Google Adds New Duplicate Content Messages to Webmaster Tools

By: Chris Crum - October 31, 2011

Google announced today that it is launching new Webmaster Tools messages to notify webmasters when its algorithms select an external URL instead of one from their website, in duplicate content scenarios.

Google defines “cross-domain URL selection” as when the representative URL (the URL representing the content in a duplicate content scenario that Google’s algorithm decides to use) is selected from a group with different sites.

In other words, the selection Google goes with when two or more sites are showing the same content.

“When your website is involved in a cross-domain selection, and you believe the selection is incorrect (i.e. not your intention), there are several strategies to improve the situation,” says Google Webmaster Trends Analyst Pierre Far.

Google highlights three main reasons for unexpected cross-domain URL selections: duplicate content including multi-regional sites, configuration mistakes and malicious site attacks. Far points to various resources for each scenario in this blog post.

“In rare situations, our algorithms may select a URL from an external site that is hosting your content without your permission,” says Far. “If you believe that another site is duplicating your content in violation of copyright law, you may contact the site’s host to request removal. In addition, you can request that Google remove the infringing page from our search results by filing a request under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.”

At least the WMT messages should help alert you when it’s happening.

Chris Crum

About the Author

Chris CrumChris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.

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  • gonzotrucker

    This is a good thing now i can see if someone is using my content.

  • Jerrick @ Singapore Web Hosting

    That great, it help me to define who copy my content .
    Those copycats face big issues now.

  • Duong

    near here, in webmaster at the Search queries often down and up, under control, this is effect change of algorithms by google ?
    i don’t know, can you tell why ?

  • Tracy Edwards

    This will be interesting to see how they are doing this. An area of difficulty I have found is ecommerce sites where so many sites are selling the same products you often find the content can be very similar. How do you think it will work in this case?

    • Nick Stamoulis


      You make a really good point. E-commerce sites in particular seem to be plagued with duplicate content. It’s the same product description over and over again. Who really gets to claim authorship when the content comes from the manufacturer in the first place?

  • Hairstyles Editor

    I really like the idea of the duplicate content message. I’m guessing that there will be some surprises in many webmaster tool accounts as they realize that their content is copied elsewhere.

  • Cubic Media

    This is going to be great. It should help encourage webmasters to write their own unique content, rather than steal it from another site. Good point about ecommerce sites, again hopefully this will encourage people to write their own unwue descriptions, which undoubtly will improve their SERP results anyway.

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