When Google Gets Duplicate Content Wrong

There’s lots of hand wringing among publishers about duplicate content, and how other people who are authorized to syndicate, and scrapers who aren’t often outrank the original source, when Google gets it wrong. Here’s an example in action.


I have an agreement with Web Pro News, they can pick and choose any of my content that they like and republish it on their website. This is fully authorized and sanctioned by me, and I’m glad they do it. However the problem is with Google, their ranking algo IMHO places too much of a bias on domain trust and authority. Since WPN has more trust and authority than I do they will outrank me for my own content. I was looking for something this morning I knew I wrote and couldn’t find it. Eventually I did, but only after realizing Google wasn’t giving me credit. Here’s an example:

[“also trying really hard to get into bookmarking space with their latest attempt Google shared stuff”]

OK that wasn’t where I started, but I chose that multi phrase term to prove a point, Google sometimes gets it wrong. I’ve been blogging for quite some time, this domain has a decent amount of links and trust (even though MC has only linked to me once) and gets good traffic, but in comparison to WPN I’m lower down the food chain. So if I’m having duplicate content filters applied to me, imagine how much harder it is for newer domains.

This trust and authority part of the algo isn’t unique to just Google. I’ve had other stories that were syndicated on WPN make it to Techmeme, and their algo also didn’t give me credit.

If you are having dupe content issues what should you do:

  • If you are specifically writing content to be syndicated don’t put the exact same copy on your website if possible, write a different article about the same thing
  • If that’s not practical or feasible try to get a link back to the source article, preferably with the title or some other KW rich text
  • If you are pushing out a full blog feed and getting scraped, start using the RSS Footer plugin from Joost de Valk it automatically adds links back to the source post and your blog

You can also check out this post on SEL: Search Illustrated – How A Search Engine Determines Duplicate Content

PS: Please note nowhere in this post did I use the word penalty I only used filter. Yes there is a difference and no the two terms aren’t interchangeable.

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