The Google Search Process has such a powerful effect on the financial well being of many online business owners that they listen with almost paranoid concern for any rumours about the Google search algorithm that might damage their livelihood. The possible penalty that Google might apply to web pages that were substantially similar, or in other words had duplicate content, is one of the more worrying recent concerns that many have had.
Thankfully Google is more proactively working with the vast majority of website owners who operate their websites with the best of intentions. A recent post by Adam Lasnik in the Official Google Webmaster Central Blog attempts to set their fears at rest. The title is, “Deftly dealing with duplicate content“. An early statement in this entry is the following:
Duplicate content generally refers to substantive blocks of content within or across domains that either completely match other content or are appreciably similar. Most of the time when we see this, it’s unintentional or at least not malicious in origin.
The balance of the detailed post gives sensible advice on the implications of duplicate content when this is done in good faith, usually as a service to visitors. The bottom line is that there is no penalty but that duplicate content may create some slight problems. However these are no greater than exist in reality if there are two sources for the same body of knowledge. This post can be highly recommended for the serious webmaster.