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Google Continues to Address Duplicate Content Concerns
Wednesday, October 07, 2009
We have discussed duplicate content on numerous occasions. It continues to be a topic that is debated and discussed by many. I feel that this is due to some of the lack of clarity provided by the search engines. Does Google penalize a site for duplicate content or don't they. The fact is that if you are blatantly polluting the web with duplicate content then there is a chance that your blog or site can be removed from Google's index. While penalization is becoming rarer, the search engines may in fact determine that the authoritative page they index is different from the one that you would like indexed.

Google has stated:
However, in some cases, content is deliberately duplicated across domains in an attempt to manipulate search engine rankings or win more traffic. Deceptive practices like this can result in a poor user experience, when a visitor sees substantially the same content repeated within a set of search results.
Then gone on to state:
In the rare cases in which Google perceives that duplicate content may be shown with intent to manipulate our rankings and deceive our users, we'll also make appropriate adjustments in the indexing and ranking of the sites involved. As a result, the ranking of the site may suffer, or the site might be removed entirely from the Google index, in which case it will no longer appear in search results.
and finally:
Duplicate content on a site is not grounds for action on that site unless it appears that the intent of the duplicate content is to be deceptive and manipulate search engine results. If your site suffers from duplicate content issues, and you don't follow the advice listed above, we do a good job of choosing a version of the content to show in our search results.
However with the invention of the canonical tag, and the ability to use no index, Google continues to help site owners with duplicate content concerns. Recently Google added a great feature to Google Webmaster Tools, the ability to configure parameters for Google to ignore.

For years e-commerce sites had potential duplicate content issues with multiple versions of product pages. Google has now taken steps to clarify and ensure that site owners can have some control over duplicate content issues with multiple product pages URLs.

In order to use this new feature, you must have access to your site’s Google Webmaster Tools account. Once logged in, here are the steps needed to configure your parameters.
  1. Click on “Site Configuration” from within GWT
  2. Click on “Settings”
  3. Go to “Parameter Handling” section of the “settings” page
  4. Configure each parameter. You have the option of adding up to 15 parameters
  5. Click “Save”

Parameter Handling in GWTIt's important to note that Google treats these requests as suggestions rather than directives. However as Google suggests:
Dynamic parameters (for example, session IDs, source, or language) in your URLs can result in many different URLs all pointing to essentially the same content. For example, http://www.example.com/dresses?sid=12395923 might point to the same content as http://www.example.com/dresses. You can specify whether you want Google to ignore up to 15 specific parameters in your URL. This can result in more efficient crawling and fewer duplicate URLs, while helping to ensure that the information you need is preserved. (Note: While Google takes suggestions into account, we don't guarantee that we'll follow them in every case.)
We still recommend striving to create unique content is the way to go. It will be more beneficial to the user and your desired audience. If you are concerned with SEO, it will also help in that regard as well.


posted by Jody @ 12:01 AM  
  • At 8:22 PM, Anonymous Kris Malena said…

    Du;icant content can be a problem but I try to strive to not quote or reference anything.

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