Will having the same ingredients list for a product as another site cause a duplicate content issue?

Will having the same ingredients list for a product as another site cause a duplicate content issue? - answered by Matt Cutts

Matt's answer:

MATT CUTTS: Today’s question comes from Minneapolis. Daisy wants to know, “What can e-commerce sites do that sell products which have an ingredients list exactly like other e-commerce sites selling the same product to avoid Google seeing it as duplicate content?” OK, this is a really interesting question. So let’s consider an ingredients list which is like food and you’re listing ingredients in that food, and ingredients like, OK, it’s a product that a lot of affiliates have an affiliate feed for and you’re just going to display that. If you’re listing something that’s vital, so you’ve got ingredients in food or something like that, specifications that aren’t 18 pages long, but are short specifications, that probably wouldn’t get you into too much of an issue. However, if you just have an affiliate feed and you have the exact same paragraph or two or three of text that everybody else on the web has, that probably would be more problematic. So what’s the difference between them? Well, hopefully, an ingredients list, as you’re describing it, as far as the number of components or something, is probably relatively small. Hopefully, you’ve got a different page from all the other affiliates in the world. And hopefully, you have some original content, something that distinguishes you from the fly-by-night sites that just say, OK, here’s a product. I’ve got the feed, and I’m going to put these two paragraphs of text that everybody else has. If that’s the only value add you have, then you should ask yourself, why should my site rank higher than all these hundreds of other sites when they have the exact same content, as well? So if some small sub-component of your pages have some essential information that then appears in multiple places, that’s not nearly so bad. If the vast majority or all of your content is the same content that appears everywhere else and there’s nothing else to really distinguish it or to add value, that’s something that I would try to avoid if you can.

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


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