In the video above (June 17 2016), Google’s Andrey Lipattsev was adamant: Google DOES NOT have a duplicate content penalty.
It’s a good video for a refresher on the subject of duplicated content on your site.
He clearly wants people to understand it is NOT a penalty if Google discovers your content is not unique and doesn’t rank your page above a competitor’s page.
Also, as John Meuller points out, Google picks the best option to show users depending on who they are and where they are. So sometimes, your duplicate content will appear to relevant searchers.
This latest advice from Google is useful in that it clarifies Google’s position about duplicate content seo advice. which I quickly paraphrase below:
There is no duplicate content penalty
Google rewards UNIQUENESS and the signals associated with ADDED VALUE
Google FILTERS duplicate content
Duplicate content can slow Google down in finding new content
XML sitemaps are just about the BEST technical method of helping Google discover your new content
Duplicate content is probably not going to set your marketing on fire
Google wants you to concentrate signals in canonical documents, and it wants you to focus on making these canonical pages BETTER for USERS.
For SEO, it is not necessarily the abundance of duplicate content on a website that is the real issue. It’s the lack of positive signals that NO unique content or added value provides that will fail to help you rank faster and better in Google.
A sensible strategy for SEO would still appear to be to reduce Googlebot crawl expectations and consolidate ranking equity & potential in high-quality canonical pages and you do that by minimising duplicate or near-duplicate content.
A self-defeating strategy would be to ‘optimise’ low-quality or non-unique pages or present low-quality pages to users.
Duplicate Content SEO Best Practice
Webmasters are confused about ‘penalties’ for duplicate content seo advice, which is a natural part of the web landscape, because Google claims there is NO duplicate content penalty, yet rankings can be impacted negatively, apparently, by what looks like ‘duplicate content’ problems.
The reality in 2016 is that if Google classifies your duplicate content as THIN content, or MANIPULATIVE BOILER-PLATE or NEAR DUPLICATE ‘SPUN’ content, then you probably DO have a severe problem that violates Google’s website performance recommendations and this ‘violation’ will need ‘cleaned’ up – if – of course – you intend to rank high in Google.
Google wants us to understand, in 2016, that MANIPULATIVE BOILER-PLATE or NEAR DUPLICATE ‘SPUN’ content is NOT ‘duplicate content’. Duplicate content is not necessarily ‘spammy’ to Google. The rest of it, is.
At the ten minute mark in a recent video, John Mueller of Google also clarified, with examples, that there is:
“No duplicate content penalty” but “We do have some things aroundduplicate content … that are penalty worthy“
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