Is Google OK with multiple variations of the same content?

Is Google OK with multiple variations of the same content?

Is Google OK with multiple variations of the same content?

In the latest Google Search Central SEO Hangout during business hours, Google search attorney John Mueller addresses an issue regarding self-plagiarism.

Mueller is asked if it’s okay for publishers to reuse parts of their own content, technically copying themselves to create a similar but different piece.

In short, copying yourself is good to the point where it is no longer good.

Here’s a more in-depth explanation of what that means.

Self-plagiarism?

The person who asked the question presented it as an editor who “plagiarised” himself.

However, this is a misuse of the word plagiarize, as the definition of plagiarism is taking someone else’s content and then misrepresenting it as your own.

Obviously, you can’t plagiarize yourself just as you can’t steal yourself.

What the person asking the question really means is copying their own content.

This is the question asked:

“Is Google okay with publishers plagiarizing their own content?

For example, I wrote an affiliate post suggesting something for mom. Can I copy the content of this article to write more articles for maybe a sister or a wife or an aunt or a grandmother? »

Content reuse

Mueller noted the misuse of the word plagiarize and spoke about it.

Muller replied

“So…I don’t know what the full definition of plagiarism is. But it seems that if you reuse your own content, it’s not really plagiarism, at least as I understand it.

From Google’s perspective, whether you take content from your own website and republish it with some on-page elements changed is basically up to you.

Content should focus on value

Often we can think of content in terms of Google’s response. But Google’s response is usually based on the value that page brings to site visitors.

Mueller continued his response:

“And that’s something where I guess in a lot of cases you don’t add a lot of value by just copying the existing article and changing some of the words in it.

So my feeling is, from a strategic standpoint, you’d probably be in a better position to write something unique and compelling for those topics or create an article that covers those different variations a bit.

So it’s something like from a strategic point of view that I would recommend.

But purely from a political standpoint, I don’t think there’s anything specific about how you take individual articles and then make… a handful of copies.

So that’s something where…from a purely practical point of view, it’s kind of up to you.

But my recommendation is really to do fewer articles that are actually really good.

Door Pages

The person asking the question speaks to a variation of doorway pages.

An old-school approach to sites was to create content pages targeting all fifty states in the United States, and for each state, create web pages corresponding to the twenty or so most populous cities.

The pages would be essentially the same, only the state and city names were different.

Google calls these doorway pages and this is something that could result in a manual penalty.

Here’s what Google’s official documentation on doorway pages warns:

“Doors are sites or pages created to rank for specific and similar search queries. They are bad for users because they can lead to several similar pages in users’ search results, where each result ends up taking the user to the same destination.

They can also lead users to intermediate pages that are not as useful as the final destination. »

Mueller cautioned against unintentionally creating doorway pages:

“The only extreme case that can happen if you really enjoy intensely copying your own content is that you end up creating doorway pages.

And that’s basically taking one piece of content and creating lots of variations just with different words, which would be against our webmaster guidelines.

So that’s something I would watch out for and it’s also something where you create a ton of substandard… I would almost say junk pages for your website that are basically like fluff that don’t provide any unique value in the game. ‘whole.

And instead of diluting your website content like that, I would recommend instead to focus on strengthening the main content of your website.

That’s kind of my recommendation.

So if you’re asking, is Google okay with that, well, it’s like you can do whatever you want on your website, but that doesn’t mean Google is going to like it.

Focus on content, not shortcuts

The big takeaway here is that content is a website’s most important asset. Content can contribute to the success or otherwise of a business.

Given the importance of content, it only makes sense that content is the one thing not to skimp on or take shortcuts on.

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Watch John Mueller answer the question in 7:34:


Featured Image: Screenshot from YouTube.com/GoogleSearchCentral, May 2022.

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