For a long time now, duplicate articles or stolen content have become a source of stress for the web publishers. Whether they have any negative impact on their website or not is a big question that needs to be answered. Although, Google has a lot of checks in place for denouncing duplicate or stolen content but there are still certain cases that cannot be determined and are potentially posing a negative impact on the search ranking of the original content.
Google’s John Mueller has also confirmed this in a webmaster hangout that there are some cases that can not be determined. Such cases are called ‘edge’ cases and they can affect the sites ranking.
Google’s Webmaster Help Forums receive a lot of queries around the effect of duplicate or stolen content on the search ranking of the original content. Many a times, the content thieves manage to outran the original publisher. There is a huge possibility that the content thieves may be outranking the original site for small content snippets but not for all the keywords that people generally use.
This may give an impression that the content thieves are outranking the original publisher but this happens only in case of extremely long tail snippet searches as such keywords are not properly ranked due to which the Google search tends to falter on such types of searches.
The sure way to tell whether the original publisher is actually getting affected is to check whether the original site has lost its rankings in case of the keyword phrases that searchers usually use. That is when there is a cause of concern and action needs to be taken.
This problem prevails for a long time now and despite of Google’s best efforts, web publishers are still reporting a negative impact of stolen content on their original website.
On many forums, Google has been posed with many questions regarding stolen content. On one such forum he was asked, “Do duplicate articles with the same links get ignored by Google or does (it have) a negative effect on Google? Do you suggest disavowing duplicate article links as they’re copied without our authorization?“ Even though the question is somewhat vague but John Mueller answered to this from stolen content perspective. He said, “Is this like other people are copying your content and you’re wondering if that’s having a negative effect on your site? So assuming that other people are copying your content, for the most part that’s something we deal with fairly well. Sometimes there are edge cases that make it a little harder for us to deal with…“
With a confirmation from John Mueller, there is definitely a caution for the web publishers to keep the content thieves in check and protect their website. However, as we discussed the only negative impact is when the content thief is outranking your website with the actual keywords which definitely is a rare phenomena, all you need to have is a little caution and trust Google as they are doing a good job as of now.