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I run a Business Listing Directory website listing local businesses in the area. These businesses are allowed to submit their company description, contact details, URL and other links such as Fb or Twitter.

What happens is that these companies usually copy the description text posted on their own website and paste it into the description on my directory word by word. This obviously creates duplicate content on my site.

My question is then, what sort of impact does this have onto my own SEO and is there any way I could handle this?

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This has been discussed by Google's Andrey Lipattsev most recently in June 2016 when he stated that Google does not have a duplicate content penalty.

As Andrey states

It is not a penalty if Google discovers your content is not unique and doesn't rank your page above a competitor's page.

It is further outlined by an SEO Audit company...

For SEO, it is not necessarily te abundance of duplicate content on a website that is the real issue. It is the lack of positive signals that no unique content or added value provides that will fail to help you rank faster and better on Google.

If your desire is to rank higher than other directory services then you should endeavour to have a fair bit of unique content and value added content on your site, however based on the information from Google you won't be penalised by having clients duplicate their descriptions from their own sites to their business listing on your directory service.

  • Many thanks for your input. Would it also help to insert a canonical link to the description text linking back to the company site, so google knows the original content is elsewhere? What if the original site has a 0 Page Rank? Would it have an impact on my SEO linking to these sites? – Joe Bloggs Oct 12 '16 at 22:54
  • The canonical link is more to do with fully duplicated pages such as what occurs with site mirrors. In your use case I do not think you would need a canonical link as based on the information you provided in your question you would be completely compliant with Google. – Chris Rutherfurd Oct 12 '16 at 22:56

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