How does Google handle duplicate content?

Updated on: 30 October 2014

YouTube video

Duplicate contents can definitely affect websites on their SEO rankings. Therefore, many webmasters are concern about how Google handle duplicate content. A question was sent to Google: “How does Google handle duplicate content and what negative effects can it have on rankings from an SEO perspective?”. Matt Cutts, from Google’s search spam team, explained how Google identifies and treats duplicate contents on the Internet.

What is duplicate content?

Duplicate contents are sometimes unavoidable. But in order to identify duplicate contents are, you have to first understand the concept behind what duplicate content. Based on Google’s Webmaster tools, a duplicate content refers to a series or group of content that offer completely or substantially similar information – from sites within or even other websites.

Highlights of the video:

  • The web generates results containing about 25 to 30 percent duplicate contents. This makes it a bit difficult to distinguish which are those that were maliciously created.
  • Google searches for duplicate contents and group them together to be treated as a single piece of web content. Instead of showing 2 similar results, Google will just present one content and crowd the others out.
  • Google then tries to find out if the duplicate content can be considered as a spam. If the posts were literally slices of the original site, or are posted as free copies of articles published on the web, then those duplicates are considered spam.

In order to get higher rankings, you should:

  • Always use original content. This will keep your website fresh with new ideas, offers, articles and other bits of information. Do check out this article on 5 tips to write great SEO article.
  • At times, it is unavoidable to copy part content (example: product specification). However, always add in new contents to dilute the copied content. Make sure that your page differentiates from the original page and it does add additional value to your readers (example: your personal review after using the product).

Related article: How should I address a small duplicate content issue?