More and more people are beginning to understand that search engines are unable to recognise graphics, images and flash files contained on a web page. Text is the only element of a web page that Google and other search engines can reliably index. Therefore ‘text is king’ and plays a huge part in the relevance and ranking of search results.
However, if you are struggling to create web pages that contain unique content, do not be tempted to copy sections from other parts of your site, as search engines will recognise this as duplicate content. Even worse, do not be tempted to produce an exact copy of your website, hosted on a different domain, in the hope that this will increase your chances of achieving a high ranking.
Why does Google care about Duplicate Content?
Google and other search engines include a Duplicate Content clause in their editorial guidlelines. This clause states that they will not list a web page or website that contains substantially the same content as another site. This is perfectly reasonable from Googles perspective, as there users would not be impressed with search results that simply produced a list of duplicated sites. Duplicate content occurs when two websites display identical or very similar content on any number of web pages. Duplicated sites are particularly prevalent in the MLM industry where typically a company will duplicate a website thousands of times for use by their individual distributors.
Does Google penalise sites with Duplicate Content?
Unless Google believes that the duplicate content has been created as a deliberate attempt to manipulate search engine rankings, it is unlikely that your site will be banned from the search results. However Google will only list one version of a web page or website. The version that is listed will normally be the version with the most authority in terms of link popularity. This tends to be the earliest version that was published.
The Google Webmaster Blog provides information on a range of methods webmasters can use to proactively address duplicate content issues. However, the best advice would be to keep your website free of duplicate content as far as possible.