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Duplicate content penalty on a new site?

Discussion in 'White Hat SEO' started by bo2kmm, Sep 20, 2012.

  1. bo2kmm

    bo2kmm Registered Member

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    Hi All,

    Nothing to do with blackhat stuff here, just a general SEO question....

    Basic question - can having content on a new website that is similar to a directory listing content cause a duplicate content penalty?

    Story: I built a basic wordpress website for a small local business who didn't previously have a website. The tested search terms include the city name, and there is pretty much only two other competitive businesses, both with minimal online presence. They provided the content, which was close to identical to the content on their own profile on a "home improvement businesses" directory. Or in other words - they had created a page on a "better quality" directory site with quite a long bit of content. For the website it's mostly the same content, but split up over pages.

    After a few weeks the site is ranking of page 4 or 5 behind a whole heap of nothing sites, yellow pages type directories, totally irrelevant content etc. A very very small amount of linkbuilding has been done, totally white hat, and maybe 20 or so links total. But doubt it's a links thing now.

    Does anyone have any experience with this type of thing? Is it likely a duplicate content penalty? Is Google smart enough to consider one big long page and compare it to content split over a number of pages on a site?

    Note their own directory page in question ranks #1 for some search terms, and page 1 or 2 for others.

    Any other thoughts on what I can try?

    Thanks
    Matt
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2012
  2. Endire

    Endire Elite Member Premium Member

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    Great question bo2kmm,

    Google is pretty clear and specific about what they classify as duplicate content and as such, we should all be very aware of that and how it can impact our sites and the internet as a whole.

    - "substantive blocks of content within or across domains that either completely match other content or are appreciably similar. Mostly, this is not deceptive in origin. Examples of non-malicious duplicate content could include:

    Discussion forums that can generate both regular and stripped-down pages targeted at mobile devices
    Store items shown or linked via multiple distinct URLs
    Printer-only versions of web pages"

    http://support.google.com/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=66359

    So, having the content on another website like you mentioned could potentially mean that Google (and other engines) may not index it if it is detected that its duplicate content. To be safe, I would write unique content for all web properties.

    Hope that helps,

    Shawn
     
  3. bo2kmm

    bo2kmm Registered Member

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    Thanks Shawn, thats pretty much in line with my thoughts.

    This is a bit of a tightass client, who paid me a pittance for web development only (no seo, they provided content). I've explained it to them and they are doing a rewrite. This is the sort of reason why I usually insist on doing the content writing but this was an exception.

    Matt