Duplicate Content this one of those topics that seems to get talked about a lot at the moment on various forums and blogs that I frequent. The views and opinions differ greatly! Well finally Google has had it’s own opinion on this hot little topic. So I thought it useful to put the record straight as it were.
The official Google Duplicate Content information can be found here on the Google Webmaster Site. This information has always been there, the link I will give in a moment is much more user friendly and bang up to date!
How does duplicate content occur? If you run a blog it is possible that you have the exact same content multiple times on your site. For instance if you do a post you may add it to 3 relevant categories that you have, so that is 3 times that the same information appears, not mentioning the archives and tags etc.
There are other ways of using duplicate content in a bad way of course! It is those spammers that Google is after and not the vast majority of us who don’t use underhand methods!
For genuine blog webmasters here are just a few possible areas where content could be duplicated innocently.
Multiple Category selections
And there are probably others, a similar situation could occur on normal websites! So when the Googlebot comes to our site it might see the same article/post lots of times. Does it penalize us? Maybe it did in the past, however it is my understanding that Google has got to grips with how blogs operate and store content for users, so these days, no it doesn’t penalize the site.
What Google will do though is decide which is the most relevant piece of content to display. Now this is where we have to decide if we are happy for Google to choose! Or should we be looking to direct Google ourselves by using a robot.txt file. That’s a whole new article though!
Very recently this post appeared on Googles Webmaster Blog Demystifying the “duplicate content penalty”
So there you have it straight from the horses mouth! There is no Duplicate Content Penalty, that is good enough for me, it’s a must read IMHO.
So if your rankings are suffering it is likely down to other issues. I get the feeling I will be posting that link a lot on forums in the near future. So sleep well, Google isn’t as bad as some would have us think!
Just before I sign off I want to show you how you can see exactly what has been indexed on your site already. Go to a Google search box and type in site:www.yourdomain.com. You will see exactly what is indexed! If there are things on there that you don’t want showing you can sort it out by adding a robot.txt file. I’ll go through how to do that in my next post.