For years us SEO types have believed there is a penalty if your site contains duplicate content. Essentially this is content you’ve copied from another site to put on your site. Some people refer to this is as “plagiarism”. I’m not a judge, but I’ll leave that up to you. Nevertheless, it is not a penalty but rather a filter.
Your site will not be penalized if you have duplicate content on a page and it won’t have any bearing on the rest of the pages on your site. But, if you have a page of content that you’ve taken from another site about “green gizmos”, your site will not rank for “green gizmos” because it was first published on another site.
Jennifer Slegg of the SEM Post said in a recent blog post titled “There is No Duplicate Content Penalty“:
Even though duplicate content is not technically a penalty, it is referred to as such because it does act similarly to a penalty because it will not rank duplicate search results unless a searcher clicks on the link at the bottom showing “display search results similar to the pages shown above”. [ read more ]
The duplicate content filter does not apply to local search engine optimization. As an example, if you are a DUI lawyer in the Los Angeles area and you want to be found for “Los Angeles DUI lawyer”, “Riverside DUI lawyer” or even “Orange County DUI” lawyer you can publish multiple pages with exactly the same content targeting those locations. You need to change the page title, headings, and content so that it refers to the area you are marketing to. I’ve seen this method work on a number of websites.