How to Deal with the Duplicate Content Penalty

How to Deal with the Duplicate Content Penalty

A few years back, there was some debate in the SEO community about how big a problem duplicate content was for individual websites. Duplicate content can be anything from a repetition of keywords and phrases, or exact pages copied word for word. Some search engine optimizers said that content repetition didn’t have a noticeable impact on search engine results rankings, while others argued that it did.

With last year’s Panda update, Google has all but ended that debate – content farms were targeted in this update which include sites that scrap other sites for sheer content.  This alone stands to hold up for the argument that duplicate content is indeed a poor signal to send in the SEO world. The impact of these changes has been felt far and wide, and, unfortunately, small businesses seem to have been hit the hardest.

Related Posts:

Google Analytics Helped Me Find Duplicate Content 

Strategies to Push Forward

It’s easy to lament (and curse) the fact that your old site doesn’t show up on page one any longer, but know that you can make the necessary adjustments to bring it back up to where it was, or higher.

So, how does a business owner avoid the penalty and start to rank again? Focus on:

Being a resource:

Like the movie says, “If you build it, they will come.” If the copy that appears on your site is high in quality and unique, the traffic will follow. You’re an expert in your given industry -- use that knowledge to the best of your ability and convey that expertise to your potential customers.

Doing some guest blogging:

The Penguin update placed more emphasis on links from trusted websites back to your site. This is known as a backlink. One of the best ways to build on your number of backlinks is through guest blogging on another site.

Socially sharing your content:

Finishing a blog post doesn’t end when you hit, “Publish” -- the real work is just beginning. Send out your posts through your social media channels. Ask for feedback. Ask for shares. You’d be surprised the sort of mileage you can get out of Facebook, Twitter, Google+ etc.

Not stuffing the site with keywords:

Keyword stuffing is so 1998. For example, if I work for an auto repair shop in Raleigh and on the homepage I continue repeat “auto repair Raleigh, NC”, I can expect to be penalized.

If you’ve realized that you have duplicate content on your site, don’t get mad.  Maybe you got it from somewhere else; maybe someone took it from you.  Regardless, you should keep moving forward.  Write new content, share it, link it and be original.  Be a moving target and duplicate content will not be able to bring you down.

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Post a Comment


  • avatar

    After Google’s Panda and Penguin update, creating unique, high quality articles is definitely the best strategy for the long term, rather than just scraping and spinning articles from other websites and blogs. As they say “Content is king”

  • avatar


    Duplication of content is truly a sensitive matter. It should not be a treated as a joke or else you will get banned or sued for plagiarism.
    In the same way that we need to ensure the originality of the content we post as our own, we should also protect our content from being duplicated by others. Otherwise, it may reduce your readership since readers will be confused on who is the original source. You may end up being mistakenly identified as the one who copied.

  • avatar


    Brilliant advice here. My main tip for duplicate content penalty (or any penalty, really) is to just keep going. I don’t mean “keep going” as in continue doing whatever you did to get that penalty in the first place (ie. duplicate content), I mean “keep going” as in continue doing the good things your blog is recognized for like great quality backlinks, some high quality posts, etc. etc.
    Thanks a whole bunch for these tips, I have a few clients that mistakenly took content from other sources.

  • avatar

    Truly valuable tips! The best one is creating your own content and being a resource of all of the other people. Original content garners serious traffic thus more helpful in the long run for more exposure. Duplicate content is so 1998, and I strongly agree with that.

  • avatar

    Some great points here, especially for beginners. I had a site that got hit by Panda also, had to relearn much of what i knew after that. Looks like the social aspect is becoming more important by the day.

  • avatar

    Your site should never be comprised completely of scraped content, not even content that you have permission to post but isn’t original to your site. However, too many so-called SEO experts are telling people that they can’t use any syndicated content and that’s just not true. The key is in how that content is presented to the reader and how valuable a user experience you provide on your site. Smart people know how to give that experience whether they use unique content or not.

  • avatar


    Guest posting is a good idea. I’ve heard others say to rewrite your blog articles and post them on ezine articles, and then spin those and post on other article sites. Does this still work? Or is it better now to write unique content for article directories and other properties that link back to your blog.

    • avatar
      Vanessa Copeland 


      Having original content is essential to ensure you don’t get penalized. Therefore, if the your blog content is refreshed, unique and completely rewritten there shouldn’t be a problem.

  • avatar

    This gets to be tricky when you are setting up Amazon Associate stores, since they, by design pull alot of content in from Amazon. I wonder what ratio of original content needs to be in place so Google doesn’t penalize these types of sites.

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