Duplicate content, or content posted to more than one site on the Internet, can give posters of duplicate content a negative penalty under Google’s algorithm. Google’s search algorithm determines when content is duplicated based on the date it was published, and, if a site republishes the content after this date, the republishing site is subject to a rankings downgrade.
You can track whether any content on your site is duplicated from another site using a service like CopyScape.com. The “Search for Copies of Your Page on the Web” is a free functionality, but a CopyScape premium account lets you search for text before you post it, potentially avoiding a penalty for duplicate content altogether.
The goal of Google’s penalization of duplicate content is to devalue the practice of automatically plagiarizing content through the mirroring of RSS or ATOM feeds.
Seedy article marketers have discovered ways to skirt Google’s duplicate content restriction without incurring a penalty via automatic blogging. Since Google considers any four words in order to be “duplicate content,” article generating software can take three different articles and generate multiple articles that combine words and phrases from the three articles without repeating the same four words at any point. Other techniques, like article spinning, use synonyms to replace as many words as possible.
These techniques usually result in poor content and offer nothing to a reader, so Google is finding new ways to beat thin or duplicate content. Their most recent step is through their Panda algorithm update. This update clearly shows that Google prefers unique, authoritative content and they are pushing hard to include this type of content in their search engine results.
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