The Dreaded Duplicate Content Penalty

duplicate content penalty

Continuing down the list of things Google has stated make for a high-quality site, today’s topic is number three: “Does the site have duplicate, overlapping, or redundant articles on the same or similar topics with slightly different keyword variations?”

If you’ve been blogging or working to optimize web content for any length of time, you’ve heard about Google’s dreaded duplicate content penalty. I’m still not sure anyone really understands the whole duplicate content issue, but from what I have researched, there is no (or at least there wasn’t until recently) real “penalty.”

As far as “authority” goes, Google simply ignores all duplicate content except for the original. In other words, if you publish original content, it should be indexed by the search engines. If someone copies that content, it may show up in the search results, but it won’t help that site count toward their site authority.

The point about duplicate content is, those who scrape content from other sites are trying to scam the system. Many scammers have auto-blogging software that search the Internet for content related to specific keywords and then automatically posts excerpts of that content into an blog. Those are the type of sites Google wants to avoid giving authority to.

Again, the thing we blogger need to focus on is creating fresh (unique), useful content that is relevant to our audience. If we do that and do it consistently, we will build an authority site that will rank well in the search engines.

Here’s a tip I give when I’m consulting with small business owners about building an authority blog:

  • Make a list of the biggest questions, issues, concerns and/or dreads your audience has – basically, make a “Frequently Asked Questions” list.
  • Now, answer those questions on your blog. As you create content, think about where your customer is now and where he hopes to be when his goal is reached. Make a list of steps required to get from point A to point B. Those steps will be individual blog posts.
  • You may need to write more than one post on each particular topic, especially if it’s complex. For example, this series could be called, “How to create a site Google will respect.” Since Google has over 20 items on their list, this will be an ongoing series for a while.


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