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Avoid Duplicate Content by All Means

Updated on October 19, 2019

I first published the article below on May 11, 2010. Over 9 years ago. Most of what I said then, especially the topic, remain the same. However, some things have since changed. I’m going to write my comments about the sections that have changed below the appropriate paragraph in blue so you can see what has changed.

Google rankings of many websites suffer greatly because of a phenomenon called “duplicate content.” One of our clients, cryoserver.com was penalized (red-flagged) for this particular reason prior to signing up with us. The site was ranked on page 13 of Google SERP’s for one of their main keywords.

Duplicate content refers to “substantive blocks of content” that match or are similar to “content within or across domains”, according to Google webmaster central. Google simply reduces the ranking of both pages/websites if it notices similar content being posted.

Today, in most cases, Google recognizes which content is the original and only reduces the rankings of the copied version. Now, this is not always true. So, if you see your site’s content has been copied, it’s best if you rewrite your site’s content.

Here are some examples of duplicate content and tips on how to resolve them:

Mirrored Sites

Having mirrored sites refers to the same website being hosted on two or more different domains. This was basically what cryoserver.com had done. They had their site hosted on cryoserver.com as well as forensiccs.com.

Use a domain-level redirect from one domain to the other to resolve the mirrored sites issue. Also, use 301 redirects for any linked-to web pages within the redirected domain.

We asked cryoserver.com to redirect the mirrored domain to the main one. After only one week, Google removed the red-flag and now their site ranks on the 3rd page (some SEO work is still needed to get them to the first page).

The same for-sale items on e-commerce Web sites

This is very common when it comes to e-commerce sites. Many URL’s are dynamically created and linked to from the home-page or other pages. Or simply, one product is placed within different categories. To resolve this issue, you should avoid dynamically building your pages and use a different description even for the same products if they’re placed on different categories (having different URLs).

Copied text to be placed on competitors websites

If someone copies your text and places it on their site, your site could be penalized (flagged) by Google spiders for having duplicate content. This doesn’t happen too often, but when it does, it reduces your site’s rank on Google dramatically. To resolve this issue, you should contact the site that copied your text and ask them (by using all means) to remove the stolen text from their site.

If they don’t comply, you should just rewrite your own content (painful, but it’s easier and less expensive than hacking the other site and removing your text).

Print-only versions of webpages

Avoid print-versions if at all possible. If you cannot, use a “no-follow” tag wherever you link to a print-version copy of your webpages.

This issue is mute as sites don’t have print versions anymore.

Web pages that generate a mobile-friendly version

Similar to above, use “no-index” tags so Google spiders don’t index these pages.

If you have any other questions, don’t hesitate to ask. We will respond to all questions in a timely manner.

Avoid Duplicate Content by All Means was last modified: October 19th, 2019 by Ali Husayni
  • Fabulous, what a webpage it is! This website
    gives useful facts to us, keep it up.

    Lacey 7 years ago
  • Good day! I could have sworn I\’ve visited this web site before but
    after looking at some of the posts I realized it\’s new to me.
    Regardless, I\’m definitely happy I discovered it and I\’ll be book-marking it and checking back often!

    Anonymous 7 years ago
  • Really nice and proper answer i got from your blog, other bloggers just making money and don\’t have interest in answering my questions in the right way. Thanks @Ali Husayni

    Technology 11 years ago
  • No, that\’s not duplicate content although WP creates two exact pages with the same content. However, Google understands well how WP works and doesn\’t penalize you for adding two categories to one article/post. This is also true with the main blog page (your entire post is shown on the main blog page AND each post has its own page as well).

    Ali Husayni 11 years ago
  • Hi My blog is wordpress blog, and normally use to assign 2 different categories to 1 article, because both categories are suitable for it. Please tell me is it duplicate content or not? My category HOW-TO and Windows contains almost same articles in them.

    maddy 11 years ago
  • I have noticed so many times that newbie bloggers & internet marketers copy content from authority blogs and put it to their own blog without changing even a word. This doesn\’t help anyone and it is so annoying.

    Things you have mentioned in this article are really what actually has happened with me or to my blog several times. Excellent post.

    Anirudh Bahadur 11 years ago
  • Thank you sir for the info. Actually I was really confused about what duplicate content is. but after reading your post, my doubts are all cleared. It is really useful for beginners.

    mithun 12 years ago
  • Really great breakdown of duplicate content. I really like these changes as it helps the filter out bad sites.

    mogawk 12 years ago
  • @Martin

    Good question.

    I know for a fact that Market Wire syndication of your submissions DOES NOT fall under duplicate content issue. But I cannot say the same thing for other syndications.

    Ali Husayni 12 years ago
  • When you say Market Wire re-submits your article to multiple sites, of course, this applies to most if not all PR services. Is it safe to assume then that this does not fall under the category of duplicate content? I imagine the answer has to be that it does not but I was also wondering about syndication of articles to social bookmarking sites. Is it safe to assume that the same article being OnlyWired out to dozens of sites for posting also will not fall under the category of duplicate content?

    Martin 12 years ago
  • @Martin
    Good questions…

    1. Submit to sites with better PR. Press release sites provide you with a better bang for the buck. Market Wire in my opinion is at the top of the list (they do re-submit your article to multiple sites, but some rank well on Google News.) Just a quick note: they normally do not accept articles – only press releases.

    2. I agree with you. It\’s better if you can upload HTML code, but all of these sites allow you to add your text-link. So, you\’re good with any of them.

    3. Don\’t spend lots of time preparing your articles/releases. You can hire a writer (or us) to write your articles/releases for you for $150-$200. We provide you with 3 different versions for 3 different sites.

    Ali Husayni 12 years ago
  • @Martin

    also see…


    Ali Husayni 12 years ago
  • Thank you. I had visited and read both of these pages before. I am still however in a quandary over 2 fundamental matters:

    1. These lists are great and much appreciated but with so many choices, I am still left wondering where best to submit. If the articles/releases must be changed entirely from one to the next to have a positive SEO effect, then can I assume that that means that one good article in my field of expertise that I\’ve slaved over to make sure it is high quality, well written and free of spelling/grammatical errors should not be submitted to more than one site even if submitting that same article once to an article directory and then again later to a PR site – 2 different formats? Should I just choose one or the other and if yes, which will deliver the most \’bang for the buck\’?

    2. Nowhere have I read any authoritative source with regard to this anchor text/hyperlinking issue.

    If an article directory or a PR site does not offer the option of uploading HTML source code but rather only text, how would just text be of any benefit from an SEO standpoint? Without visiting each of the sites on the lists and wading through their submission processes, I have no way to know which sites fall into which category. Does it matter in your opinion? To me it still seems it would be far preferable to submit to sites which allow uploading of HTML source code. I realize this may seem like \’paralysis of analysis\’ but I hate to labor over an article and have one good shot at submitting it and then submit it somewhere that it does not get picked up and generate any valuable backlinks or traffic to my site.

    Your advice is greatly appreciated.

    Martin 12 years ago
  • A corollary question I have is with regard to anchor text/hyperlinking. I have visited a number of PR sites which do not offer the option of uploading HTML source code but rather only text. Is it fair to say that it would be far preferable to submit to sites which allow uploading of HTML source code? How would just text be of any benefit from an SEO standpoint?

    Martin 12 years ago
  • Thank you. That being the case, I\’ve taken great care and invested a fair bit of time to author a well-thought-out, informative, non-spammy article. What free submission site – press release or otherwise – do you recommend submitting it for the most positive effect?

    Martin 12 years ago
  • @Martin
    Martin, thanks for your question. They articles/releases must be changed entirely if you want them to have the positive effect you\’re looking for.

    Ali Husayni 12 years ago
  • In the interest of boosting my site\’s rankings, I am cobbling together articles for submission to article directory sites, as well as press release sites.

    Would submitting the same article to several sites be considered duplicate content?

    If yes, to what degree should the content vary from article to article?

    Thank you.

    Martin 12 years ago
  • @Rua
    It doesn\’t matter if everyone is copying one-another. In Google\’s eyes they are all duplicate and thus have no value to the search engine. If you want to stand out, write fresh, quality content.

    Ali Husayni 12 years ago
  • Hi Ali, thanks for the reply, i only just saw it now.. so any idea on how much would have to be done to a site then so as it isn\’t considered to be a mirrored site by google? The sites in question for me are all in the cannabis seeds industry where basically everybody\’s pages have the same duplicate content copied from the next person\’s page, so would you say that because of this, would i have a better chance of not being penalized too badly?!

    Rua 12 years ago
  • What about companies that have dealers in different markets. I have seen them use templates of the company site, customized with the local dealer\’s info. Much of the content remains the same from dealership to dealership. Is this likely to be a problem?

    Dick 12 years ago
  • Yes. Google would penalize one of the sites that is mirrored – usually the one they index second.

    Ali Husayni 12 years ago
  • Hey, what are your views on having mirrored sites that target different keywords? Do you think google would still penalize them, even if the h1 tags and a few words were changed to suit the keywords?

    Rua 12 years ago
  • I like this information , thanks for sharing

    Khuyen mai 13 years ago
  • in my blog, I create a post and take 1st 3 or 4 lines in the homepage and then \”read more\” link. is it not a duplicate content, which 1st 3, 4 line posted in home page? what can i should, without putting a different content+read more in home page

    review 13 years ago
    • That\’s not considered duplicate content. But I recommend you use Word Press platform.

      Ali Husayni 13 years ago
  • what i am doing is copying contents from e books, some of them are shown on the google top page. i am focusing very low ranked keywords with upto 1000 searches, and least competition

    Tahir 13 years ago
  • We are working on a website for a client that has independent dealers. They want to offer the dealers a way to have a customized version of the parent company\’s site. They would show up as example.com, dealer_1.example.com, dealer_2.example.com, etc. The sites would be the main corporate site with each dealers company name and contact information, as well as some custom copy. Is this likely to trigger duplicate content issues?

    Dick Angel 13 years ago
    • Indeed. To avoid the duplicate content issue, you need to place a nofollow, noindex tag in the header part of the site.

      Ali Husayni 13 years ago
  • @Hemant
    Two things:

    1- Place the text \”before\” the table if you can.
    2- Change some of the wordings on the table without changing the meaning:

    \”Management System for Image Galleries \” instead of \”Image Gallery Management System\”

    Ali Husayni 13 years ago
  • Can you please explain what you mean by \”dynamically generated pages\”? Does WordPress dynamically generate pages? Are you saying we should be using HTML pages?

    Also, I\’m still having problems with comments appearing on every page of a post in WordPress, even though I have the newest version 3.1. Any suggestions?

    Thanks for a great site.

    Anti-Aging Health 13 years ago
  • If you could have a look my website.

    Hemant 13 years ago
  • I like this information , i am new to Google advertisers so i also want how can i make more money from it

    Shridha 13 years ago
  • I am a hosting reseller. I have my own domain for this and a site too. But like many providers I have a so called reseller site/online shop with the parent hosting company. I have copied the hosting plan (table) and used it in my main site\’s hosting plans page. It later provides a link to go to the online shop.

    Do I need to change the content of my page? Not all matter is copied, only the table showing features and pricing.

    Hemant 13 years ago
    • It\’s a fine line. If you can change the table and have your own table, perfect. If not, at least surround the table with lots of original content.

      Ali Husayni 13 years ago
  • Very good information. Duplicate content is a problem we must avoid, you can see the solution that I created to minimize its effects.

    I hope this helps.

    Vincent 13 years ago
  • Dear Ali,
    I read your article, thank you.

    But I have seen websites not duplicated …but quadruplicated and they all index well on Google.

    I am interested to know how they are doing it.
    Any idea ?


    peles iosif 13 years ago
  • That is very good comment you shared.Thank you so much that for you shared those things with us.Im wishing you to carry on with ur achivments.All the best.

    chat 13 years ago
  • I never thought that my mobile page would be causing me duplicate content issues. I think I\’ll take your advice. Thanks!

    San Diego Web Designer 13 years ago
  • Thanks a lot for the great information Your blog provides us, higly apreciated

    Tagrens 13 years ago
  • I had no idea just how \”serious\” duplicate content was. I mean, wow. They just drop you pages like that. I understand why thought. I will be sure I always put out original content on my site 1st and then to article directories if I decide to post an article of mine there, afterward.



    Shelly 13 years ago
  • WordPress for some strange reason puts duplicate comments on every page of an article. If the article is 10 pages long there are 10 pages of duplicate comments. Doesn\’t this just create massive duplicate content on WordPress sites, and is there any way to stop WordPress from doing this? Thanks for any feedback.

    Webmind 13 years ago
  • This doesn’t happen too often, but when it does, it reduces your site’s rank on Google dramatically

    Jocuri 13 years ago
  • Google is becoming strict with this. Thanks for the information! SEO writers need to be careful in writing content.

    Christine 13 years ago
  • Very good post bringing in a number of influences and points of view. Duplicate content is an issue which has concerned me for some while. I put up articles on ezinearticles dot com and some of them have been reproduced widely. I\’d like to know if this is hurting my PR. Can anyone tell me?


    KPO 13 years ago
    • No. It won\’t hurt your PR, but the link-quality is reduced when the content is copied.

      Ali Husayni 13 years ago
  • Dear Ali,
    Interesting article. You have a very informative site on SEO.

    Is there a way to know that Google has penalized a site for a particular part of the site (like duplicate content, for example)
    Best wishes,

    Alexandra Hopkins 14 years ago
    • I\’ve never encountered a site that a particular page was flagged; rather I\’ve seen either the homepage being flagged or the entire site.

      Ali Husayni 14 years ago
  • hi guys

    my archeived pages in google is going up and down for some reason ???

    would you plz tell me y although am not doing anything

    best regards

    saleh 14 years ago
    • Your answer is posted:

      Ali Husayni 14 years ago
  • Good to see you here. Give me an example of such

    Web Marketing 14 years ago
  • Support you, refueling

    cheap juicy suits 14 years ago
    • You need to sign up for our Top of Google guarantee from any page on our site.

      Ali Husayni 14 years ago
  • This site is extremely informative and has proved to be handy. Full of information and productive articles.

    Bradley Holton.

    Bradley Holton 14 years ago
    • thanks Bradley; we do our best.

      Ali Husayni 14 years ago
  • fantastic

    kitsospens 14 years ago
  • @Nicole
    Very good question. I read somewhere that Matt Cutts had suggested to use language specific domains for the sites that have similar/same content in different languages. For example, if the main site is in English with a .com domain (www.example.com), the German version should be hosted on the same domain with a German extention i.e. example.de instead of sub domains such as de.example.com or directories such as example.com/de/.

    Ali Husayni 14 years ago
  • Great post! What do you recommend for multiple language sites with the same content?

    Nicole 14 years ago
  • @Stephen Foley
    Good to see you here. Give me an example of such \”system generated, dynamic print only pages\” (what a mouth-full).

    Ali Husayni 14 years ago
  • my site is still not googlelized

    david 14 years ago
  • Thank you for writing that very bermafaat

    Jimmy Oroh 14 years ago
  • I get astonished every time a get mail from you guys, i am glad that i am in your list. you guys sent such a valuable information. very helpful for someone who is learning seo/sem thanks a ton. you guys rock, i am waiting for your next mail.

    free xhtml tutorials 14 years ago
  • For the print only, does this apply to system generated, dynamic print only pages? Or only on those print-friendly pages that are created as their own unique pages?

    Thanks for these tips… most helpful!

    Stephen Foley 14 years ago
  • Hi Ali,

    Thank you very much for sending me this message. I really appreciate it very much. I need this message to be aware of whatever I do in my blog. I have two blogs here at blogger and busy promoting it. I don\’t like to make mistake here. I need this reminder to have caution. I don\’t know much about technology and I\’m trying my best to learn more.

    Again, thank you very much. God Bless…


    Islamiah Abdullah 14 years ago
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