Setting The Record Straight About Duplicate Content

Real Estate Agent with Dakno Marketing

It seems like every day you read a different opinion on Duplicate Content. "Don't do it! Your site will get banned!" some people say. I would always get hammered with criticism when I would chime in and tell them that it's simply not true and that most people don't need to worry about duplicate content penalties. After all, if this was Google's policy, then I could just make a copy of my competitor's site and watch them get kicked out of Google.

Syndicating Content

Last week the Real Estate Institute of Queensland Australia contacted me asking permission to reprint one of my articles in their print and online magazine. Should I have said no fearing Google may send me in Search Engine "time out" (located on search results page 173)? No way! After all, not even Google could stop me from adding "Internationally Syndicated Columnist" to my resume! Yet I hear people all the time talking about how bad Article Syndication is. I've never understood why people would think Google looks down on articles that are good enough to be syndicated.

Straight From the Horse's Mouth

I take a very boring approach to SEO topics like this. I only recommend information that comes directly from the horse's mouth. So when Matt Cutts, one of Google's top web engineers was asked about Duplicate Content, my ears perked up! His reply was "Honest webmasters often worry about duplicate content when they don't need to"

It's Original! (If You Don't Include the other 132,999)

This is a great exercise. Open up Google and then copy and paste a snippet of home page text from almost any template website such as Advanced Access. Or you can just click this link for the search results. What you will find is 133,000 websites that contain the same content. What can we conclude from this?

  1. These real estate agents do not understand the important of differentiating themselves from other agents. (But that's another post for another day)
  2. Google still indexes pages that contain duplicate content

Copy and Paste is not the Answer

Please don't misinterpret this post. I am not saying that you should simply copy articles instead of writing original content. That's not the point at all. In fact, duplicate content just for the sake of duplicating content provides no value to search engines or to web visitors.

Nothing Beats The Original

Here is another practical example. I copy and pasted into Google a sentence from one of my articles on my website. Click here for the results. You will notice that that the exact same article shows up 3 times in Google's search results. (Google is suppressing the last result because it's similar to what's already displayed). Here is a breakdown of the results in the order they appear

  1. The first result links to my website where the original article appeared
  2. The second result shows another company that has flat out stolen my article. (Does anyone know a good lawyer?)
  3. The third result is from a debunk website that we never did finish (wow I really need to remove that site!)

Looking at the order of the results, it looks like Google nailed it. First place goes to the original source. Second place goes to a company so lazy that they have to steal my articles. And third place to a broken website that shouldn't be online.

Kiss My Ranking Goodbye!

If you still insist that Google penalizes sites for duplicate content, then I am about to commit SEO suicide. I will be posting this exact same article to my other blog. If you think I am crazy, it gets worse. In addition to duplicating the content, I am going to tell Google all about it. Here goes…

Hi Googlebot!

I know you are probably so smart that you don't even need me to tell you this, but this article is just a reprint. You can find the original article on my other blog. Please don't be mad at me for duplicating this content. Please don't condemn me to Google Hell. After all, I didn't try to trick you into thinking this was original content. I hope we can still be friends!



I personally think this is exactly the way Google would prefer it. I simply syndicated the blog post and disclosed the original location. To me, it would be worse to tried to "game the system" by swapping paragraphs, rewriting portions of the content, and altering the title to make search engines think it's an original document.

A few Disclaimers:
As I stated above, fresh and original content is still king! I do not recommend duplicating your blog post. The only reason why I am duplicating this post is to prove a point. As you have seen from the above example, Google is a very smart search engine and will credit to the original source.

Google still penalizes sites that blatantly duplicates (or mirrors) sites and content with the sole intention of exploiting the search engines. This and other "black hat" practices should NEVER be used to gain rankings.

Some of you may notice that this post has been classified as "Members Only". I am only doing this until Google "crawls" the original blog post. I want to ensure Google knows about the original document first before the search engine sees the duplicated version.

I look forward to your comments.


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Tracy Santrock
Fonville Morisey/Santrock Realty Group, Inc. - Cary, NC
Raleigh - Cary Realtor/Broker In Charge

I've always been afraid to post an article in both places. This makes me feel better.

Aug 17, 2007 05:45 AM #32
Seth Callen
Farmers Insurance - Lawton, OK
Very interesting post.   Now, what I've been doing is having all my AR blogs posted on my Squidoo mirror, or at least a link back to the AR post from Squidoo.  Is this an example of inadvisable duplication?    It's all original stuff on AR. 
Aug 17, 2007 06:24 AM #33
JudyAnn Lorenz
Bar JD Communications - Mansfield, MO
Virtual Marketing Consultant

THanks for this strong information.  Sometimes we trick ourselves into worrying about the little stuff.

I like to 'reference' and link over to other blog posts.

Whatever Google does, I love 'em.  Isn't ranking connected to popularity.  If someone has a new real estate url, it needs traffic.  Maybe you will have to advertise about it somewhere else to get the people looking for you.  Then, go for longevity.  Being found in the searches is different. Google finds you in just a few days.  I can recall when this took a couple months. But, you have to have information on your website that lends itself to being recognized early on searches.

The Advanced Access type sitea, plus those connected to franchises don't give you a lot of leaway for keywords except in your own content.  If your office has an IT guy and you don't reallyi ever get to mess with your website, at least figure out where your profile is and beef that up with rich information that people need to know when looking for someone like you.   I've had clients who knew they were lucky to be able to click onto the internet.  The web designer at their office didn't do them any favors, IMO.

Aug 17, 2007 07:30 AM #34
Duane Hosek
Coldwell Banker - Lewis-Kirkeby-Hall - Rapid City, SD
Brad.........thanks so much for this information.  I have always wondered about this.  In the past, I have cut and pasted a blog I put on ActiveRain and put it on another blog of mine.  Then I go in and change a few adjectives in my blog.  For instance I would change, "It was a thrilling time in my life" to read "It was an enjoyable time in my life".   I thought this might trick google a bit.   What do you think?  Waste of time?
Aug 18, 2007 01:58 PM #35
Rosemary Brooks
BMC Real Estate - 209-910-3706 - Stockton, CA
The Mother & Daughter Realty Team
Lots of good reading - information we all need to know, thanks for posting it.  I will bookmark.  I just set up my own blog and was thinking how smart it would be to just put some of the blogs that I've written here on Rain over to mine.  Maybe I'll get more attention on my own blog.  By attention, I mean readers.
Aug 25, 2007 07:06 PM #36
Faina Sechzer
Henderson-Sotheby's International Realty - Princeton, NJ
Real Estate Expert - Princeton, Montgomery ,Hopewell, NJ
Brad, your post, like your many others, continues to live on and give me more and more work to I have to run now to my other blog and undo all the cutting and pasting from my AR blog. BTW, that's why I am quiting Advanced Access - same old, same old as everywhere else. There is an agent with Advanced Access who is always in the top of the 1st Google page and her web-site never works when clicking on some basic buttons. Go figure.
Aug 31, 2007 02:00 PM #37
Esko Kiuru
Bethesda, MD


Appreciate you settling this issue about duplicate content. What I've read is that you should slightly alter your text so Google won't hurt you real bad. What I sometimes do is write, or copy, part of my own blog from another site and then link back to the original site. Like cross-linking for additional SEO exposure.

Aug 31, 2007 03:44 PM #38
Darrel Quebedeaux
Evergreen Realty & Associates Inc. - Newport Coast, CA
Thanks Brad for clearing this up once and for all.
Aug 31, 2007 09:15 PM #39
Denise Shockey
RE/MAX Aerospace Realty - Cocoa Beach, FL
Cocoa Beach, Brevard County Florida Real Estate
Thanks for some really fresh helpful information! I have been catching up on all of your blogs.
Dec 15, 2007 06:30 AM #40
Mark Horan
Resident Team Realty, LLC & Toni's Property Management LLC - Saint Cloud, FL
"The Resident Chef" - Resident Team Realty LLC &
Brad- I have been posting identical content on both my blog post. I just learned that it isn't recommended. Thank You
Dec 15, 2007 06:46 AM #41
Sharon Simms
Coastal Properties Group International - Christie's International - Saint Petersburg, FL
Interesting comments, Brad, though a bit confusing as well. I'm looking forward to your answers to the above questions.
Dec 31, 2007 11:30 AM #42
Donna Paul
Keller Williams Realty Gold Coast - Dix Hills, NY
Long Island Home Specialist,All About Real Estate

Hi Brad...


I just came across this blog... WoW.. I always thought about re posting my blog on my point 2 website... Is it possible.....

Jan 01, 2008 05:13 AM #43
Josh Ross
RE/MAX PROS - Germantown, MD

Thanks for the great insight and information. I have always wondered about duplicate content and wondered how it was addressed so thanks for answering clearly a question I have pondered.

 Look forward to reading more from you! Hapy New Year!

Jan 01, 2008 05:52 AM #44
Karl Burger
ERA Beach Ball Realty - Pensacola, FL
Pensacola Real Estate News
Thanks so much for clarification. I've been pondering this topic, and read many different opinions on it. Yours was as clear and well written article as any of the others. Thank you.
Jan 01, 2008 12:17 PM #45
Lance Winslow
The Car Wash Guy - Malibu, CA
Yep, you are correct, absolutely and it is amazing how rumors get started and who starts them and why as well. Keep fighting the good fight. and as the most prolific online article writer in the history of mankind, I know from first hand experience that you are correct; sincerely, Lance Winslow
Jan 01, 2008 01:16 PM #46
Meg Zoller
Keller Williams - Houston, TX
Houston Fine Homes

Brad - I had not read this post before.  I'm so glad it was referred to today. I thought you could not duplicate posts with out penalty.  Thank you very much for the information.

Happy New Year!

Jan 01, 2008 05:55 PM #47
Stefan Scholl
Buyer's Broker of Northern Michigan, LLC - Petoskey, MI
Northern Michigan Real Estate


Great post.  Thanks for setting the record straight.  I will continue to play it on the safe side by slightly altering content on my multiple sites, if for no other reason than to try and highlight different keywords.

Jan 08, 2008 12:21 AM #48
Christopher Webster
Carrington Real Esate Services - Columbia, SC
Columbia South Carolina Real Estate For Sale
Great post~ I actualy triplicate my postings!!! I get rankings!!!!
Jan 11, 2008 04:09 PM #49
Brad Carroll
Dakno Marketing - Knightdale, NC
Real Estate Web Designer

Thanks all for the great comments. Always glad to help.

Lance: You are too kind!

Feb 06, 2008 01:11 AM #50

May 11, 2012 09:43 PM #51
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