Google Lays Down Duplicate Content Law

    December 19, 2006
    WebProNews Staff

Even in most cases where Google finds duplicate content during a crawl, they are more likely to show a less-desirable version of the content page than to drop it completely. The issue of duplicate content continues to vex webmasters who repurpose content on their sites to suit different needs, like mobile web use and printer-friendly formatting. It’s an area of concern that Google’s Adam Lasnik wants to clarify. He’s taken a shot at doing so in a post-SES Chicago article displayed at Google’s Webmaster Central blog, where he gives a nod to questioners from the conference who asked about the topic. Lasnik noted that most of the time when Google sees duplicate content, it has not been posted with the intent of gaming the search engine. If the same article has been posted in more than one language, it won’t be viewed as a problem either. "Our users typically want to see a diverse cross-section of unique content when they do searches," Lasnik wrote. "In contrast, they’re understandably annoyed when they see substantially the same content within a set of search results." Webmasters can help themselves by using robots.txt to keep crawlers away from likely places containing duplicated content. Alternately the noindex meta tag can keep Google from grabbing printer-friendly pages or similar content. Among Lasnik’s tips to webmasters, like using 301 redirects, keeping internal links consistent, and syndicating content carefully, he said they should not worry too much about the practice of scraping content as performed by some sites:

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.

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