The myth of the duplicate content penalty – Search Engine Land

Google Panda Update emphasizes no duplicate content of your web page over the cyberspace. By saying duplicate content, it does not mean duplicating copies in web servers at one or multiple locations. Different URLs (e.g., or pointing to the same web page sitting in your web server is still counted as duplicate content.

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Adding &filter=0 to the end of the page URL on a search for “raleigh seo meetup” will show me the exact same page twice. I’m not saying Meetup has done a good job with this, since they actually indicate the two versions (HTTP and HTTPS in this case) are both correct in their use of canonical tags, but I think it does show that the exact same page (or similar pages) are actually indexed, and only the most relevant is being shown. It’s not that the page is necessarily competing or doing any harm to the website itself.


People mistake duplicate content for a penalty because of how Google handles it. Really, the duplicates are just being filtered in the search results. You can see this for yourself by adding &filter=0 to the end of the URL and removing the filtering.


There are so many myths around duplicate content that people actually think it causes a penalty and that their pages will compete against each other and hurt their website. I see forum posts, Reddit threads, technical audits, tools, and even SEO news websites publishing articles that show people clearly don’t understand how Google treats duplicate content.


Duplicate content generally refers to 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.


Let’s put this to bed once and for all, folks: There’s no such thing as a “duplicate content penalty.” At least, not in the way most people mean when they say that. You can help your fellow webmasters by not perpetuating the myth of duplicate content penalties!



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