Google’s Response to the Relevancy of Copied Content

Google's Response to the Relevancy of Copied Content

The coveted top spot of Google’s SERPs is something every serious website aspires to attain. The process of achieving these top ranks is challenging and constantly changing. Long gone are the days of keyword stuffing, hidden texts, and backlink numbers. Google’s latest ranking algorithms have become sophisticated. The search engine giant takes over 200 factors into account when ranking pages. While there are numerous aspects to consider when working on your site, a specific factor stands tall – content. 

Why is Content Important?

Content, primarily written content, is king in the online world. Not only does it serve the purpose of drawing in visitors and creating a fantastic user experience (information, education, information, marketing), but it also gives Google important signals about the websites themselves. 

It is well known that Google looks at and assesses content to separate and rank pages. Not only do they use user interaction to determine how useful content is, but they also ensure content follows specific guidelines that give users a great experience. These rules are often nuanced and leave content creators and site owners asking questions. A recent Google SEO Office hours session presented a prime example of this. The question stated:

How does Google determine which content is copied and who the original source of the content is?

The response given by John Muller, a Senior Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google, offered a quite interesting insight into the way Google looks at copied content. 

Google’s Views on Copied Content

The first thing to note about copied content is that it goes against Google guidelines. Text that is exactly the same, that is to say, copy-pasted text, is penalized heavily. Google has no trouble detecting word for word copies in the digital world. You can do it yourself with a quick search. However, knowing what to do with copied or duplicate content is not always straightforward. There are certain cases where copied content will not affect your page’s standing. 

John mentioned the cases of boilerplate texts. For those who don’t know, a boilerplate text is a copy that can be reused in multiple contexts or applications without meaningful changes. A good example of this is legal disclaimers that could be found at the bottom of multiple pages on a website. Google will typically assess content to determine its purpose. Google is more focused on the primary content of a page. If the main content is original, then copied content on the periphery of a page should not be an issue.

Make it Better and You can Rank

When it comes down to it, Google is mostly focused on the end-user experience. While blatantly copied content can be found and penalized, it doesn’t mean that you are limited to writing about novel ideas only. Creators have the freedom to take information and put their unique spins on it. John mentions the example of Google’s blog. They are often outranked by informative articles that offer new, interesting, or informative takes on Google’s own content.

Tools for Detecting Copied Content

Google focuses primarily on the main content. This means that content creators and site owners need to control what goes up on their pages. These are some helpful tools that can assist in eliminating copied content.

  • Duplichecker
  • Siteliner
  • Plagspotter
  • Copyscape
  • Grammarly
  • Plagarischeck
  • Plagscan
  • Plagium
  • Smallseotools, etc.

Google is all about its users. They have shown that they focus on the users and greatly value the market’s opinion. Websites and content creators share an equal opportunity of creating content that stands out and grabs attention. All you have to do is play by the rules and offer value to the millions of people interested in your subject.

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