The latest SEM video comes from our friends at Google. They have shared some insights into duplicate content and how they deal with it.
Google Search Quality Engineer, Greg Grothaus, presents the video as part of the Webmaster Outreach program.
Greg clears up one of the most common myths in SEM: the duplicate content penalty.
Here’s how Greg explains it:
I’ve seen evidence of people kind of get worried about this and thinking that [being omitted from the search results] is a penalty Google are applying on their site. What’s actually happening is that we’re looking at the query the users doing and we’re saying we want diversity in the results we’re going to show a user.
So if someone searched for “fluffy bunnies” we want to show, as maybe page one, the wikipedia article on fluffy bunnies but we don’t want to show as page 2 the print version of the same article with the exact same text. So what we’re doing for that specific query, we’re omitting the print article.
How can you combat this? Here are some suggestions:
Don’t attempt to manipulate search engine rankings by deliberately duplicating content. If the content is changed in some way or additional value is added, then this is ok. But don’t just copy another website word for word, Google see this as a big no-no
Don’t dilute your linking by backlinking to several URL versions with the same content.
Make sure your URLs are user-friendly in the search results. URLs with useless parameters may offset branding efforts and decrease usability.
Make it easy for Google to crawl you site. More time spent crawling the same content means less time to discover the important content.
Pick one “canonical’ URL for each page and ensure you link consistently within your site.
I have posted Greg’s video here, so you can check it out yourself. It’s about 15 minutes in length, so you might need to grab yourself a coffee and settle into your chair.
Do you have any other suggestions to avoid the dreaded duplicate content issues? If so, we would love to hear them. Feel free to share your tips in our comments section below.
Courtney is an online marketing and communications specialist at ineedhits - a leading search engine marketing firm with over 16 years experience. Courtney has been living and breathing online marketing for over 5 years. She specializes in web and communication marketing, while providing news and opinion to online marketing communities.