Google and The Duplicate Content Penalty

Information is what drives the internet. Websites having good information and content are what the engines seek out, and then reward by giving them a higher priority in listings. But not everyone can write and create good original content for their website. So, many people use other people’s content.

Which leads us to the question, “Is there a Google duplicate content penalty?”

Duplicate content

This means exactly what it says. But what does that mean to you, the blogger or website owner who uses others peoples content? Well, one fact for certain is that nobody but a few people from Google knows exactly what they are up to as they continually improve and tweak their engines algorithm. So the best we can do is offer a few observations.

Does a Google Duplicate Content Penalty Exist?

Well, penalty is not exactly the correct word. What appears to happen is that in most cases your site is not rewarded with search engine love. The site that posts the original content first gets first dibs in search engine searches, which is how it should be.

But there are also other considerations. Take news sites for example. Most news based websites only offer duplicate content on their sites, yet they often have very good search engine rankings. One reason is their linking power and another is that they are constantly posting.

Now, the type of information they post is what drives traffic to their website. So good traffic, solid links and continual updating, even if is duplicated content that is posted many times across the internet, seems to be Ok with Google.

Mix It Up

Where does that leave the rest of us who don’t have the wherewithal to operate on a news site scale? One thing you can do is to mix it up. Have videos, pictures and articles available on your site. But make sure that it is focused and on topic. Make sure to post as often as you can.

When you are first developing your site, try to post daily, even several times daily to make the search engines acknowledge your presence. As you get established, continue to put some type of content up monthly at least. Weekly is even better.

Original Content

If you can create original content such as videos, pictures, art or writing, be sure to meta tag it, keyword optimize it and most importantly, post it on your site first. That way you get first dibs on the content. Even if you are the original creator of the content, that is not what the search engines are rewarding. At present, the site that puts up the content first gets the credit.

This becomes obvious when you understand that companies pay others to create original content for their site. You may or may not have authorship credit depending on the arrangement, but they get the search engine love.

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Rewriting Content

If you can pay someone else to write original articles by all means do it. Just make sure they are reputable and dependable. But what they are generally doing, especially the cheaper priced services is finding articles on a particular subject that have already been written, and then they rewrite them.

This is something you can do yourself if you have a bit of time. Do a bit of research, pull up several highly ranked articles on your subject, pull out different bits of information and, most importantly, put it into your own words. Like anything, it takes a bit of time and practice, but if you keep at it, you will get good at doing this.

So how much of an article should you rewrite? As much, and as best you can. At a minimum, I would suggest at least a 50% rewrite. Be sure to re-arrange and change the topic names, headings and talking points.

The search engines aren’t going to become lax on this issue and my guess is that they will rapidly improve their analysis to search out duplicate content.

Try to make your site as original and informative as possible. As long as you provide a good mix of original and duplicate content and post fairly often, Google will look at the overall picture and reward your site accordingly and you will not have to fear the Google duplicate content penalty.

Be Fearless

Karen Fields

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