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If I report the same news story as someone else, is that duplicate content?

If I report the same news story as someone else, is that duplicate content? - answered by Matt Cutts

Matt's answer:

Today’s question comes all the way from Zurich, Switzerland, where John Mueller wants to know, I have a news website. I heard Google doesn’t like duplicate content. But I can’t make up news! What can I do to stay in Google’s favor? That’s a fun question, because we don’t expect you or want you to make up news. Whenever we’re talking about duplicate content, especially in news, think more along the lines of wholesale duplicate content. So if all you’re doing is taking a wire story or some other syndicate that’s produced things, and you slap that up, and it’s exactly the same text, then probably users don’t want to see 17 different copies of that whenever they do a search. More likely we’d want to see the site that’s considered more authoritative, the site that does original reporting, the site that at least writes their own version of the story rather than just re-using that syndicated particular document. It’s not the case that you need to worry about making up news. If you are the sort of site who has expertise on a particular topic, I would say just make sure that you write the article yourself rather than just using the same article that everybody else is using. At the same time, you would probably benefit by asking yourself, do I have any value add? Do I have any expertise? Because if all you’re doing is taking a story and just rehashing it, and not adding any unique insight, or anything that’s different, a different angle, no unique reporting, you didn’t contact anybody in the story, then it is a little harder to get noticed, because you sometimes get lost in the noise. There are a bunch of people that will just write the same sorts of stories, even if they’re not exact duplicates. I talked to the guy who runs Techdirt, Mike Masnick. And I think he’s got a really good philosophy. He doesn’t write about something unless he’s got some different take on it, some unique angle, or some insight that he doesn’t think has been covered yet. And there is also the issue of what’s your wheelhouse. What’s your specialty? What do you know a lot about? If you don’t know anything about Android phones, then writing the same story that seven other sources are writing about– this particular change related to the Android market– is probably not going to give the best quality story. Compared to if you are expert on something about health, and you can you really dig into this cancer story, and does this really cause cancer? And those kinds of things. So I would say concentrate on what your strengths are. I would also say make sure that if you’re writing original stories, that definitely helps. And if you don’t have any expertise, and you’re just taking the same story that everybody else has and putting it up on the web somewhere, then maybe Google doesn’t necessarily want to show that first. More likely we’d want to show the site that has got original content, got original reporting, is an expert on this, or is local. So if something happened in Dallas, maybe you want to show the Dallas newspaper. Those are the sorts of factors that ideally we’d use to try to return the best content to users. Hope that helps.

by Matt Cutts - Google's Head of Search Quality Team


Original video: