What Is This Duplicated Content Everyone Is Talking About?
Over the past few weeks I have seen conversations about the “Dangers of Duplicated Content”. In order to fear duplicated content, one must understand what it actually means. In the most recent 2011 Google General Rating Guide, they mention that:
“The website www.answers.com contains content copied from Wikipedia.org and other dictionary and encyclopedia sites, but is not considered to be a low quality site because the content is well-organized and intended to be helpful for users. Similarly, there are pages on medical information sites that contain copied content. If the page is well-organized and appears to be designed to be helpful for users and not just to display ads for users to click on, it should be rated based on how helpful the content would be for users.”
So in regards to the information above if the content is relevant to a user, then even through the content may be duplicated, is o.k. in the eyes of the algorithm. But to provide the best search experience, search engines will rarely show multiple, duplicate pieces of content and thus, are forced to choose which version is most likely to be the original (or best). They will do this through the other aspects of the algorithm, and not just the actual content of the site.
So is duplicated content going to kill your site’s ranking? No. Just the page with the duplicated content may not appear within the search results.
Will someone stealing your content hurt your site’s ranking? No. It will not effect your site in a negative way, but it does frustrate contractor’s that content is stolen, and thus that is a copyright issue. Not a search engine optimization issue.
According to Google’s Webmaster Tools: 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 you are concerned about duplicate content on your site, or stolen content, my suggestion is to use Copyscape. It is a good tool to use.