Duplicate Content Penalty – How to Lose Google Ranking Fast
Duplicate content penalty. Ever heard of it? This penalty is applied by Google and possibly other search engines when content found on your website is largely the same as what is found elsewhere on your site or on other websites across the internet.
Search engine spam has been common ever since search engines were first invented. Search engine spam describes the practice of making changes to your website that gets you listed high in search engines at the expense of readability by humans. Years ago, you could get ranked high on a search term simply by repeating it as many times as possible in a document. The primitive search engines of the past ranked the importance of a keyword simply by counting the number of times a term appeared on a page. Today’s search engines are much more complex.
Google has been waging war against all kinds of search engine spam and especially against duplicate content in all forms. There are two main types of duplicate content that Google is concerned about.
The first is a website that simply lists the very same page hundreds or thousands of times with simply a few words changed. This is usually done to attain high ranking on a wide range of keywords. It is most often used to get ranked high on a whole bunch of keywords unrelated to your website but can sometimes be done by a site that is on topic but simply offering duplicate content.
The second type of duplicate content that Google is concerned about revolves around affiliate programs. It has been common practice for high traffic websites to establish an affiliate program. Affiliate programs themselves don’t worry Google. What it doesn’t like though, is for an affiliate program to take a template and then offer it to its base of affiliates to use. Some of the higher traffic websites end up with thousands upon thousands of duplicate websites all promoting the very same things and, according to Google, not offering any real value to the internet community. A website offering this type of cookie cutter website can easily find themselves de-listed by Google as happened to Template Monster a while back.
The third type of duplicate content is simply not included in the Google index. This is content that is found elsewhere on the internet at large. Google and the other major search engines are interested in gathering and cataloging as much quality, unique content as possible for human consumption. To this end, they look to minimize the amount of duplicate content they allow in their index. This is why creating a new website and simply filling it with third part content will rarely if ever result in high rankings in the Google index.
The solution? Don’t rely on duplicate content as your main method of driving traffic to your site. Should you avoid all duplicate content? Of course not. What kind of duplicate content is acceptable? Answering this question is easily another article in itself.
Columnist Joe Duchesne is the co-founder of http://www.yowling.com. Yowling offers an easy to use web site builder that lets you create a professional website in no time at all for as little as $21 a month.