Is There a Penalty for Duplicate Content?

Just the other day, a colleague of mine said to me, “Did you know that Google is penalizing the original publisher of an article that’s been duplicated by others?”

This both puzzled and intrigued me, so I did some research and the overwhelming consensus is that there is no such thing as a “duplicate content penalty.” At least, not in the way most people use the word ‘penalty’ regarding SEO rankings.

Many different factors result in duplicate content, but one statement is true for them all: Duplicate content doesn’t exist unless there’s a link to it. So if sites are deemed to have duplicate content then it’s because there’s at least one link to the same content at different URLs.

Rest Easy, Serious Penalties for Duplicate Content is a Myth!

Duplicate content has been and always will be a natural part of the Web. It’s nothing to keep you up at night. If your site has some duplicate content for whatever reason, your site is not going to fall victim of the wrath of the Google gods. They’re not going to banish your entire website from ever showing up for relevant searches.*

That said, a penalty of sorts, does exist, but only under certain situations. Examples that can get you penalized for duplicate content are:

– If you’re leaching or scraping information from other sites and republishing it without adding any additional value to the information.

– If you create multiple pages.. subdomains.. or domains with substantially duplicate content.

It’s really about link popularity – that’s what suffers from duplicate content. For instance, if an article has five links into it and that page of content only loads at one URL, then all five of those links will flow their link popularity – a positive SEO outcome. But imagine that same article has five links pointing to it at five different URLs. Each of those duplicate URLs for that same piece of content now get a single link’s worth of passed link popularity – not so hot!

How This Impacts the Lose The Back Pain Affiliate Program

When it comes to your participation in the Lose The Back Pain affiliate program, it’s preferred, and very much encouraged, that you link to one of our many back pain articles rather than republish them. BTW, if no affiliate link exists to a particular article, then contact me and I’ll create the affiliate link for you.

Most importantly, if you do want to republish one of our articles, it’s important that you add more value to the article. Rewrite it with your voice and use an ‘angle’ aimed at what your audience is most interested in.

*For more on this topic, directly from Google Webmaster Central, you may want to refer to these articles:

Demystifying the “duplicate content penalty”

Duplicate content due to scrapers

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