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It is written everywhere that lack of original content is has a negative impact on ranking. But what is lack of original content? (I am not talking about duplicate content)

I guess if you copy other site's content, this makes sense. But, assuming one develops its own functionalities, but similar functionalities are already available on other sites, is this considered lack of original content?

Can Google decide to not index such pages (i.e., not give them a chance at all)?

Are there other definition of 'lack of original content'?

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3 Answers

up vote 6 down vote accepted

Your site needs to have something, be it content or functionality that differentiates it from the other sites on the internet. Here are some examples.

The internet doesn't need yet another site that...

  • ...publishes the text of the Bible. That is, unless your site does it better than all the others with unique insight, commentary, or even a novel way of viewing and navigating the content.
  • ...lets users play Tetris. Unless your site has a new variation of the game, or a social network with a better scoring system that attracts lots of users.
  • ...sells the same products that can be found elsewhere online. Unless you have better prices, better customer service, or more customer reviews than the competition.
  • ...is a thin affiliate site for Amazon. Unless your site can provide just the set of products that a specific set of users is looking for and that set of products can't easily be found without your site.

When talking about "enough original content", ask yourself these questions:

  • What value is my site adding to the internet?
  • What can users learn on my site that they can't learn elsewhere?
  • If my site went down, would the users that I have miss it, or could they make do with the competition?
  • Would a new vistor to the site say "I've seen another site exactly like this"?
  • Are people doing search queries that only my site can answer?

You won't get penalized for your site having functionality that is found elsewhere or even for syndicating content from other sites (legally, with permission and attribution). You will get punished for not having enough above and beyond what is already out there.

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In the world of e-commerce one-liner product descriptions are not king. If it looks like a rip and redisplay of Ingram Micro's database feed with not original and compelling content from you telling your customers how and why the product is useful and needed, you're MEH on the Google Interest-o-Meter. –  Fiasco Labs Oct 20 '13 at 5:28
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Functionality is not the same as content. Google can see the difference between HTML/JS/whatever code and text that's visible for users. They don't take the code into account, of course, since that would punish anyone using any pre-made CMS.

"Lack of original content" means copied text or lack of text, simple as that.

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Remember Google bots see your HTML and are not capable of knowing which functionalities has been copied from an other site.

If by developing your functionality, it generates duplicate content with an other site, it can be having a negative impact on SEO. However, if your functionality doesn't generate duplicate content, there is no problem. Of course you can copy a functionality from an other site (it's called business).

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