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Is Duplicate Content Bad For SEO?

Aug 22, 2008
The short answer is NO.

There are many webmasters who spend a lot of time managing duplicate content, either within their site or from external sources. The fact of the matter is, the issue of duplicate content is often overly emphasized by some over-zealous webmasters. According to Google (and also in my personal experience), having duplicate content does not normally have negative effects on your site's presence in the Google index. In fact, regarding content theft, Google goes on to say "we look at various signals to determine which site is the original one, which usually works very well. This also means that you shouldn't be very concerned about seeing negative effects on your site's presence on Google if you notice someone scraping your content".

That being said, let's examine some possible issues with duplicate content. Let's take, for instance, article writing and the submission of these articles to article sites for SEO purposes. Let's say you write an article, put the article on your web site, and then submit it to various article directories or web sites. Quite obviously you would rather have the page on your site rank above the article directories you submitted that same article to. And in most cases, this is what happens. The reason your page will normally rank ahead of the others, is that the others contain a link from that article to your site. Directly quoted, "In cases when you are syndicating your content but also want to make sure your site is identified as the original source, it's useful to ask your syndication partners to include a link back to your original content". This link tells Google that the content originated from your web site. So according to Google, they know the original source of content even if it has been "scrapped" or stolen. But content purposely submitted to other sites (or as Google refers to them, "syndication partners") can also be identified as yours if a link back to your site is included along with the content.

Well, the idea behind article submission is to obtain a link back to your web site from another web site, usually from a page that contains keywords related to your web sites theme. But what if the site applies the "nofollow" attribute to your link, which some shady article submission sites do? If this is the case, the article site could actually rank higher than you for the same content. So be sure you do not submit your articles to article directories that do not allow your link to be followed. Even in this case, Google will usually find the original source of the content.

What about onsite duplicate content? The same applies. Google does not penalize you, the duplicate content is simply filtered from the search results. So don't worry too much about duplicate content, and focus on building quality content for your site, and of course building quality inbound links.
About the Author
Manny is an SEO enthusiast who enjoys sharing his experiences with other webmasters. Please visit his web site, affordable seo for more great SEO articles and information.
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