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Google: Duplicate content is not a negative ranking factor

Content that is repeated on several pages does not result in a website being ranked lower in the search results. Mueller says that it is normal for a website to have a certain amount of duplicate content. Google’s algorithms are also designed to deal with this accordingly. Duplicate content is a topic that comes up regularly among SEOs and it’s something that many practitioners look out for when reviewing a website.

So does duplicate content influence the search ranking? If so, to what extent?

That’s exactly what Davor Bobek, Manager at Blue Glacier, asks Mueller in this week’s Consultation. Bobek himself has a website about car parts, on which descriptions of car parts are repeated in several places. He would like to know whether this fact will have a negative impact on the search results for him.

Mueller’s answer follows below.


John Mueller from Google about duplicate content

Mueller clears up the misunderstanding of duplicate content and says that it is not something that entails a negative ranking value.

If entire pieces of content are duplicated on a website, Google will rank one page and not display the other. Multiple copies of the same page therefore do not send negative ranking signals.

Duplicate pages can bloat a website and eat up the crawl budget, but that’s a whole other topic not covered in this video.

If sections of content are repeated on a website, such as content in the header or footer, this also does not send negative ranking signals, Mueller confirms.

“This type of duplicate content is not so much about the fact that it is associated with a negative score. It’s more like if we find the exact same information on multiple sites on the web and someone is specifically looking for that information, we then try to find the best matching site.

So if you have the same content on several pages, we will not display all of them. We will try to select one of them and then display it. It is therefore not the case that this sends a negative signal. In many cases, it’s quite normal that you have a certain amount of shared content on some pages.”

To illustrate how normal duplicate content can be, Mueller cites examples that we are confronted with time and again.

Online shopping is an area in which content is repeated everywhere. It is common for retailers to sell the same product and the product pages are likely to share much of the same content.

Google will not interpret negative signals from crawling a product description that appears elsewhere on another retailer’s website.

Website footers are technically considered duplicate content, says Mueller, but even that is not a problem when it comes to search rankings.

“A very common case is e-commerce, for example. If you have a product and someone else is selling the same product or within the website you might have a footer that you use on all pages – and sometimes that’s a pretty big footer. Technically, this is duplicate content, but we can deal with it. So that shouldn’t be a problem.”



The new information we have gained from John Mueller’s message will make many people breathe a sigh of relief. Among others, our SEO experts. Anyone who runs a store website, or in Bobek’s case a website about car parts, is aware that it is sometimes almost impossible to avoid duplicate content. Confusing content and strange descriptions to avoid duplicate content would be necessary.

But now we can enjoy the official statement from Google and see once again why Google is asserting itself as the leading search engine. This understanding of unavoidable content is significantly important. After all, everyone’s goal is still to provide website visitors with a quality answer to their search query. No potential customer wants to struggle through complicated texts that have been rewritten for the sake of duplicate content. This is a hassle for both sides.

By clearing up these negative rumors, which were nothing more than just that, it makes search engine optimization and search engine ranking a much more enjoyable process in this regard. This allows the focus to return to the important qualitative optimization content.