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Duplicate Content: Will It Hurt You in Google Search?

Does duplicate content hurt you in Google search?
As I sometimes syndicate my blog to other sites (that get more traffic than mine :-)), I recently got push back from a company that had asked me (persistently) to write a commentary on one of their blogs.
I complied with How Twitter uses Twitter for Recruiting using a large part of their blog (to set the stage) and then adding my own perspective.
As a consequence, I believe my own blog is very different from the original blog.
Nevertheless, the company who asked me to add my perspective was now concerned to get penalized by Google for duplicate content. So, as I often do, I set out to ask my friends in social media what they knew about the topic and the implications of duplicate content.
Below, you can find the spirited discussion on Google+ in the Sanctuary Networking Community.
A special thanks to Mark Vang and Mark Traphagen for sharing their know how so freely, and agreeing to let me quote them in this blog.

So: Does duplicate content hurt you in Google search?

Does Duplicate Content On Google Hurt you?
Natascha Thomson's profile photoRichard Young's profile photoPatricia Weber's profile photoMark Vang's profile photo

Patricia Weber Jan 23, 2014

Absolutely. I would add, besides spammy, just a post that is the same old same old.

Mark Vang Jan 24, 2014

Is this an issue for folks that publish to a single URL? Or, an issue for guest bloggers that might share a post on their main blog, and someone else’s site as a guest post?Or an issue for folks that are spreading a wide net with multiple domains hosting similar sites that use the same posts? (like 10 different “blogging” sites run by the same guy but just themed differently or some tactic like that)I’m trying to understand how folks end up with duplicate content in the first place? IMHO the third option is clearly someone trying to game the system.
Richard Young Jan 24, 2014

How about my personal blog and company blog?

Mark Vang Yesterday 7:10 AM

+Richard Young I think it would only be an issue if you wrote one article and posted identical copies to each site.
That’s a interesting setup from an authorship standpoint though. You would certainly connect authorship to your personal blog, but are posts on your company blog showing you as the author or are the posts written as the company?

Natascha Thomson Yesterday 7:19 PM

I think as always, it depends on your end goal. I am a one woman business and am building my brand. Most of my biz is referrals, few people will search directly for ME, but maybe a topic that I blog about.
So, I syndicate my blog to a bunch of sites, changing the titles and other bits, like Social Media Today or Digital Marketing Remix, and SAP Community Network. Sites that get WAY more traffic than my site and push my content out in newsletters.
This way, I get my name out and people connect with me because I have more visibility. It might hurt my search but not enough, I think, to give up this opportunity.
Also, you can list in your Google Profile all the other sites you contribute content to, and I thought that would give you more credibility with Google. No?

Mark Vang

+Natascha Thomson I think that the consensus is that contributing to other blogs is good and as you point out not everything is about search – you want to get your name/face out there to build your brand.
As for the syndication I think duplicate content could hurt you there, but maybe +Mark Traphagen can weigh in the example you provide. A lot of these discussions focus on search results and what Google wants, but if your methods are getting you checks to put in the bank, maybe that’s an even better result to track? 😉

Mark Traphagen

True duplicate content that “hurts” for search is not a penalty by Google (as some people wrongly terms it), it’s more of a problem that’s hard for Google to solve.
If the exact same content is posted on more than one page within a site, or on different sites, Google has a hard time determining which one it should show to searchers.
If the duplicate content is on the site, Google says it tries to show the “page that best answers the user’s query” (whatever that means). However, if the duplicate content is on different sites, probably just normal Google page ranking wins out.
Within a site, if you have legitimate duplicate content (say the same product description shows up under multiple product category pages), you can help tell Google which one searchers should be shown by putting a link to it in the <head> section of the pages you don’t want shown, with a rel=”canonical” attribute. See Google Support for more.
If you syndicate your content to other sites, it can help to have a link back to the original, but Google is under no obligation to regard that, and will sometimes rank the copy higher anyway.

Mark Vang 6:18 AM

Thanks +Mark Traphagen I know you probably end up answering that same question 1,000 times a day so I appreciate your taking a moment to share it with the community. 😉

Mark, that is a wonderful answer and helps tremendously. Would anybody on this trail mind if I put their contribution to this discussion into a blog? (and syndicate it? :-)).

Mark Vang 7:28 AM

Well I don’t mind. We all get ideas for blog posts from everywhere right?

+Natascha Thomson not at all. Just be sure to have at least six links in it with the anchor text “Detroit payday loans.” That will help your SEO 😉

Thanks guys. And I am laughing :-). Of course, I could also add a kitten video :-).
In conclusion: Detroit payday loans, Detroit payday loans, Detroit payday loans, Detroit payday loans, Detroit payday loans 🙂
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      Author's profile photo Jason Lax
      Jason Lax

      Does duplicate content hurt you in Google search? is a really good question and timely considering that The End of Guest Blogging for SEO was announced just last week.

      I don't see any problems with syndicating blog posts. The content must be attributed to the original author and contain a text specifying clearly that the post was originally published elsewhere (with a link to it): even Google does this.

      • Google has a good overview with tips on this: Duplicate content - Webmaster Tools Help
      • I feel that the content must remain as is across all locations, just as a syndicated newspaper column would be.  You might get away with changing the title but, again, mention this in the paragraph telling the users that the post is a copy and was originally published "[Title]" and where
      • Be selective on where and don't overdo it.

      About the practice of copying content and building on it, this is a pretty murky area. If you're going to do it, quote just enough of the other article/post to provide a starting point of what you're building on and let visitors go to the original source to see the rest.  Again, communicate what you are doing and why.

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      Blog Post Author


      that seems like a very good approach.
      Thanks for sharing.