backs will take the links from these articles into consideration, the authority of the directory on which it is published, and other factors, before deciding which should be listed. It is wrong to believe that this decision has a chronological factor, but, if you include a link in your article Resource section to your Web page that contains the same article, then your page is liable to be listed above the others, partially because of a greater number of links back to it from the other copies, and partially because your entire site is liable to be more relevant than these others to information being sought by Google’s customer.
This is not because yours was created first, but because it better meets Google’s criterion for authoritative back-links. However, if the rest of your Web site is not equally authoritative, your page might be listed behind another with the same content or even not listed at all.
All of this is designed by Google so that its customer is offered the most relevant range of results to the keywords they used. That is what Google is for, and is its ultimate objective. Google will not penalize any individual or any Web site for publishing what you refer to as ‘duplicate content,’ and it will take your version into consideration for publication just as any other version.
What counts in the long run is which version Google’s algorithms believe to be most likely to offer the best possible information to the person seeking it, and if that means not publishing a whole host of duplicate information, then that is only fair, isn’t it? If you used Google to find some information, you wouldn’t want to find page after page saying exactly the same thing, would you?
No, and neither does Google. A Google listing comes from its indexing of billions of Web pages that contain the keywords used by the searcher: both in relation to the entire phrase and to the individual words used in the search term. If you want your copy to be different, make some minor changes and perhaps change the form of the keywords, but most importantly, change the title and the introductory paragraph to which the crawlers will take special notice.
You then have a better chance of your version being listed along with some of the others, but remember: the next time you use the term ‘duplicate content’ you are using a term that does not exist in Google’s vocabulary for any reason than to deny its existence. The Google Duplicate Content Penalty does not exist: the truth!
About the Author
For more information on the mythical duplicate content penalty visit http://www.article-services.com/duplicatecontentpenalty.html where Pete will also explain how to make money using article marketing.