Among those well versed in internet marketing, duplicate content is something of a sticky issue. The exact nature of the problem is in what constitutes duplicate content, with some internet marketers insist anything that has previously been written on any other website qualifies as duplicate content – while others say it only matters for the same text to be repeated on the same website.
The exact definition is not exactly known, and isn’t helped by the fact that the search engines are not particularly forthcoming on the issue. However, if you are found to be using duplicate content on your website and a search engine does have an issue with it, you can kiss goodbye to a good ranking with that search engine.
It is more likely – though not certain – that the duplicate content rule applies to text used within the same site. You should not, for example, make lots of pages all using the same article with no changes. This is the lesser version of duplicate content, though some marketers still exist search engines frown on the same article or text being used from anywhere on the internet will trigger a duplicate content penalty.
The idea, of course, is to avoid plagiarism and for search engines to avoid publishing results that show the same text over and over again. To be absolutely sure you’re not committing the duplicate content sin, always write and use original content, both within your website and externally. That way, you can be sure – no matter who is right and wrong in the debate – that you aren’t going to be penalized for it.