Duplicate Content is Not a Negative Ranking Factor – Google’s John Mueller
Duplicate content doesn’t count negatively against a site in terms of search rankings, states Google’s John Mueller.
Google’s John Mueller clarifies a misconception about duplicate content, saying it’s not a negative search ranking factor.
Having equivalent content repeated across multiple pages isn’t something that might cause a site to rank lower in search results.
Mueller says it’s normal for sites to possess a particular amount of duplicate content. Google’s algorithms are built to handle it.
He touched on this subject last week, but it’s mentioned again during this week’s Google Search Central SEO office-hours.
Duplicate content may be a topic that often comes up amongst SEOs, and it’s something many practitioners check for when auditing a site.
Does it impact search rankings? If yes – to what degree?
That’s what Davor Bobek, Manager at Blue Glacier, asks Mueller during this week’s office hours.
Bobek owns a site about car parts where descriptions of parts are repeated in multiple places. He wants to understand if there’ll be a negative impact in search results.
See Mueller’s response below.
Google’s John Mueller on Duplicate Content
Mueller clears up the misunderstanding of duplicate content, saying it’s not something that features a negative ranking score related to it.
If entire pieces of content on a site are duplicated then Google will rank one and not show the opposite. Multiple copies of an equivalent page don’t send negative ranking signals.
Hear the complete discussion within the video below:
Duplicate pages can bloat a site and eat up crawl budget, but that’s an entirely topic that isn’t discussed during this video.
If sections of content are repeated throughout a site, like content within the header or footer, Mueller confirms it’ll not send negative ranking signals either.
“With that sort of duplicate content, it’s not such a lot that there’s a negative score related to it. It’s more that, if we discover precisely the same information on multiple pages online, and someone searches specifically for that piece of data, then we’ll attempt to find the simplest matching page.
So if you’ve got equivalent content on multiple pages then we won’t show all of those pages. We’ll attempt to pick one among them and show that. So it’s not that there’s any negative signal related to that. during a lot of cases, that’s quite normal that you simply have some amount of shared content across a number of the pages.”
To illustrate how normal duplicate content is often, Mueller goes on to offer examples that folks run into all the time.
Online shopping may be a vertical where content is repeated everywhere. It’s common for retailers to sell an equivalent product, and therefore the product pages likely share an outsized amount of equivalent content.
Website footers technically qualify as duplicate content, Mueller says, but that does not drag when it involves search rankings either.
“A really common case for instance is with eCommerce. If you’ve got a product, and somebody else is selling an equivalent product, or within an internet site maybe you’ve got a footer that you simply share across all of your pages, and sometimes that’s a reasonably big footer. Technically that’s duplicate content but we will quite affect that. in order that shouldn’t be a drag .”
Google isn’t getting to interpret negative signals from crawling a product description that appears elsewhere on another retailer’s site.
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