Does Google Penalize Duplicate Content?
There’s been a lot of other info floating around lately concerning whether or not duplicate material negatively affects your SEO rankings. However, the fact is that most folks are still really misunderstanding how Google deals with duplicate content. When the search engine encounters duplicate content, it usually experiences two possible problems: it either doesn’t recognize the Source Link as legitimate, or the duplicate link has been placed there too long. It is ranking poorly for a variety of reasons. So how does Google deal with these situations? Well, the short answer is: It doesn’t.
Google first follows the URLs that link to websites in its index. When it finds these runs, it checks to see if these are genuinely unique URLs (which they should be). If the URLs are indeed unique, Google then takes a look at two things: the anchor text of the link and where that link is placed. If the anchor text or link is not on the actual page that you’re linking to, then Google will note this and mark it as duplicate content.
If the duplicate content is recognized as original content by Google, the algorithm will assign it a canonical tag. This canonical tag makes it so that when Google runs a query for the search terms you’re using, it’ll return pages that have the appropriate tags and anchor text found within the duplicate page. The problem is that this also counts as a “spider” attack – a technique used by hackers to spider sites and steal the information they need. However, the algorithm has mechanisms in place that prevent this type of attack. It’s estimated that only around 5% of all duplicate content found on the web is ever linked to other pages.
The second reason why Google penalizes duplicate content is actually quite simple. Google wants its users to find the most relevant search results for their search queries. If it has to, then it’ll make sure it includes both of your posts if they’re different than the original. This helps Google distinguish between a blog post and a sales page and therefore helps increase the reliability of search engine results.
To illustrate this further, imagine that there’s two article directories, each of which receives a hundred unique Google PageRank entries. Obviously, Google wants its search engines to give its users the best results for each of them. So it’s just logical that it would attempt to re-distribute the links between the hundred unique Google PageRank entries, particularly the links that appear on duplicate pages. Google attempts to re-distribute these links so that Google’s search engines give its users the most relevant search results based on the actual links between the original pages and the pages being duplicated.
When you create duplicate pages, Google will identify this and will flag it for re-distribution. For instance, if you publish an XML sitemap, Google might flag the URL because it believes the same page should be displayed for each of its individual listings. This also applies to the set of URL parameters that specify the names and values that must appear in links. Google will re-distribute all these variables unless it can determine that the URLs are identical or the same value but with different elements.
A third possible reason why Google penalizes duplicate content is due to the fact that it’s trying to give different rankings to different web pages. It doesn’t want one of its web pages to appear more often than another, or for a particular URL to appear more times than another. If different URLs appear more often than the same URL in the same site, Google will tend to give that web page a lower ranking, since it is duplicating content.
So how do you distinguish between duplicates and unrelated URLs? You can use the alt key when you create your URL’s. By pressing the ‘alt’ key twice, you’ll create a space (alt=) between your words and the actual URL. Then, you can type in any other relevant words after the space, and you’ll be able to create a unique URL. The’Alt’ key doesn’t only work with single URLs, but you can use it with multiple URLs as well.