For the second or perhaps third time, Google have published a post on duplicate content and how it effect on SEO. Quite simply, Google does not penalize for duplicate content. In fact, reading the post, they are rather clever in their treatment of duplicate content.
Google’s post really does put the issue beyond doubt. Are there penalties? For sites that scrape content – yes. For sites that get scraped – no! Sites, particularly blogs that have duplicate content because of the structure; for example, categories, archives, and perhaps renamed URL’s. Will it affect your SEO, yes, but not because of penalties. Let’s look at how Google handles duplicate content on a site:
- When we detect duplicate content, such as through variations caused by URL parameters, we group the duplicate URLs into one cluster.
- We select what we think is the “best” URL to represent the cluster in search results.
- We then consolidate properties of the URLs in the cluster, such as link popularity, to the representative URL.
The third point is important. If you have site issues that produce duplicate content including multiple URL’s, Google will group those URL’s together and send any link juice to the group. From and SEO point of view, this is actually beneficial. Links going to URL A and links going to URL B will be combined and sent to the best URL.
Where this can harm your search engine optimization is when Google’s idea of best URL differs to yours. There are other issues, for example, if Google cannot consolidate URL’s they may not be able to select a representative URL.
Duplicate content should be avoided as much as possible. However, if you have a blog for example, and someone insists you install a plugin to avoid this duplicate content, think about it first. Plugins can slow down your blog or make other alterations you may not want. It can become a trade-off. From the SEO perspective, you don’t have to have that plugin – it’s just nice if you do.
Google’s final words on the subject are important:
- You typically don’t need to submit a reconsideration request when you’re cleaning up innocently duplicated content.
- If you’re a webmaster of beginner-to-intermediate savviness, you probably don’t need to put too much energy into worrying about duplicate content, since most search engines have ways of handling it.
- You can help your fellow webmasters by not perpetuating the myth of duplicate content penalties! The remedies for duplicate content are entirely within your control.
I think perhaps Google is sick of hearing about nonexistent duplicate content penalties!