Google's Matt Cutts has a new video out about duplicate content, a subject he has discussed many times in the past. If you have a site that you use to sell a product that other sites also sell, and are concerned that pages listing the "ingredients" of said product will be seen as duplicate content, this one's for you.
Cutts takes on the following submitted question:
What can e-commerce sites do that sell products which have an ingredients list exactly like other e-commerce sites selling the same product to avoid Google as seeing it as duplicate content?
Cutts begins, "Let's consider an ingredients list, which is like food, and you're listing the ingredients in that food and ingredients like, okay, it's a product that a lot of affiliates have an affiliate feed for, and you're just going to display that. If you're listing something that's vital, so you've got ingredients in food or something like that - specifications that are 18 pages long, but are short specifications, that probably wouldn't get you into too much of an issue. However, if you just have an affiliate feed, and you have the exact same paragraph or two or three of text that everybody else on the web has, that probably would be more problematic."
He continues, "So what's the difference between them? Well, hopefully an ingredients list, as you're describing it as far as the number of components or something probably relatively small - hopefully you've got a different page from all the other affiliates in the world, and hopefully you have some original content - something that distinguishes you from the fly-by-night sites that just say, 'Okay, here's a product. I got the feed and I'm gonna put these two paragraphs of text that everybody else has.' If that's the only value add you have then you should ask yourself, 'Why should my site rank higher than all these hundreds of other sites when they have the exact same content as well?'"
"So if some small sub-component of your pages have some essential information that then appears in multiple places, that's not nearly so bad," Cutts adds. "If the vast majority or all of your content is the same content that appears everywhere else, and there's nothing else to really distinguish it or to add value, that's something I would try to avoid if you can."
So, pretty much the same thing you've heard before. Got it yet?
Find other things Cutts has said about duplicate content in the past here.