Duplicate Content Blankets 25 to 30% of the Web – Can Copying Content Get You Banned by Google?

by | Last Updated on September 23rd, 2018

Duplicate Content Can Get You Banned by Google!

One of the main ingredients to building and maintaining a web site that ranks well for search engines is avoiding duplicate content issues.

In December of 2013, Matt Cutts of Google’s Webspam team posted a video speaking about duplicate content and the repercussions that can follow within the Google search engine results pages (SERPs).

In his video, Matt Cutts says that duplicate content on the web is roughly between 25% and 30%… can you believe that? Out of all the web content on the Internet, over one-quarter of it is duplicate or repetitive material.

Can Duplicate Content Get Your Site Banned by GOOGLE?

Unfortunately there is a ranking war out there, so there are many people that are committing plagiarism to attempt to work their way up the rankings faster.

One of the problems is that people steal content from high ranking web sites, which in turn is stealing from the success of that website and their ideas.

Google’s explanation of duplicate content is: Duplicate content generally refers to substantive blocks of content within or across domains that either completely match other content or are appreciably similar.

In some cases, content is deliberately duplicated across domains in an attempt to manipulate search engine rankings or win more traffic. Deceptive practices like this can result in a poor user experience, when a visitor sees substantially the same content repeated within a set of search results.

Google tries hard to index and show pages with distinct information. In the rare cases in which Google perceives that duplicate content may be shown with intent to manipulate our rankings and deceive our users, we’ll also make appropriate adjustments in the indexing and ranking of the sites involved. As a result, the ranking of the site may suffer, or the site might be removed entirely from the Google index, in which case it will no longer appear in search results.

You can find this information at the following link: Google Webmaster Central!

Here is Matt speaking about duplicate content:

Google only wants what’s best for its search queries, which is to return results with the most relevant piece’s of content. So, don’t be insulted if your content is not chosen… you are not being penalized.

My philosophy is whether sites are being penalized or not for duplicate content, you must remain vigilant because someone may very well attempt to poach your content.

Duplicate Content or Plagiarism from Article Directory Sites?

Duplicate content from plagiarism can be a real problem for web site owners, and it can ruin a websites reputation.

If you have submitted content to Article Directory Submission sites, then this is public domain for others to copy your content. These website’s are ‘public content depositories’ where webmasters can search for, and select content to place on their own site. This content is usually in the form of an article written by the webmaster of another site.

That webmaster has the option to include a link to his or her own site that MUST BE left intact when the article is copied by others.

Duplicate Content-Stop Stealing

Not to include article directory submission sites (unless the rules were not followed by the person copying your content), if you happen to discover a person that has stolen your content, and placed it on their site without your permission, you should first contact the person and demand that it be removed at once.

If this doesn’t work, then you will need to contact the hosting service for their site.

You can find this information on the Whois Source database. Contacting the hosting service may also alert the search engines and make them aware of the problem. This may also get the content thief kicked off the search engine indexing all together.

Fortunately there are tools that exist that can help you search for replicated content. One of the most commonly used tools is Copyscape. This is a free service that searches for similar or identical content, then reports it to you.

Copyscape also offers a free plagiarism warning banner that you can display on your web site to deter others from stealing your work. There is also the premium membership with Copyscape that gives you unlimited searches for copies of your web pages, and also tracks acts of plagiarism.

Another great plagiarism detector is CopyGator. CopyGator is a free service that is designed to monitor your RSS feed and find where your content has been republished in cyberspace. They will notify you when a new post of yours was copied to another feed, plus CopyGator has built a page that you can view to see where and when your content was duplicated.

CopyGator will also provide you with a badge that you can place on your blog that will find the feeds to your site and watch your content for duplication. When the badge has turned RED, it means that your content has been duplicated.

Closing Comments about Duplicate Content and Plagiarism!

If you are duplicating content on your own site, remember Matt’s warning… if you are doing nothing but duplicating content, and are doing it in an abusive, deceptive or malicious way, Google reserves the right to penalize any site that is duplicating content in an excessive and manipulative manner.

As a website owner, you need to understand that you have the rights to protect your website content. Content duplication is wrong and illegal to use without authorization, and as such you should stand up for yourself because this is the only way to put an end to it.

There is another issue known as URL Canonicalization you need to be aware of. A URL canonical issue is the presence of multiple URL’s that all return the same web page, which can also lead to duplicate content issues.


About the Author -

Blogging since 2010, John has found his true calling at JohnEEngle.com. He's a serial entrepreneur and business owner, who helps ambitious individuals find freedom through blogging - to start, grow & build a sustainable, money-making blogging business!

Comments (38)

  1. Nat says:

    Hey John

    I have been testing a plugin called “Blog Protector” on my blog recently. It’s kinda funny that I should be reading this now!
    What is also funny is the amount of people that have commented on it and asked me about it, alot more than I thought would even notice that I don’t allow “copying” off my site! I have it turned off at the moment.
    Would be interested in checking out the CopyGator and seeing what that’s all about
    thanks for the great info

    • John Engle says:

      Hi Natalie,

      Hmmm, Blog Protector… I’m going to check in to that plugin! I actually have a person that copied and pasted my article about “Bounce Rate” directly into their blog… the reason that I know this, besides it’s word for word, is that I have internal links that lead back to my “Links” and “Content Writing” articles on this person’s site also.

      Thanks for your comments Natalie!

      John Engle

  2. Vicki Berry says:

    Thanks for a great post John!

    I had concerns about putting an article both on my blog and an article directory but thought that Google would simply choose one over the other to display in the results, according to a video I found by their tech department. I even did a post on it.

    So is there any way that one would be able to detect that they had been banned by Google other than a complete lack of search engine hits?

    And I am looking forward to the canonical info too, because I have an old URL from the process of moving my blog once, and it’s current URL both hosted to the same location, and then I have added Vicki-Berry.com now permanently forwarded… whew!

    Thanks for keeping me straight on all this!

    • John Engle says:

      Hi Vicki,

      You are correct… from everything that I have learned, Google will choose one article over the other to display in the results page.

      To find out if your site has been indexed by Google, go to http://www.google.com/, then in the search bar type “site:yourdomainname.com“, of course replacing the words “yourdomainname.com” with your own. The http or www. is not required before your domain name for this first search. This should show every single page that Google has indexed of your Web site.

      If the Google results show “www.yourdomainname.com” and “yourdomainname.com” without the “www”, then you have a Canonical Issue, which is the topic of my next article that I will cover more in-depth in the next couple of days.

      Thank you for stopping by Vicki!

      John Engle

  3. Nathan Isaac says:

    Hey John,

    Great post, one thing I noticed about duplicate content was being put under Omitted results. I was #1 on Google, but only under Omitted results, it was brutal. Duplicate content is bad news bears…

    • John Engle says:

      Hey Nathan,

      Duplicate content didn’t seem to be an issue for the most part in the past, but I believe that Google is trying to give their searchers quality, original content, so they are implementing strings in their algorithms that will search out the content thieves that are amongst us, and penalize them accordingly. I just know that no matter what Google and other search engines do with their algorithms, it seems that they are just trying to keep all of us Web site owners honest.

      Thank you for your input!

      John Engle

  4. Ray Higdon says:

    This is very good information, I have heard conflicting information on dupe content, thanks for writing this

    • John Engle says:

      Hi Ray,

      I too have heard conflicting stories, so I thought I’d approach the subject with evidence directly from the Google horses mouth.

      I guess the information found on the Google Webmaster Central can’t be contested.

      Thank you for your comments, and please stop by anytime!

      John Engle

  5. Jeff Kapellen says:

    This is good to know. I didn’t really think about the problems Plagiarism can cause.

    • John Engle says:

      Hi Jeff,

      People that copy content, then give proper credit with a link leading back to the original author (example: article directories which are public content depositories), doesn’t seem to be an issue for Google and other search engines… maybe some day Google and others will put in their algorithms which content was put on which page first, so the innocent won’t be penalized.

      Thank you for your comments!

      John Engle

  6. Robin Marks says:

    John This is good stuff. I get alot of conflicting stories about duplicate content. Thanks again bro.

    • John Engle says:

      Hey Robin,

      Thank you for the nice words.

      I agree with you about the conflicting stories, and that’s why I put the link for what Google says about duplicate content. I’m glad that it was helpful!

      Thank you for stopping by and leaving comments!

      John Engle

  7. Oliver Tausend says:

    Hi John,

    thanks for sharing your insights. I haven’t taken this subject seriously so far, especially when it comes to protecting my own blog content.

    So thanks again for creating awareness.

    Take care


    • John Engle says:

      Hey Oliver,

      Thank you for your nice words… I can always rely on you to give me feedback for the articles that I have written. Please keep them coming!

      Thank you for stopping by… don’t be a stranger!

      John Engle

  8. Joe Young says:

    Hi John,
    great post and complete info. Yes, I learned of this issue when I was first learning article marketing. Just not worth the price you pay for a loss in credibility. Be yourself, write like you think, be original.

    The tracking tools here are awesome as well, using the copygator now.


    • John Engle says:

      Hey Joe,

      Thank you for the nice words… I always try to be as thorough as possible when I create an article… it doesn’t always happen, but I try.

      You are giving good advice with your comment… be yourself, write like you think, and be original; that is awesome advice in itself.

      Thank your for stopping by and leaving a comment.

      John Engle

  9. Karen Marrow says:


    Thanks for the great information. I had been wanting to know what to do about someone republishing my content without my permission and without my author resource box and links.

    I contacted them twice, but no response. So, thanks for the advice on what to do.


    • John Engle says:

      Hey Karen,

      Thank you for the nice words!

      I do try very hard to give quality information, so thank you!

      It stinks to have to report people, but you have to protect yourself of course!

      Thank you for stopping by!

      John Engle

  10. Justine Simard says:

    Hi John,

    Thanks for some great advice! This actually happened to me recently and to see my content on someone else’s site with no reference to me at all gave me a horrible feeling! And according to your post here, this creates more issues than just copyright!

    Thanks again for sharing your wisdom here!


    • John Engle says:

      Hey Justine,

      Have you taken any steps to contact the person and ask them to make a reference with a link back to your site, or ask them to remove it completely before you take other action?

      Copying a person’s content with no reference to the original author is just plain theft and a poor way of doing business.

      I’m sorry it happened to you!

      Thank you for stopping by and commenting, and I hope you are able to resolve this issue without a big fight on your hands.

      Thank you!

      John Engle

  11. Linda Paull says:

    Dear John

    Sometimes, to save time, I am tempted to use an article which has been issued by a company I am an affiliate for but I don’t because of the duplicate content issue. Sometimes the articles are re-spun for originality but I’m not sure how original exactly they are. Does anyone have any thoughts on this that they would like to share?

    • John Engle says:

      Hi Linda,

      Usually affiliate companies provide you with choices of professionally written content that they would like to see you use to advertise for them. As long as you are not doing anything malicious, you shouldn’t have any duplicate content issues about using their information to advertise their products for them. Their information will have a link to their site, which makes it OK.

      If you have any worries, you can change their wording around to suit your spoken voice, but you will still be advertising for them, so they won’t have any qualms about it.

      Thank you for stopping by, and I hope that I helped with your question!

      Anybody else with an opinion, please don’t hesitate to reply!

      Thank You,

      John Engle

  12. Nicholas Wind imer says:

    Interesting John.

    I totally agree with not stealing some ones info
    of course.
    I do share folks stuff sometimes on my blogs but always always give credit to the writer.
    I’ll do that by doing a review of what
    I liked about the info by putting a paragraph or two
    before the post.
    Yes I do write my own posts also.
    I ask myself if this info will help folks first
    which is what we want to do.
    It sounds like this is not a good thing any more.
    Lastly Ty Tribble who is a super marketer and blogger had even taught folks last year
    where to get free content by giving out 2 links that He uses.
    He even bragged He did not have time
    to always write his own content.
    So as a less experienced guy on this
    I am a little confused.
    Maybe you could enlighten Me.
    Thanks John.

    • John Engle says:

      Hey Nicholas,

      It sounds like you have always done the right thing… giving credit to the writer!

      What is not a good thing is copying someone’s content from a website, then pasting on to your own site, without placing the author’s name along with a link back to the original writer’s site. My guess would be that the author of the content did not have the intention of someone copying it, but probably wouldn’t mind as long as there is a link back to their site to give proper credit.

      There are website’s called Article Directories Submission sites that are ‘public content depositories’ where webmasters can search for, and select content to place on their own site. This content is usually in the form of an article written by the webmaster of another site.

      That webmaster has the option to include a link to his or her own site that must be left intact when the article is copied by others.

      This is what I am referring to about plagiarism without authorization.

      I hope that I have cleared this up for you…

      Thank you for comments Nicholas,

      John Engle

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    • John Engle says:

      Hi Web Designs,

      You have yourself a nice site too.

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  17. Hi,

    Thank you for share a knowledge !!

    This very help full your blog. But I saw more directory article, yellow page, classified ads website in add a same content how can possible for duplication reduce ! when website name, product name & content same, Press release content, Blog content same, becoz write a press release post more different PR website it’s right OR wrong, when Google not allow this types posting ! ! Content quality ! !

    Pravin K Gupta

    • John Engle says:

      Hi Pravin,

      Google is watching for people that copy other website owners work and passing it off as their own… Google wants original, unique content not found anywhere else on the Web.

      But, there is nothing wrong with spreading your content around to sites like Article Directory sites… Google knows that this is a location that people like to advertise their writing across many different sites.

      Here is what Google says about syndicating your content in other locations… “If you syndicate your content on other sites, Google will always show the version we think is most appropriate for users in each given search, which may or may not be the version you’d prefer.”

      Google is just watching out for deceptive practices, and they know the difference through their algorithm what is being done to intentionally deceive the search engine.

      Press Releases are a fact driven advertisement for your site, product or service, so it should not be flagged as duplicate content.

      I hope I have helped!

      John Engle – The On Page Optimizer!

  18. Nate Leung says:

    Hi John,

    You have made some great points here. I’ve always believed in doing things the honest way. Sometimes the honest way may not be as fast, but in the long run, you win. After all, blogging is a long term strategy for your niche or industry. I don’t believe in trying to cheat the system. Google has laid out the rules for us which for the most part I think is fair, and just abide by the rules! That’s my take on it!

    • John Engle says:

      Hey Nate,

      I totally agree with your take on this matter. I too believe that staying within the guidelines is a way to keep cyberspace fair game for all.

      I also think that Google is fair with how they handle issues such as duplicate content… you are right; abide by the rules and you and Google will get along just fine.

      Thank you for stopping by and commenting.

      John Engle

  19. Pratik bhuite says:

    Is their any way to find out that the reduced traffic of a site is because copied content or some other reason …?

    • John Engle says:

      Hey Pratik,

      You raise a good question…

      Do you have Google Analytics attached to your site, or Google Webmaster Tools? If so this might help.

      If not, I am not sure what the answer is, there can be so many reasons. Some times it can be as simple as Google changing its algorithm and it didn’t agree with certain areas of your site, moving it down in the ranks.

      Thank You for stopping by and commenting…

      John Engle

  20. Tristan Perry says:

    This is definitely a useful article. It’s imperative to keep track of duplicate content – and plagiarism of your content – to help guard against potential search engine ranking issues.

    I’ve done a write-up of who plagiarism and duplicate content affects at https://www.plagiarismguard.com/risks-of-plagiarism/ – it’s also an increasing problem, despite various technological improvements.

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    thanks admin

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    I visit daily a few blogs and blogs to read articles, however this weblog presents feature based content.

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