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Google On Percentage That Represents Duplicate Content
Google’s John Mueller recently answered a question of whether there’s a percentage threshold of content duplication that Google uses to identify and filter out duplicate content.What Percentage Equals Duplicate Content?
The conversation actually started on Facebook when Duane Forrester (@DuaneForrester) asked if anyone knew if any search engine has published a percentage of content overlap at which content is considered duplicate.
Bill Hartzer (bhartzer) turned to Twitter to ask John Mueller and received a near immediate response.
“Hey @johnmu is there a percentage that represents duplicate content?
For example, should we be trying to make sure pages are at least 72.6 percent unique than other pages on our site?
Does Google even measure it?”
Google’s John Mueller responded:
There is no number (also how do you measure it anyway?)
— ????〈link href=//johnmu.com rel=canonical 〉???? (@JohnMu) September 23, 2022How Does Google Detect Duplicate Content?
Google’s methodology for detecting duplicate content has remained remarkably similar for many years.
Back in 2013, Matt Cutts (@mattcutts), a software engineer at the time at Google published an official Google video describing how Google detects duplicate content.
He started the video by stating that a great deal of Internet content is duplicate and that it’s a normal thing to happen.
“It’s important ot realize that if you look at content on the web, something like 25% or 30% of all the web’s content is duplicate content.
…People will quote a paragraph of a blog and then link to the blog, that sort of thing.”
He went on to say that because so much of duplicate content is innocent and without spammy intent that Google won’t penalize that content.
Penalizing webpages for having some duplicate content, he said, would have a negative effect on the quality of the search results.
What Google does when it finds duplicate content is:
“…try to group it all together and treat it as if it’s just one piece of content.”
“It’s just treated as something that we need to cluster appropriately. And we need to make sure that it ranks correctly.”
He explained that Google then chooses which page to show in the search results and that it filters out the duplicate pages in order to improve the user experience.How Google Handles Duplicate Content – 2020 Version
Fast forward to 2020 and Google published a Search Off the Record podcast episode where the same topic is described in remarkably similar language.
Here is the relevant section of that podcast from the 06:44 minutes into the episode:
“Gary Illyes: And now we ended up with the next step, which is actually canonicalization and dupe detection.
Martin Splitt: Isn’t that the same, dupe detection and canonicalization, kind of?
Gary Illyes: [00:06:56] Well, it’s not, right? Because first you have to detect the dupes, basically cluster them together, saying that all of these pages are dupes of each other,
and then you have to basically find a leader page for all of them.
…And that is canonicalization.
So, you have the duplication, which is the whole term, but within that you have cluster building, like dupe cluster building, and canonicalization. “
Gary next explains in technical terms how exactly they do this. Basically, Google isn’t really looking at percentages exactly, but rather comparing checksums.
A checksum can be said to be a representation of content as a series of numbers or letters. So if the content is duplicate then the checksum number sequence will be similar.
This is how Gary explained it:
“So, for dupe detection what we do is, well, we try to detect dupes.
And how we do that is perhaps how most people at other search engines do it, which is, basically, reducing the content into a hash or checksum and then comparing the checksums.”
Gary said Google does it that way because it’s easier (and obviously accurate).Google Detects Duplicate Content with Checksums
So when talking about duplicate content it’s probably not a matter of a threshold of percentage, where there’s a number at which content is said to be duplicate.
But rather, duplicate content is detected with a representation of the content in the form of a checksum and then those checksums are compared.
An additional takeaway is that there appears to be a distinction between when part of the content is duplicate and all of the content is duplicate.
Featured image by Shutterstock/Ezume Imagessource
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Google Announces 5 Changes Coming To Mobile Search
At today’s Google’s Search On conference, the company announced it’s rolling out five significant changes to how people search on mobile.
Starting today on the Google app for iOS, you’ll see shortcuts to various actions you can perform other than typing in a traditional search query.
In the coming months, Google is upgrading the mobile search bar with features that will help users find more relevant resultHowway Google displays results on mobile is about to change, becoming more visual with a greater focus on images and video.
Here’s more information on the updates rolling out today and in the near future.2. Google Search Shortcuts
There are many ways to search Google beyond typing in a text query.
You can find products by uploading screenshots, translate text with Google Lens, or even find songs by humming into the microphone.
Now, on the Google app for iOS, all the advanced methods of searching Google will be more apparent with tappable shortcuts.
See an example below of what they look like:Screenshot from: blog.google/products/search/search-on-2022-announcements/, September 2022. 2. Results In The Search Bar
Google is making finding things in mobile search even faster by displaying links to results in the search bar.
When you start typing, Google will begin populating results before you submit the query
In the example below, you can see Google displaying a link to a location page in the search bar:Screenshot from: blog.google/products/search/search-on-2022-announcements/, September 2022.
This feature is scheduled to roll out in the coming months.3. Enhanced Query Refinements
Google is making it easier to find the most relevant results by displaying an assortment of query refinements.
As you type a query into the mobile search bar, Google will offer ideas to make your question more specific.
In the example below, you can see Google suggesting different ways to expand on the query “best Mexico cities”:Screenshot from: blog.google/products/search/search-on-2022-announcements/, September 2022. 4. Google Web Stories
Google is making mobile search more visual with deeper integration of Google Web Stories
Google states in an announcement:
“So we’re also making it easier to explore a subject by highlighting the most relevant and helpful information, including content from creators on the open web. For topics like cities, you may see visual stories and short videos from people who have visited, tips on how to explore the city, things to do, how to get there and other important aspects you might want to know about as you plan your travels.”
Here’s an example of what the new layout will look like.Screenshot from: blog.google/products/search/search-on-2022-announcements/, September 2022.
The way content is displayed almost looks like iOS widgets.
You can tap on the story to open it in full-screen mode.Screenshot from: blog.google/products/search/search-on-2022-announcements/, September 2022. 5. Combining Text, Images, & Video
Google is turning mobile search results pages into an endless feed of discovery.
You’ll no longer have to toggle between the Web, Images, and Video tabs, as Google will display it all on the front page.Screenshot from: blog.google/products/search/search-on-2022-announcements/, September 2022.
Google describes this combination of text, images, and video on the same page as a “reimagining” of the way it delivers search results:
“We’re also reimagining the way we display results to better reflect the ways people explore topics. You’ll see the most relevant content, from a variety of sources, no matter what format the information comes in — whether that’s text, images or video.”
Additionally, you’ll have the option to continue scrolling to explore related queries.
The example below shows the bottom of a search page where you can choose to get more results for your query by tapping “More search results.” Or you explore the query “historic sites in Oaxaca” by scrolling vertically.Screenshot from: blog.google/products/search/search-on-2022-announcements/, September 2022.
These new ways to explore information in mobile search are rolling out in the next few months.
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