8 Facts About Duplicate Content and Google

Real Estate Technology with Content, coding, marketing, host.

EDIT 12-Dec: We're talking about duplicate *content* in significant numbers. After reading the comments I want to clarify - reposting your AR article to your hometown blog is not duplicate content. Creating 10 blogs and posting the same articles to them every day, day in and day out is duplicate content.

Over the years I have addressed "duplicate content" at least 10 times here on this blog, another 5 or more times on Social Media Edge radio and no telling how many times at conventions and seminars where I have been speaking. 

It still comes up.

Here are the facts, Googlesque, about duplicate content:

  • Chances are none of you are guilty of overloading the Google indexing engine with duplicate content.
  • You can have a limited amount of duplicated content without penalty - for example you may have a "web presentable page", a "print formatted page", a "plain text page", and a "mobile optimized page" all with identical content on the same domain.
  • If you use duplicate content for the reasons listed above use the canonical page tag to help Google's indexing engine. For example if you have two pages of identical information at say http://icobb.com/landings/index.php and http://ahkse.com/homeloans/index.php and you want the icobb URI to be the indexed version you would put the following in the head of http://ahkse.com/homeloans/index.php: 
    <link rel="canonical" href=" http://icobb.com/landings/index.php"/>
  • Google *may* index only one of your pages with the duplicated content.
  • Google will certainly only pick one of your duplicated pages to rank higher than the others.
  • I have seen duplicate pages ranking in the top ten at least 6 times for the same content - this is claimed by Google to "not happen". The reason it does is because the other content on the pages is significantly different.
  • Keeping the above in mind Google suggests you don't even use content filled headers, footers and sidebars. In reality I haven't seen that impact as duplicate data.
  • If you publish 10 carbon copy blogs and you are ranking high on multiples your biggest risk is your competitor complaining to Google and having them de-index all of your sites without warning.

And directly from Google engineering:

Duplicate content on a site is not grounds for action on that site unless it appears that the intent of the duplicate content is to be deceptive and manipulate search engine results. If your site suffers from duplicate content issues, and you don't follow the advice listed above, we do a good job of choosing a version of the content to show in our search results.

What does this mean?

It means you're probably okay and no in any danger with Google unless you're posting every blog post 3, 5 or 10 times on the same sites. Even if you're doing it just two or three times only one is going to rank higher than the rest and if you get 3 or more in the top ten for the same content and same search terms Google may not catch you but your competitor just may complain!

Need me to look at your site and see if you have this and other necessary steps completed? Yes, even if you have WordPress you could still be non-compliant. Call me at 678-439-8683 or connect with me here.


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I started writing on Active Rain in 2006 when I was representing the mortgage industry. I am no longer in that industry and many of the older posts contain outdated information. Please do not contact me for LENDING or MORTGAGE questions but rather contact a licensed mortgage professional from your area. I have always been in marketing and branding and that is still what I do. Thanks for reading!


Re-Blogged 10 times:

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Real Estate Sales and Marketing
Square Watermelons - Working Outisde of the Box

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Cheryl Ritchie
RE/MAX Leading Edge www.GoldenResults.com - Huntingtown, MD
Southern Maryland 301-980-7566

I am going to read and reread this as I learn to use my new WordPress Blog. I am trying to figure out a system to use both Active Rain and my new WP product so this article is very timely to me.

Dec 12, 2011 02:15 PM #58
Ben Blonder
Broker/Owner, Keller Williams - Fort Collins, CO
Buyers, Sellers, Investors!

Great information on this! I was just starting to get curious! Thanks!

Dec 12, 2011 02:58 PM #59
Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude - Carlsbad

Thanks for the information, Ken. The clarification helps, especially after reading Andi's post.

Seems like there are some issues with duplicate content and AR (i.e., our AR blog and then posting on Localism and our Ar outside blogs), as well as possibly the reblogging.

Dec 12, 2011 03:00 PM #60
Ken Cook
Content, coding, marketing, host. - Marietta, GA
Content Marketer/Creator

For Nikesh and AR reposting on AR servers actually could be an issue. Posting the same content on your blog and on AR not so much. HOWEVER, you don't want AR to start using nofollow and noindex so it's important to work together to carefully navigate the issue. I personally never cared for the reblog feature because of the exact issues. In the Google results pictured above my post is number one but it could just as easily be number six. A "share" link that posts a snippet to the other blogger's blog would solve the issue of duplicating an entire post. A simple link displayed as the original post title, the first image in the post and 200 characters of content should do the trick. Additionally AR could require a minimum of say 500 characters of original content to be posted by the blogger sharing the link.

Donne - actually it proves his point. Google is indexing the original on my blog, the copy in the "featured" category (I'm guessing on that second one) and the reposts - this results in 7 duplicate posts in a matter of hours on the same domain. That's not cool.

Dec 12, 2011 03:19 PM #61
Nikesh Parekh
Trulia - Bellevue, WA
Technology Entrepreneur, Executive, & Investor

Hi Ken,

Duplicate content on ActiveRain is an issue.  We will be doing work in Janaury to fix the re-blog feature and to eliminate duplicate content on ActiveRain in January.  We will likely start implementing the right rel=canonical tags as well as changing the re-blog feature like you suggest. 

In general, I would like to see AR become a repository of high quality, original content, rather than a place for people to repost content.  The more Google views ActiveRain as a source for high quality, original content on real estate, the better for everyone.



Dec 12, 2011 04:15 PM #62
Nikesh Parekh
Trulia - Bellevue, WA
Technology Entrepreneur, Executive, & Investor

Hi Chase,

We are using SEOMoz and OpenSiteAuthority.org to manage and improve the domain authority of ActiveRain.  See below.  ActiveRain has improved its domain authority this year by focusing on the production of high quality content and improving social link sharing.  We are going to be eliminating duplicate content and implementing rel=canonical tags in areas of ActiveRain where content is reposted.

Below is a comparison of domain authority among real estate web sites.  As you can see, ActiveRain continues to be one of the domains in real estate from a domain authority perspective.

Check it out at opensiteauthority.org  Great way to see how yoru web site ranks and how it is back/linked.


Real Estate Domain Authority Dec 2011

Dec 12, 2011 04:28 PM #63
Leslie Ebersole
Swanepoel T3 Group - Saint Charles, IL
I help brokers build businesses they love.

Nikesh: when AR creates a robust environment with a consumer-friendly navigation system you may be able to create and retain a base of bloggers who use the platform to communicate with consumers. 

Serial presentation of posts is archaic. 

Don't get me wrong...AR has it's value and a role in an agent's marketing communications plan...but as the primary platform? Do you understand what the TOS means to someone like me who values the original content that I create....it's my content, not ARs.

I must be really tired....I'm seeing your comments as being very negative...perhaps this is a too complicated conversation to have in a comment thread, or perhaps a conversation that just shouldn't be had at all.

Dec 12, 2011 04:39 PM #64
Doug Bullwinkel
Envoy Mortgage - Roseville, CA
NMLS #281609

Thanks for a clear explanation on how this works and how to avoid some of the problems of duplicate content.  Great post and congratulations on your feature.

Dec 12, 2011 06:09 PM #65
Bruce Hicks
Best Homes Hawaii - Honolulu, HI
Your Lifetime Friend/Helper!

Ken, this was a grand informative write up. I liked this 8 Facts About Duplicate Content and Google.  I will mark this article as a KEEPER.  Merry Christmas or Mele Kalikimaka from the Land of Aloha.

Dec 12, 2011 10:01 PM #66
Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

As long as the Reblog feature is going to be improved, some attention to RSS might be included.  I don't see how one can be considered and not the other.  AR members complain regularly about "someone stole my content and believe it's a copyright problem when they are RSS enabled on their AR blog. 

When reblogging was introduced, I endorsed it as a simple way of syndicating our articles.  Perhaps snippets and a link would be more in order, with a significant minimum word count introduction. 

If, as suggested, Reblogging contributes to duplicate content, a simple solution would be to permit a minimum word count, I like that 500 word suggestion) introduction and a LINK to the article reblogged.  That would also eliminate the reader who responds to the original post on the reblog. 

It appears that the REPRINT of the original post on the reblog that's the problem. 

Don't throw the baby out with the bath water.


Dec 12, 2011 10:22 PM #67
Lyn Sims
RE/MAX Suburban - Schaumburg, IL
Schaumburg IL Area Real Estate

Yikes, this is making my brain split in half. I'll have to re-read this again.

Dec 13, 2011 11:11 AM #68
Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

Nikesh wrote:  "You can see that some times, "re-blogs" will show up higher in search engine rankings than the original."

Does the reblog of the original post show up higher in search engine rankings than the original?????

Or, as I believe, does the original post PLUS THE ADDITION OF THE REBLOGGER'S COMMENTS and SIGNATURE, ETC. show up higher then the original post. 

A post and a reblog are NOT COMPARABLE IN CONTENT.  The reblog has the advantage of the additional content.

Dec 13, 2011 10:14 PM #69
Ken Cook
Content, coding, marketing, host. - Marietta, GA
Content Marketer/Creator

I think limiting the reblog to the first several hundred characters should satisfy all regarding content duplication. Len is likely correct when she writes about the depreciation of duplicated content as the comments grow. The part of the content which is duplicated on a reblog is diminished in percentage as the addition (newer) content is added in the comments. However, many reblogs don't get comments so haveing a post reblogged 8 or 10 times with no comments on the reblog "could" result in duplicated content. With a limited number of characters - and I have no idea what that number would be - the reality of syndication still exists without the threat of completely duplicated content. Google's inspectors are sharp enough to figure this out.

Active Rain has a higher profile that most of us individually so issues that never affect us individually can and do affect us collectively. Nikesh has to be responsible to the members, guests and Google (the search community). I do recommend he begins with the members. They probably could afford me but I haven't been asked for help for several years. So there.

Dec 14, 2011 05:38 AM #70
RealSupport, Inc.
RealSupport Inc. - Palatine, IL
- Virtual Real Estate Marketing

Hi Ken,

Great blog! Thanks for sharing.

I think it's important to point out that while you don't get flagged for having a limited amount of duplicate content, that it's important to try and have as much custom content out there as possible. The fact is, Google favors custom content, so copying and pasting the same blog post onto two different sites won't "hurt" you, but it may not help you as much as having custom content in as many places as possible.

You many not be in danger with Google by duplicating content, but it IS better for your SEO to have everything be custom. :)

Have a great day!

Dec 14, 2011 09:59 AM #71
Debe Maxwell, CRS
www.AtHomesCharlotte.com | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC
Charlotte Homes for Sale - Charlotte Neighborhoods

Ken,  I think AR should hire you to help!  Your wealth of information that you've shared over the years, could be quite beneficial to the company!  Shall I put in a reference for you?!!  ;-)

Dec 15, 2011 03:10 AM #72
Andrew Mooers | 207.532.6573
Northern Maine Real Estate-Aroostook County Broker

Always good reading to help guide the blog making process, to make sure rough edges are smoothed, that the process is understood. Even though always changing, improving.

Dec 23, 2011 07:47 AM #73
Larry Bettag
Larry Bettag - Cherry Creek Mortgage - Saint Charles, IL
Regional Vice-President

Dude....you're so "way over my head" let's just say that I'm not worthy to claim that I know you!  Thanks bro!

Jan 29, 2012 01:51 PM #74
Ralph & Janet Henze
Ralph Henze Homes - RE/MAX Elite - Sherwood Park, AB

Hi Ken, do you know if there is any way to find out if a competitor complained to Google about your site?  Our website was steadily moving up in rankings for targeted key words, then suddenly we've disappeared.  We try to keep to all the rules but did post the same blog content on both our AR blog and our website blog. I really don't think it was a duplicate content issue.  

Jan 31, 2012 05:16 PM #75
Ken Cook
Content, coding, marketing, host. - Marietta, GA
Content Marketer/Creator

Ralph - there is no way to know if someone complained but I can almost assure you it wasn't duplicate content. I'd be happy to do an evaluation for you and see how close we can get to the real answer. It's only $70 and I guarantee you'll get way more value than that - or you get your money back.

Feb 02, 2012 03:56 AM #76
Ken Cook
Content, coding, marketing, host. - Marietta, GA
Content Marketer/Creator

To all those who continue to want to challenge my recommendations on duplicate content I thought of you this morning when I read this article: http://socialmediatoday.com/ginidietrich/637196/duplicate-content-two-ways-avoid-seo-problems

I don't think you're stupid or I'm better than you - I just don't want my friends to get caught in the spin cycle and get de-Googled.

Jul 24, 2012 01:33 AM #77
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