Avoid the Duplicate Content Penalty from Google

April 28, 2011 / Search Engine Optimization / By Kathy Alice

Here’s a question I got today…

I want to submit my recipes to yummly.com. I’ve noticed that the big, well known recipes sites have submitted their recipes to this site as well. Wouldn’t this cause duplicate content issues?

Well yes, any content that is duplicated across domains would fall into the duplicate content definition and would present to Google and the other search engine with a duplicate content issue (see below for the definition of duplicate content). But the real question being asked here is: Will it adversely affect my site?

When Google encounters multiple copies of the same content, it will decide which copy is the original and ignore the rest. This “original” will be the one it will show in it’s search engine results pages.

So how do you make sure that your content is chosen as the original by Google? There is a couple of guidelines you can follow:

  • Publish your copy first. You want Google and Bing to spider the content first on your site. Use the site: command with the URL of your page to confirm that it is in Google’s index.
  • Get a link back. If you publish or syndicate your content to other sites, make sure that there is a link back to your copy of the content on your site. This is a signal to Google that this is where the content came from.
  • Don’t have a lot of copied content. If your site is mostly content copied from elsewhere, Google might assume your page is not original.

If you follow these guidelines you should be fine. Ideally the publishing site should mark your content with a noindex meta tag to make it even more clear to the search engines, but this may not be an option.

Google Webmaster Central Duplicate Content Definition: “Duplicate content generally refers to substantive blocks within or across domains that either completely match other content or are appreciably similar.”

About the Author Kathy Alice

Kathy Alice Brown is a SEO expert specializing in Technical SEO and Content. In her spare time she loves to get outside.

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