Why Doesn’t Google Like Duplicate Content?

Because Google wants your website and content to add value.

If you’re just copying articles from, let’s say Wikipedia, and pasting the same content on your site, why would anyone need to see your website?

They could just go to Wikipedia for the original information.

What Does “Adding Value” Mean?

It means writing original content. If you provide your own opinion about a subject that is unique to the internet, then you are adding value to your website and Google search results.

why doesn't google like duplicate content

What Are Some Examples of Duplicate Content That Google Doesn’t Like?

Here’s a few ways in which Google doesn’t like duplicate content.


Example 1

Sites that copy content from other websites and publish it on their own sites without any added commentary or value.

Original Content

The brown dog ran from the park to the house. The dog was big and hungry.

Copied Content with No Added Value

The brown dog ran from the park to the house. The dog was big and hungry.

How to Fix

This is a pretty simple one to fix. Just don’t do it. Don’t copy content from other websites and publish it on your own site.


Example 2

Sites that copy content from other websites, slightly modify it by rewriting it using synonyms or spinners, and then publish the spun/rewritten content on their sites.

Original Content

The brown dog ran from the park to the house. The dog was big and hungry.

Slightly Modified Content

The brown canine jogged from the playground to the home. The canine was large and famished.

Since the modified content just reads as synonyms of the original content, there is no added value since it’s just saying the same thing.

For the record, I am guilty of doing example 2 on other websites over the years without much success. It’s not worth using spun(ish) content because you can dig a deep hole with Google that can take a lot of work to undo.

How to Fix

If you like a piece of content that you would like on your site, don’t just use synonyms or spinners to replace words and make it similar.

It will usually read awkwardly and unnatural and most likely won’t rank in Google. It might not even index in Google.

Instead, if you are not a writer, look into hiring a freelance writer and send them a link to the original content you like. Then explain in the job posting that you like the original piece of content, but ask if they can please use similar headings and bullet points to create a unique piece about the topic.

Sounds expensive to hire a writer?

Check out writing services like TextBroker or Articlez. There is a minimum deposit for each of those sites for around $25, but it can be worth it to make sure your content is original and not duplicated.


Example 3

Embedding content such as videos, images, infographics, or other media from other sites without adding much value to the user.

Original Content

Here is a great video about duplicate content.

Copied Media Without Adding Value

Here is a great video about duplicate content.

It can be very tempting and easy to just grab a bunch of YouTube videos or images from other sites and post and embed them on your site and think you are doing something good and unique.

But in general, it can be seen as low quality and duplicate content on your website by Google.

How to Fix

It’s perfectly fine to use embedded YouTube videos on your website. However, don’t just copy and paste the video description and then embed the video and call it a day.

Add some textual commentary about the video on your website to make your page more unique.

For example:

“Hey readers, here is a great video about xyz that I think you all will enjoy. To be specific, check out the points made at 2:19 and 5:43. They give great examples of abc. I hope you enjoy this great video and please drop us some comments on this post to let us know what you think about the video.”

(VIDEO EMBED)

The same can be with images or other media you want to (legally) use on your site. It’s fine to use them, but on your site, just add some original commentary to make your site unique.


Example 4

Duplicating almost the same content across multiple pages on your entire website.

This can be common if a site is targeting multiple cities, and the site uses the same content across all pages, but just swaps out the city name on each page.

Original Content

We offer the best pest control services in Skokie, IL. Contact us today if you want to get rid of bugs and pests for good!

Similar Page on Your Own Website

We offer the best pest control services in Chicago, IL. Contact us today if you want to get rid of bugs and pests for good!

While using one piece of local content and swapping out keywords like the city name on each page may have been a quick win strategy and ranked in Google in the past, it is more of a gamble now to use that method.

It most likely won’t work very well now.

Trust me, I’ve tried it on a website a few years ago. The best rankings I got with this way of posting content was maybe page 3 or 4 at the highest in various cities.

How to Fix

If you want to do that tactic, try to expand each page in any way to make it original compared to the rest. Or if possible, just consolidate those duplicated pages into one.


What Does Google Say About Using Duplicate Content?

According to a video posted by Google Search Central YouTube channel:

Duplicate content refers to significant blocks of content with or across domains that either completely match or are pretty similar to other content.

This isn’t always meant to be deceptive. It’s very common for sites to have some pages duplicated completely, say, across the www and non-www versions.

The quote above from Google is duplicate content but this entire blog post is uniquely written so that snippet of duplicate content doesn’t matter! I have added value to the quote/duplicate content.

So your goal would be to not have all of those versions indexed. Just make sure they are accessible if users get to that version of the URL.

Having a lot of copies of the exact same page can make Google crawling your domain harder.

Uses of Duplicate Content That Google Thinks Is Fine

This would be when parts of a page are copied on many pages within your website.

For example:

Maybe you have a three to four sentence description of your company or services in your footer that appear on every page on your website. That would be fine.

Do you have category or tag pages that include a snippet of the content from your main blog post? That would also be fine as long as you are just showing a snippet on the category/tag pages and not the full articles.

With that in mind, it’s possible Google would have a harder time choosing which of those pages to show in results for some searches.

What to Do If Your Site Has Multiple Copies of the Same Page

Tell Google which is your preferred URL using canonicalization. For more detailed info about canonicalization, check out this detailed guide here.

Takeaways About Using Duplicate Content on Your Website

It’s up to you if you want to try and use duplicate content to rank and manipulate Google search results.

But I highly don’t recommended it. Google knows your duplicate content adds no value to users, therefore, you will have an uphill battle trying to rank with duplicate content.

If you are an expert in your industry, like I am with local Skokie SEO, try writing original content! Writing about something you love about your company or industry in a unique way might come easier than you expect.

If that doesn’t work for you, try finding a local or freelance writer online familiar with SEO that can help you out. If you don’t want to do that, then call us to outsource SEO services with us.

2 thoughts on “Why Doesn’t Google Like Duplicate Content?”

  1. Great info! I copied a website’s content (just some of it) and my site couldn’t get indexed in Google but I fixed the duplicate pages.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *