November 11, 2009

Duplicate content penalization – Exhibit A

You know a couple of weeks ago, we were discussing duplicate content here on jesperastrom.com. There were some people saying that duplicate content is not penalized, but it is “filtered out”. I said that this was not correct and I went to work trying to find evidence for my statement.

I have seen this happen sooooo many times. But you know what happens when you say you can get plenty of examples… you find none.. I got insecure… what if I was wrong. But NO… I wasn’t. Perhaps not a news publishing website, but it proves that the original source gets penalized when a stronger domain scrapes the content of a weaker domain.

Filtering vs. Penalization
With penalization I mean that Google would push my page downwards in the SERPs because of that the content exists elsewhere. This means that if my content was supposed to be on page 1, then it is all of a sudden on page 3 or 5 or 10 or not in the index at all. with filtering they mean that you get grouped under the little thing called “similar” in the SERP snippet.

Introducing Exhibit A
A couple of days ago I posted my Link building in Social media post. As it happened, it received a lot of RT’s on Twitter as well as a few decent inbound natural links. I actually skidded to the first page of the SERP for the term – Link building Social Media – which gave me quite some traffic.

However, the traffic only lasted a few days. Then came monster MIXX and screwed things up for me. Some bastard submitted my url to the MIXX website. As we all know, that domain is pretty nasty in strenght. It produced a clear case of duplicate content as it stole the title, excerpt etc. I thought this would be save though as what is prodced on MIXX is merely a link to my website and description.

penalization-proof-no3

This was NOT the case. Instead of my website being the first listed in the SERPs, the MIXX page is listed on the second page of the SERP. There is NO sign of “filtering out” effects, no “similar” attribute to the snippet for the MIXX search result.

penalization-proof-no2

If this would have been a clear cut of “filtering out”, then my search result wouldn’t appear at all further back in the SERP. However, only one page later, I find my post, however, Google has changed the title of the post that is displayed in the SERP. (YES they can do that, and they DO, do that).

penalization-proof-no1

My website, that has the original content, that MUST be the most relevant on the topic, has been pushed down as a result of a stronger domain publishing the same content on its platform. So… do we call this penalization or filtering out… hmmmmmmm… You tell me!

//Jesper

3 Comments
  • Johan, November 30, 2009 Reply

    This is a bit scary since it means that if a stronger webpage rip you content you will get punished for dup content.

    Another thing that seem really strange is that your original page have a lot more content and Google should understant that you cover the subject better with 500+ words than a little snippet with 100 words.

    I think soon you will be back above the Mixx possition at least.

    • Jesper Åström, November 30, 2009 Reply

      Exactly my point as well. It is scary and Google SHOULD know.. but they don't. I am back on top now though so I'm happy :)


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