Discussion 4: Does Google Penalize Duplicate Content?
CONTENT DUPLICATION QUESTION:
If I use a plugin to fetch articles (exactly the same) from a website into mine, and at the end of the article write "Source" and link it to the original article, what issues can I run into?
– Will Google penalize my site for this?
– Can the original owner of the website (from where I am fetching articles) send a notice?
– Any other?
Google won't penalise you for duplicate content but if the original owners file dmca violations, you can run into problems including your host removing infringing content, legal issues and a Google penalty. I'm not a lawyer and legislation is different between countries but copying and republishing an entire article, even if you quote the source, can be seen as copyright infringement.
Thank you. That's helpful.
You're simply copying works. That's not citations. You're in for serious trouble if you don't stop and take down those already published immediately.
Whenever you're discovered by the original owners. Be ready for huge trouble that may run your site into zero.
1: no Google won't penalize your site, Google will just show more authoritative result on that query, unless the original owners does a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and then your link would be de-indexed 2: it depends on what type of content your copying – There are types of content that comes under copyright protection and then there are other types of content that doesn't comes under copyright protection, I found this information on official US Copyright law/curriculum. According to what i have read Fact, ideas and discoveries doesn't comes under copyright protection, its the unique expression that comes under copyright protection. facts, ideas, methods, discoveries are never copyright because it would create monopoly, for more information you can read US copyright law from their official website. and citing source at the end would be of no use, as mentioned before if content comes under copyright protection you will have to explicitly obtain permission from copyright owner.
Thanks man. Does a news article come under the radar?
it depends. though, I would encourage you to do your own research, read copyright law or even better ask this from copyright lawyers.
That would be copyright infringement. No Google won't punish you for it, but the content owners can take legal action against you.
If your website is better and stronger than the website you're ripping off, Google might put you above them in Search Engine Result Page (SERP), is what Google does. If not, you might not even get indexed with those pages, and just thin your pagerank. But Google is not your problem here. For example, I never went to DMCA, but still managed to leave a lot of smarties without their affiliate accounts, hosting, even domains. Yet, never managed to get Google do something about such things.
That could be a violation of the terms of service of your domain name registrar which may prohibit the use of their services for copyright violations, among other things. So that opens you up to a dmca complaint against your domain name registrar which could result in you losing control of your domain name.
This could be a violation of your web hosting terms of service, many of which also prohibit copyright violations which can then result in suspension of your hosting should your web host receive a dmca complaint.
And of course someone could send the dmca complaint to Google, Bing, duck duck go, Yandex, etc etc etc but that would be the least of your problems because dealing with your domain name and getting that back could require a deposit from your domain registrar and some registrar's (not all) charge something like $500 before they trust you to return control over the domain.
You really need to be consulting an attorney about this and not asking for and relying on opinions from strangers on Facebook.
Most of the comments are quite bad, make a spinner in it, add Wikipedia, and other pictures and new article has born. don't listen to this, blablabla you copy my article. Do it and If get in trouble with owners of the articles u can delete that one they made DMCA on it if its 100% the same if u add few more things or delete things good bye. Its ur new article. Regarding google, seems they said u wont be punished. Good luck doing it this for ever and ever
Just deleting articles you steal doesn't protect you from any kind of copyright infringement claim someone wants to bring against you.
If you live in USA you might be "afraid" of that, for me I don't care on any Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). As long as you add a single thing into article or messing a bit with a spinner it would be perfect 🙂 and again probably its just me that don't care about any dmca of this. I see a lot of articles taken from big news companies and po🙂ing the source and have no issue. its free advertising, only mean people or people that has nothing are doing this. Do you think I 🙂re if someone take my articles, so what, take it and that's it. Someone posted something here regarding, first one that comes onlin🙂with an article its the owner of that article. really…🙂 all of us from here we are writing articles on one single specific niche🙂don't u say u have 10 degrees in different niches. cmon 🙂
what if I take from an article of 600 words, i take 400 and i post source for the rest of them, do you think people will care? that you stole their article? if they want articles to be "SAFE" post them into a safe place, like private forums, private newspapers and stuff like that, or paid papers like newyork post, at least you get some money for that article and not to be scared you will be stolen. I see you are into jarvis community as well, how do you think jarvis make the articles? by reading other articles and create one again under his own words to make it unique. so is not the same?
Friedman » Mircea
You are stealing content. Justify it however you want to feel good about it, but that's what you are doing.
Not doing it anymore 🙂 bc for my niche the spinner cant make the words correct. so I am doing all jasper and other tools to create new content, even that if the niche its too specific cant do much 🙂 but I am trying.
And again only USA people think like that, and I cant wait for someone to DMCA my articles 🙂 I am curious how they prove they are the owner of the articles, especially for my niche, they are talking with GOD, and GOD told them they own the words lol :))) crazy isn't?
Zahid » Friedman
It highly depends on type of content.
According to US copyright law facts, ideas, discoveries aren't protected by copyright because it would create monopoly.
Friedman » Zahid
We aren't talking about any of those things. We are talking about copying an entire page off of someone's site and publishing it on your site.
Mircea » Friedman
🙂 what if I try to get articles from 100 sites? and my site its "unique" with all that content? still copyright issues? 🙂
Friedman » Mircea
How would it be unique if you are stealing articles from 100 sites?
There is no "right" way to steal or "safe" way to steal. I'm done with this conversation.
Mircea » Friedman
))) but the site is still unique 🙂 its not 100% copying one site, its copying 100 sites, so Its unique and cannot be shot down by DMCA 🙂 as it took just 1% of your articles haha :))) ( i am messing with u Mike, i know whats your opinion on this )
Friedman » Mircea
That's not how copyright infringement works. If you copy just one article, it is copyright infringement and can be taken down by DMCA. You don't have to copy an entire site.
This is no a duplicated content, instead it is low value content. You must to add value.
How many people here saying that this is a rights violation, may I ask, all.of you copied content and was penalized by DMCA rights violation? Or you are only repeating something from somebody who thinks that?
Discussion 3: What Can Get You Penalized by Google? Is There No Duplicate Content Penalty?
THE SEO PUB CHAT –
WHAT CAN ACTUALLY GET YOU PENALIZED BY GOOGLE?
I see people asking all the time about will this or will that get my site penalized by Google. People have feared incurring the wrath of Google for everything from having duplicate content on their pages to changing a few title tags to using a favicon that was different from their logo.
You probably think I'm joking about that last one. I wish I were.
Over the years, many website owners have developed a deep fear of Google and seem to think that they are just handing out penalties left and right. The truth is, in the grand scheme of things, it is pretty rare for a website to get penalized by Google.
But what can bring the wrath of Google crashing down on your head?
Let's take a look at some actual examples of things that could get you penalized for.
The honor of the most famous penalty handed out by Google is arguably still held by now bankrupt retailer JCPenney. It was the first real SEO story to go mainstream.
In <year>, the New York Times published an article titled "The Dirty Little Secrets of Search". The gist of it was that someone could not figure out why JCPenney ranked highly for basically everything they sold. The NYT found themselves an SEO to take a look at it.
What they uncovered was an enormous link scheme. They found thousands of unrelated websites linking to JCPenney's web site. Many of the sites contained nothing but links. Many of the links contained highly descriptive anchor text.
As soon as the story broke, Google was shamed into action. Although at the time Matt Cutts claimed that Google's algorithms were starting to work against the site, they had no choice but to take immediate action. JCPenney was more or less banished from search results for several months.
When asked about it, JCPenny claimed they didn't know anything about the links (likely true) and immediately fired their SEO firm, SearchDex.
This was a scheme on a pretty massive scale. It wasn't the size of it though that ultimately brought on the penalty. It was the blatant obviousness of what they were doing.
Rap Genius was another one that got hit by Google for a link scheme. Rap Genius allowed bloggers to add links to its lyrics content in exchange for Rap Genius then tweeting the posts from those bloggers.
This little arrangement was brought to Matt Cutts' attention in <year>, on Christmas Eve, no less. On Christmas Day, Rap Genius was no longer ranking in the top page of search results for its own name and saw traffic from lyrics-related searches plummet.
Cloaking involves showing different pages to users than what is shown to search engine bots.
This has been going on for as long as I can remember. Does it still work today? Yes. Right up until it doesn't. Eventually Google catches on and the site will be penalized.
Probably the most popular case of this happening was BMW. It was one of the first penalties against a major brand. They were creating landing pages relating to the search term "used car" which were either cloaked pages or redirected to their home page when users hit them. Their penalty only lasted for 3 days.
This is another link penalty, but it is the site giving the links that generates the penalty. It's very common anywhere that users can sign up and leave links with little to no moderation.
You will see this most often on forums, guestbooks (yes, they are still around), social bookmarking sites, any site that allows you to create a public profile with links, and PDF submission sites.
Forums are especially a problem and without a good moderation process in place and a good mod team, you can find yourself quickly overrun with trash links.
Mozilla (the makers of Firefox) got hit for this one back in <year>.
Doorway pages are a bit of a grey area and SEO users' opinions of them seem to be a bit of a moving target.
According to Google, a doorway pages are pages that exist only to rank well for particular keyword phrases in Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs), while providing little value to the user.
The first half of that sounds like what most SEO users are trying to do though, right?
The most common example of doorway pages you will see are those used in local SEO for locations around an area. Lots of local businesses will have different pages set up to target searches in different towns around them. The content is pretty much identical, usually just swapping out town names.
Technically, these pages are classified as doorway pages by Google and could warrant a penalty. I said above they are a grey area because there is no denying that they work really well and Google has failed to take any kind of meaningful action against the practice.
THINGS THAT WON'T GET YOU PENALIZED
What are some common things that people think they are likely to get penalized for from Google, but in actuality won't bring a penalty.
Without a doubt, duplicate content immediately jumps to the head of this list. Almost every question I see asking about getting penalized by Google, involves some sort of duplicate content.
I am going to say this once.
There is no duplicate content penalty.
Read that again if you need to.
I don't care if you take an article from another site and post it word-for-word on your site. Google will not penalize you for that. Now, it is copyright infringement and can get you into all sorts of trouble with the content owner, but you will not get a penalty from Google.
When Google encounters the same piece of content in multiple places, they do not care who the original content creator is. It's a myth that Google prefers the original piece of content or can even identify who the actual content owner is.
What Google will do is rank the most authoritative version of that piece of content for any search query, and the other version will usually be relegated to the supplemental SERPs
While this may feel like a penalty, it is not. The moment your version of that piece of content is deemed to be the more authoritative version for a given search query, you will start showing in place of any other duplicates.
NEARLY DUPLICATE CONTENT
People also worry about duplicate content penalties if they are writing about topics that are closely related. I'll never quite understand this one, but no, Google will not penalize you for "duplicate content" if you write an article about "best sleep aids" and then another article about "best sleep supplements", even if those two articles mention some of the same solutions.
Wait? What? I thought Google penalized sites for buying links.
Yes. They certainly do, but I'm including buying links in this section because I believe there are some strong misconceptions about it.
Buying links is certainly against Google's ToS and they would certainly penalize your site if they knew you had bought links for the purpose of ranking higher.
However, unless you are going to send Google a copy of the paid invoice, a copy of the email exchange outlining the agreement to purchase links, or some other definitive and incriminating evidence, how would they know? How could they be certain that a link is any different from an editorially placed link on a page?
If you are careful in the sites you choose and in the anchor text you use, there is no way you would ever get penalized for buying links.
NOT HAVING ENOUGH NOFOLLOW LINKS
Another one that started as a small myth and just got way out of hand. Some people worry that if a large enough percentage of their link profile is not made up of nofollow links, that it is "unnatural" and Google will reign down fire and brimstone upon them for it.
Going back to around the time when Penguin was released, Matt Cutts did a video talking about nofollow links. In that video, he mentioned that out of all the links Googlebot crawls, only about 2-3% of them are nofollow.
Around that time, this stupid myth started popping up about how you had to have a certain percentage of nofollow links in order for you link profile to look natural to Google. Combine that with Google's scare tactics of trying to get people to add nofollow to outbound links that they didn't "trust", and now today it is not uncommon to see websites where 20-35% of their link profile is nofollow.
The TLDR of that story is SEO users F'd it up.
GETTING LINKS FROM LOW Domain Authority (DA) SITES
I can't believe I even have to address this one, but I have seen it asked more than once. There is a myth flying around out there that if you get links from sites with low DA, you are likely to incur a penalty to your site.
Besides the fact that DA is highly inaccurate and a terrible metric to base anything off of or the fact that Google has no idea what the Domain Authority (DA) is of any website on the internet, this is just a ridiculous idea.
Why would Google punish websites for naturally attracting links from other sites just because they have a lower Domain Authority? In fact, why would more popular sites link to a less popular site? If you are looking at DA for any reason, link are more likely to flow upstream, i.e. less popular sites are more likely to link to more popular sites than the other way around.
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Thanks for that great insights. But when I look at penalty points, it seems a bad SEO that hurts is possible.
For example if a competitor spamming unmoderated forums with your links?
This would be not good for your SEO… Isn't it?
If it was that easy to penalize sites, then go for it.
I don't say I plan to do this 😅, was thinking about that these penalties are out of control of any website owner.
So if Google punish you for example for cloaking, it's seems easy for competition to defame your site 🤷
Is there an easy way to inform Google to ignore such toxic links?
Friedman ✍️ 🎩 » Markus
If Google penalizes you for cloaking, that is your fault.
You can disavow links if you want, but I almost never recommend doing that. You are more likely to harm a site than do any good. Google is pretty good at just ignoring bad links.
I don't know why people live in such fear of competitors. It almost never happens. Most of the time, your competitors aren't smart enough to know how to do it properly and they don't have or want to invest the resources necessary to do any actual damage. Generally the places it does happen is in niches where 99% of the top sites are playing dirty already. Places like steroids, supplements, and gambling.
Discussion 2: Does Google Penalize Duplicate Content?
Mike Friedman 🎩
Mike's Tuesday Tips –
Continued from last week, here are a couple more Search Engine Optimization (SEO) myths.
3- Search engines, specifically Google, penalize duplicate content.
Technically, in the past when Google referred to duplicate content it was the same content showing up on the same site over and over again. Today, SEO users use the term to refer to the same content showing up anywhere online.
It's very common on ecommerce websites where there will often be different URLs that lead to the same content or products where the only difference in the description is a color or size change.
It can also happen when someone posts the same content across multiple sites, which is called syndication.
Google has repeatedly stated there is no duplicate content penalty, yet this myth just won't die.
That being said, duplicate content can cause some Search Engine Optimization (SEO) issues for you.
One issue is link dilution. If the same content appears on more than one URL, and links one of those URLs get is not credited to the other URL.
On really large sites, it can cause wasted crawl budget. You don't really need to worry about crawl budget unless your site is over 500,000 pages or so.
The biggest issue that happens frequently is duplicate content outranking the original content. You will find people complaining about this all the time. Someone scrapes their content, posts it on their site, and now they are being outranked with their own content.
Let's make one thing clear. Google does not know who the original owner of a piece of content is and Google does not care. When Google finds two identical pieces of content they will rank the most authoritative version of that content. Google doesn't like to show the same piece of content repeatedly in most SERPs, so the other version will usually get relegated to the supplemental index. It will be indexed, but just will not show up in search results.
Keep this in mind when guest posting or syndicating your own content on other sites. Yes, you may be getting a link, but you also may be unintentionally helping someone else to outrank your own site.
4- Long-tail keywords are easier to rank for.
Long-tail keywords are search queries that consist of several words and usually have lower search volume. There is a belief that long-tails are all easier to rank for than their shorter stem counterparts.
However, long-tails are more specific searches, so tend to be lower in the sales funnel. In other words, they are often "buyer keywords".
Because of this, they sometimes do get targeted pretty heavily by authoritative sites.
For example, if you take a look at the queries "workouts" and "workouts you can do at home", you will see there is a massive difference in search volumes, but their keyword difficulty (according to SEMrush) is about the same.
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Thanks Mike, speaking about duplicate content, I have many list posts ranking very highly. They are posts like "10 best burger restaurants New York". What's the best way to create new pages for those restaurants? Shall I simply copy the same content from the original blog post and create 10 new pages for those 10 burger restaurants? Or should I make small changes to the text and publish the restaurant page?
Think about the search intent. The content that is on a page about the 10 best burger joints is not going to be the same as what someone is looking for if they are searching specifically for one of those restaurants. So no, I doubt I would use the same content. I might incorporate some of it, but not just a copy and paste job.
Schieler Mew 👑🎩
I like your point about #4, as people commonly ask me if they should go after long tail keywords for their niche sites. My answer of course is always that it depends on the keyword difficulty, and long-tail keywords are not inherently easier.
I think this myth goes back about 8 years ago, when SEO users only tried to rank for seed keywords, and long-term keyphrases were ignored by a lot of individuals who didn't understand their benefits. Fast-forward to 2022 and most long tail keywords have been written for by now, in most major and profitable niches.
Do you believe Google has a grip on spun content yet? Or will?
Spun content isn't hard to identify. It generally reads like shit.
Micha » Mike Friedman
I agree, but I meant in terms of ranking, penalty, Google identifying it etc.
Mike Friedman ✍️ 🎩 » Micha
I really don't know if they penalize it or not. I haven't looked at using spun content since like 2010, and even then it was for some spammy projects with content on tier 2 and 3.
Micha » Mike Friedman
Yeah sites spin my content and rank for it so curious how Google handles that, thanks.
Mike Friedman ✍️ 🎩 » Micha
I don't think Google cares about "quality content" nearly as much as people think they do. Kyle's rhinoplasty and several other experiments have shown that.
Your readers certainly do though.
Discussion 1: Does Google Penalize Duplicate Content?
With all the talk about #DuplicateContent, I have a conundrum. I am building a site for a new client that is a distributor for a large manufacturer. If I copy verbatim the manufacturers pages that are essentially "online brochures" for their products, will Google penalize the new site or am I better off writing new "online brochures?"
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Google doesn't penalize duplicate content. That's a myth.
I wouldn't use the manufacturer's content without their written permission. That is copyright infringement.
Thank you Mike! That is what I was thinking too but wanted to make to ask people far more experienced than I. As the content is being translated from another language, there will be some variations but it is part of my proposal that the Client gets written permission to copy the Manufacturers content.
Joachim » Mike
It's not necessarily copyright infringement. It all depends on the distribution agreement.
Daniel » Joachim
Indeed. I would go as far as to say it matters not either way. I seriously doubt there is a single vendor out there that would have a problem with you using the manufacturer description for the products you have permission to sell.
Mike 🎩 » Joachim
I said using the content without permission is copyright infringement. If the distribution agreement gives you permission, then obviously it wouldn't be copyright infringement.
Mike 🎩 » Daniel
That's just poor advice. I would not rely on it being unlikely that a manufacturer would have an issue with it. I have worked with a lot of manufacturers. Some absolutely will not allow their content to be used. Some will, but there are strict restrictions and brand guidelines you must follow. And others do not care. A lot of it depends if they sell their products themselves as well or if they 100% rely on their distributors.
Much better to have this discussion with the manufacturer upfront than to potentially damage a relationship.
Daniel » Mike
Who said anything about relying on doubt? I would think it not need be said that you should ask and furthermore you are now taking this conversation and twisting it just for the sake of arguing. You are using the word content that is a completely different story. This entire thread is about the description of products. And yes the description is part of content but it is the one part that you are almost certainly allowed to use. So I made no finite statement, still haven't made any finite statement, but I was definitively accused of giving poor advice; how does that happen?
Of all the brands that I have worked with on this level Napoleon was the toughest. A 12 digit industry, at the time super hot rebranding efforts international conglomerate level type s***. And let me tell you something, get their description wrong and you will have a problem. Go trying to reinvent the wheel as I said and they will get pissed because they already did it perfectly and they don't want you f****** up their branding by trying to describe it yourself. We're talking about product descriptions not just blatantly running around and grabbing the manufacturer's content, ripping blog posts off and copying entire pages, no you can't do that obviously. Descriptions yes you can most likely. Most likely, Most likely = make sure. Like it did the first time I said it.
Mike 🎩 » Daniel
"indeed. I would go as far as to say it matters not either way. I seriously doubt there is a single vendor out there that would have a problem with you using the manufacturer description for the products you have permission to sell."
I disagree. I know of plenty of manufacturers that would take issue with their resellers using their content. I also know plenty that do not mind one bit.
Your statement encourages people to assume that the manufacturer won't care. That's the part that I'm talking about as bad advice. The proper thing to do would be to discuss it with the manufacturer and see in writing what they allow and do not allow.
The word 'content' changes nothing. The description created by the manufacturer of a product belongs to them. How it is used by others, or not used, is 100% up to them.
Daniel » Mike
Again you're doing it … This is about product description, not … never mind dude. You just keep doing your thing. I'll keep doing mine LOL
Mike 🎩 » Daniel
Product descriptions are still content. They fall under the same copyright rules as any other content.
Daniel » Mike
Okay so there's a whole application process between the brand manager and a prospect distributor. In that contract there will be terms and conditions. A lot of times they will keep it simple and request that you send them any content you create about them for their approval. I assure you they're not looking to see if you've duplicated anything but what they are looking for is if you have rewritten something or f***** up their branding, changed their logo, changed a tagline, on and on.
As a distributor of their product you are an extension of their brand. Explicit rights to sell the products gives you explicit rights to the description of the product. You become a representative of that brand.
What you're trying to say is the equivalent of saying, you have to figure out how to sell cars without saying it's blue, has a V6 engine, comes with halogen light bulbs, 20-in rims, and all leather interior. Are you trying to tell me I couldn't say this on my product description?? That I would have to somehow figure out how to reword that? Really?
If there is some sort of weird reason why you can't, it will be told to you during the application process and you will already know. Otherwise if you want to be extra safe simply ask and nine out of 10 times well for me 50 out of 50 it's always the same concerns, Napoleon, Weber, Cambria, Silestone, MSI International, Rutherford Equipment, I can go on and on these are Major brands international acclaim. I've worked with so many brand managers … You're arguing just to argue man. Stop.
Mike 🎩 » Daniel
Nice strawman there.
Your original statement said that manufacturers likely wouldn't care if you copy their product descriptions and use them and basically that it is not worth worrying about. Just go ahead and use them.
Now you are saying to run everything by their brand managers first, which is not what the discussion is about, but is something you should certainly do if your work agreement with them requires it. Any worthwhile brand will either want to see what you are publishing if their brand is mentioned or they will already have strict written brand guidelines that you have to follow.
The discussion started with can you use product descriptions directly from a manufacturer's website, and what I said was that you absolutely should not do that if the manufacturer does not allow it.
Mike 🎩 » Daniel
And this part
"What you're trying to say is the equivalent of saying, you have to figure out how to sell cars without saying it's blue, has a V6 engine, comes with halogen light bulbs, 20-in rims, and all leather interior. Are you trying to tell me I couldn't say this on my product description?? That I would have to somehow figure out how to reword that? Really?"
Is pure nonsense.
Nowhere did I say you cannot describe the product. I said you cannot copy the manufacturer's description word-for-word without their permission to do so.
Daniel » Mike
I give up.
Emerson » Joachim
Right, alot of distributors will allow re-use of content for those who are licensed dealers. It just depends on the specifics of the agreement.
There's absolutely no reason why you have to try and reinvent the wheel here in this circumstance. The reason why I use that metaphor is because the manufacturer made the product, therefore who better to describe the product, and since they've given you explicit permission to sell their products it's the same as giving you explicit permission to use their descriptions. Furthermore Google would not expect you to have to reinvent the wheel either. They're not stupid. They're not going to make you take something that's already perfect and change it make it less perfect just for the sake of it being different. This is why I like to say one very important guide every SEO should go by is the question what is natural and what is logical. It would be absolutely natural and logical for you to use the descriptions written by the producers of the products they have given you permission to sell.