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Matt Cutts talks about unique content and the advice hasn’t changed

So I'm watching my Twitter feed and what should appear but something from Matt Cutts talking about one of the most controversial and asked questions on the subject of unique content.

I get asked this all the time, so here's what Matt says and then what follows is a translation for the less geeky amongst you.


So what's he talking about? He seems to be getting a bit ratty about it and it's no surprise because in this particular situation he's talking about a guy with thousands of products who's asking the question – “How do I make them all unique?”

OK, first myth : “Duplicate content will get my site banned” no it won't.

Duplicate content

Google has a bit of a thing about duplicate content. What they don't want is for the first page to be filled with the same stuff from all over the web. If you search for a particular bit of information and you get ten identical articles then it's not a 'good search experience'. You're not getting variety.

So Google wants to make sure the content is good and different. It wants unique content from all over the web, different takes on the same subject – you get the idea?

If you have a page of content that is absolutely identical to another page on another site, you need to therefore ask yourself a couple of questions:

  • Why is it identical?
  • Can I create my own version?
  • Shouldn't I be creating totally unique content anyway?

Now you may have a totally legitimate reason to copy content. If you're a reseller for a product then it could be that the supplier has defined exactly what you can and can't say. So what do you do in these instances?

Well just add to it. Create your own take on that particular subject – add a video testimonial or a video explainer. Spruce it up with images, cartoons, highlights etc.

If possible, you need to create your own version of the content, make it your own and in that way it becomes unique.

Some ideas for unique content

The absolute best way to create your own unique content is to create it based on your marketplace. Whatever it is you do, there are bound to be questions being asked by people all over the world. People will want to know what your product does, how it does it and where they can get it.

This is where an FAQ page can become an asset – create great content that helps people and you'll be in Google's good books.

Anyway, duplicate content won't get you banned but it won't necessarily get you listed in the search results either – so create good, unique stuff if you really want to be found.

About Andy Calloway

Head of SEO at Calloway Green, Andy has been writing for print and the web for over ten years. Some of it makes it into publication, some of it is stored in plexi-glass and sunk to the bottom of the sea.

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