The duplicate content penalty is perhaps the most preposterous of faulty search engine optimization claims. Likely propagandized by spam pushers and designers of article spinning software, there is no such thing as a duplicate content penalty – at least not in the way that most people think. If you’ve been sucked into this “duplicate content penalty” mindset, you should immediately reconsider, because this belief not only wastes money, time and resources, it also makes you seem like an amateur to anyone you do business with who knows better.
Imagine if regulatory bodies were able to demand that when a writer published a book, there could only be one copy of it made. That copy must be shared by everyone and it must be housed in only one location. Or, let’s imagine that this regulatory body declared that when a news story broke, it could only be reported by one news agency. Or – imagine if every time an artist released a song, he/she was required to produce 100 different versions of that same song, and then only allow record companies to make one version of the song available to their market. . .
Pretty ridiculous, right?
Well, if you’ve jumped on the duplicate content penalty bandwagon, then you’re basically saying that you believe the imaginary “rules” mentioned in the preceding paragraph apply to content on the web.
However, this penalty does actually exist – just not in any way similar to the garbage that many internet marketers spew about it. In the simplest terms, here’s how the penalty can be defined:
“When similar or identical content appears on more than one URL on a particular website.”
Let’s pretend to create duplicate content with this article. If it’s published on a blog post, then copied and made into a page as well, that’s duplicate content. If 20 links are made interlinking the original article to other pages and posts in the site, this is not duplicate content, as the resulting URL is the same.
It’s almost certain that there are people reading this right now thinking “O.k., I can simply use 301 redirects to resolve this issue.” Of course, they’re right in theory. If you need to post the same content on multiple URLs within your site, then 301 redirects will ultimately resolve to the original URL. Nevertheless, you should use caution in this approach, because any time a site produces a slew of 301 redirects, there’s a chance that the behavior could be seen as suspect – and with good reason.
However, even in the case of true duplicate content as mentioned above, most websites will not get penalized. In fact, some SEO experts believe that it requires a significant amount of true “dupe content” to generate a penalty. This is because some companies and websites offer numerous services and products that are very similar to each other. However, each product or service will almost certainly require its own URL in order to achieve proper SERP ranking. This means that if a company has 1,000 products- each on their own page but with only slightly different features, colors, benefits, etc, then the “duplicate content” penalty should be applied to the site.
Wrong again. Just because you sell 100 different types of button-down shirts doesn’t mean that they all need to be featured on one URL. The products or services may contain mainly the same content/descriptions/images, etc, but they still need to be featured individually for aesthetic, content management and ROI conversion purposes.
Google understands this, and so do most competent SEO professionals. Therefore, if someone’s trying to sell you on the duplicate content penalty, you should seriously question their expertise. To speak to an industry-proven professional content editor to get the facts straight for yourself, call the number at the top of your screen now.