Matt Cutts Explains How Duplicate Content Affects Rankings

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Matt Cutts, Google’s head of search spam, answers a question about duplicate content in his latest video where a user writes in to ask:

How does Google handle duplicate content and what negative effects can it have on rankings from an SEO perspective?

Matt begins his answer by saying it’s important to realize around 25 -30% of all content on the web is duplicate content. Google realizes duplicate content does happen, especially when quoting someone else’s content with a link back to the original post.

Not every instance of duplicate content is spam, and Matt says if Google treated all duplicate content as spam they would only end up hurting the quality of their search results rather than helping it.

Google handles duplicate content by grouping parts of the same content together and treating it as though it’s all one piece of content.

With that being said, Matt is careful to point out if all you do is post duplicate content in an effort to manipulate the search results Google reserves the right to take action on that kind of spammy activity.

Genuine, duplicate content that is not meant to be manipulative happens all the time on the web. Matt says not to stress out about potentially having pieces of the same content showing up in multiple places.

To listen to Matt’s full response to the question please see the video below:

Matt Southern

Matt Southern

Lead News Writer
Matt Southern is the lead news writer at Search Engine Journal. His passion for helping people in all aspects of online marketing flows through in the expert industry coverage he provides.
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  • Anderson Singhal

    Matt said 25 -30% of all content on the web is duplicate content. but in my views all newbies psted 100 % same contant. they should realize they cannot go further secondly we should write short articles instead of copying. Be safe with google.

  • Marko

    That means “duplicate content” is not so bad at all and I can copy content as long it is not excessive? Marko

  • James Halloran

    Is he talking about duplicate content as a whole all across the Web? Or just duplicate content on one site? This is where I’m confused. Any thoughts?

  • Michael

    Duplicate content is natural state but but Google has to recognize, if it is a spammy activity or ordinary occurrence. That’s all 🙂