I’ve been blogging for a number of years now and this is a topic which people still talk about today…
Will Google “penalize” my site or article because there are duplicate copies of my article out there?
Most people don’t realize, however, that this isn’t a proper question to ask, and here’s why – because there’s no “penalizing” going on here, just evaluation.
Take for example two airplanes built for speed and are going to race each other.
Airplane A was built by me and Airplane B was built by you. We both bring our unique experiences to the table and build as fast of an airplane as possible.
Next the two planes race and yours beats mine.
Damn! Thought I was going to win…
So let me ask you this: Was my plane “penalized” because it lost?
I mean it didn’t win, but it wasn’t penalized for anything. It lost because it wasn’t built better / faster.
Now let’s look at how this relates to our duplicate content issue
Let’s take this article you’re reading right now. Let’s say I published it last week and after reading it today you loved the article so much (why thank you) that you decided to email me and ask me if you could republish this article on your own blog, word for word (this actually happened to me with this blog post here).
Now after publishing my exact same article on your blog, Google realizes that there are two of the exact same articles in its index, one from your blog, one from mine.
What Google DOESN’T WANT is for someone to type into Google something like, “Will having duplicate content penalize my article?” and every result returned are copies of my article but from different websites.
I mean, who would use Google if it worked like that, right?
Google only wants to return ONE copy for everyone to see and click on. So then ideally the top ten returned results would be all articles on the subject, but different articles.
Now back to our example of you republishing my article onto your blog.
Who’s article will Google want to return when that person above types that search into Google?
The article which is more popular. Now more popular could mean a couple of things to Google, like:
- Your blog is much more “important” in Google’s eye’s than mine (high PR)
- Your article goes viral and attracts 200 links while my article has 0 links to it
So now your article is the one which gets “returned” in Google Search when someone searches for “Will having duplicate content penalize my article?”
Yes, mine is still out there – not penalized, just beat. Beat by your article. Your article became more important than mine because everyone linked to it and no one linked to mine.
Yours won the airplane race.
UPDATE: Here’s a video I uploaded to YouTube to help you visualize what I’m talking about.