The Google Duplicate Content Penalty Myth and a Very Useful Tool

Aug 18, 2010 · by Tim Kamanin

While developing websites for our clients, I’m very often being asked to consult on SEO strategy and where to start with it. One of the most popular questions is "What to do with duplicate content? I don’t want Google to penalize me!"

Let’s start from the beginning and see what duplicate content is. Duplicate content in the eyes of Google is a word-by-word copying of content. So imagine, you went out to ctrl + c ‘ ed one of their articles and ctrl + v ‘ ed it to your website or blog. This, in the eyes of Google will look like a total duplicate content.

How Google Will Penalize Me for Duplicate Content?

He won’t. He won’t penalize you at all for doing this. Why? Because ‘penalty’ is a harsh action, like -10, -100 listing in the search results, total deleting from the index, etc. This punishment is given for using black SEO techniques and duplicate content isn’t SEO technique at all. If there are enough materials on the topic, Google will list your duplicate page further down in Search Engine Results Pages (SERPS), even in supplemental results, which won’t bring you much of traffic. But if there are no enough of material on the topic, you can be listed even on the first page of SERPS...because Google doesn’t have enough of relevant material on the topic and it has to fill in its first page results with something meaningful.

How to Avoid Duplicating Content?

Simple. Rewrite. Rewrite at least 20% of the text, then you have a big chance to not to go down in SERPS with your duplicated material. But better, stick with 50% rewriting, this will make you safer. Rewrite – is a simple rewording, you can do it by yourself or hire some rewriter to do it by himself. He will write the same text using another words and phrases but leaving the main message of the article/text/review etc.

One Thing to Remember

Google sees a page as a whole, including the source code, not only text. So, html page structure duplicating is also very important, especially, if you’re running blog on Wordpress and using some popular template. So, if it is possible, try to customize your html structure and make it unique a bit.

Promised Useful Tool

The tool is called „Duplicate Content Check”. The tool visits the two page you requested it to analyze: it compares the two pages in order to look for variations, and gives back a percent index that shows how much difference has been found between them. It shows a difference in text and in source code (template structure). Note: After submitting ‘Check Url’ you will be redirected to results page which is on the tool author’s page. I take no responsibility for the content of the page.

Url to Compare 1: Url to Compare 2:

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