Wednesday, December 20, 2006

How Does Google Handle Duplicate Content

So just what does Google consider duplicate content and how do they handle it. It's more lenient than I expected and explains what would happen to blogs reproducing free content or ripping off other people's writing. They explained in detail what they consider duplicate content and just what they do about it on their official Webmaster blog. Here is some of the key points from the post:

“What is duplicate content?
Duplicate content generally refers to substantive blocks of content within or across domains that either completely match other content or are appreciably similar. Most of the time when we see this, it’s unintentional or at least not malicious in origin: forums that generate both regular and stripped-down mobile-targeted pages, store items shown (and — worse yet — linked) via multiple distinct URLs, and so on. In some cases, content is duplicated across domains in an attempt to manipulate search engine rankings or garner more traffic via popular or long-tail queries….

What does Google do about it?
During our crawling and when serving search results, we try hard to index and show pages with distinct information. This filtering means, for instance, that if your site has articles in “regular” and “printer” versions and neither set is blocked in robots.txt or via a noindex meta tag, we’ll choose one version to list. In the rare cases in which we perceive that duplicate content may be shown with intent to manipulate our rankings and deceive our users, we’ll also make appropriate adjustments in the indexing and ranking of the sites involved. However, we prefer to focus on filtering rather than ranking adjustments … so in the vast majority of cases, the worst thing that’ll befall webmasters is to see the “less desired” version of a page shown in our index….

Don’t fret too much about sites that scrape (misappropriate and republish) your content. Though annoying, it’s highly unlikely that such sites can negatively impact your site’s presence in Google. If you do spot a case that’s particularly frustrating, you are welcome to file a DMCA request to claim ownership of the content and have us deal with the rogue site.”

This all puts me a little more at ease because although I receive back links from most blogs republishing my articles I sometimes wonder if it affects my Google ranking. Turns out is unlikely these instances have much affect on my blog but I know also have an outlet to use if I am worried about repetitive or frequent offense.

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