Every time we read a list of website ‘rules’, somewhere in that list will be a statement about ‘avoiding the duplicate content penalty’. The official word from Google, for most websites, there is no such thing.
The duplicate content penalty exists only for sites that either scrape content, or go out of their way to produce duplicate websites. In fact, on the Google blog the closing paragraph is important:
In summary: Having duplicate content can affect your site in a variety of ways; but unless you’ve been duplicating deliberately, it’s unlikely that one of those ways will be a penalty. This means that:
- You typically don’t need to submit a reconsideration request when you’re cleaning up innocently duplicated content.
- If you’re a webmaster of beginner-to-intermediate savviness, you probably don’t need to put too much energy into worrying about duplicate content, since most search engines have ways of handling it.
- You can help your fellow webmasters by not perpetuating the myth of duplicate content penalties! The remedies for duplicate content are entirely within your control.
Having said that Google doesn’t penalize a site for duplicate content, where there is duplicate content, for example, the same content with different url’s, Google will:
- When we detect duplicate content, such as through variations caused by URL parameters, we group the duplicate URLs into one cluster.
- We select what we think is the “best” URL to represent the cluster in search results.
- We then consolidate properties of the URLs in the cluster, such as link popularity, to the representative URL.
When some one tells you to watch out for duplicate content penalty – don’t listen to them unless you are actually trying to rort the search engines. Duplicate content should be avoided, don’t get me wrong. However, don’t stress about accidental duplicate content, you wont get penalized.