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Duplicate Content Is Not Spam

I’m glad I came across this article in Search Engine Land today – I’ve seen tons of forum posts, articles, and heated debates about whether or not duplicate content will negatively affect your site or rankings.

The actual value (25 to 30 percent) seemed high to me, but is not really surprising when you take into account summaries or curation (what the next part of this article is!), product descriptions, and general distribution of information.

Here is the relevant part of the article on duplicate content:

Matt [Cutts] said that somewhere between 25% to 30% of the content on the web is duplicative. Of all the web pages and content across the internet, over one-quarter of it is repetitive or duplicative.

But Cutts says you don’t have to worry about it. Google doesn’t treat duplicate content as spam. It is true that Google only wants to show one of those pages in their search results, which may feel like a penalty if your content is not chosen — but it is not.

That is pretty unambiguous – and makes a lot of sense when you think about it. Why would Google be penalizing the distribution of information? However, that is not to say that blatant copying is ignored:

Matt Cutts did say Google does reserve the right to penalize a site that is excessively duplicating content, in a manipulative manner. But overall, duplicate content is normal and not spam.

From my point of view, this isn’t groundbreaking, but it is good to see it clearly laid out. Many people fret about their information appearing in many sources – but if you have information to share then that’s exactly what you want to be doing. Keep in mind this does NOT refer to having duplicate content on your own site.

Video On Duplicate Content

If you’d like to hear it from the horse’s mouth – here’s a video of Matt talking about the issue:

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