Duplicate Content - When is it harmful for your SEO efforts?

Posted by StraightAd, 29 september 2014

If you came across SEO-related articles in the past few years, you most certainly read about the rules that are permanently changing, about algorithms that penalize the websites that don’t comply to those rules and about the duplicate content issue. But is the duplicate content penalized in all situations? This is the question we will answer in this article.

Penalizing duplicate content appeared from the desire to combat spam and plagiarism. We were discussing business blogging in a previous article, an activity that requires quite a bit of time and effort. Naturally, a company could search relevant articles online and repost them on their own blog, with or without the author’s permission. However, this is not OK SEO-wise.

If you do want to repost an article and you have the author’s permission, you can avoid the penalty by using cannoical URLs.

All in all, there are situations where duplicate content is truly necessary. One of these situation was discussed by Matt Cutts (ex-head of Google’s anti-spam department) in one of his videos. The example offered was referring to the “terms and conditions” sections which can be repeated on multiple pages, for many products. Same goes with law-related content.

In the video response, Matt Cutts explains that the duplicate content is penalised only if it’s considered “spammy” or keyword stuffed. Therefore you don’t need to worry for every sentence you may repeat.

Tip! If your website is available in both www and non-www versions (http://site.ro și http://www.site.ro), search engines will see one of the versions as a copy of the other - therefore it’s duplicate content. The solution here is to redirect one of URLs towards the other one using the 301 (moved permanently) attribute.