I have a website which I started recently, with this website I have partnered with many other websites who have agreed to let me copy and use thier content on my site for link exchange.

So in this manner in a very short time I have some really good content of various topics on my site.

Now my concern is, since I have copied the content from other sites (but by properly asking their permissions) Will this affect my Google page ranking?

Can some one please explain me how this works?

  • 4
    There are things you can do so that duplicate content will not hurt you and I will let someone answer to that. However, you just violated Google's #1 and #2 rules- duplicate content and link exchange. For a site to perform well, it must have original content. As well linking schemes can get you into trouble. It is not against the rules to exchange links, however, if a site is willing to allow you to copy content and swap links, I have to wonder what value they really have and if you really want to do this?
    – closetnoc
    Commented May 5, 2014 at 5:22
  • I understand he does it only to have some start-up content, so he doesnt serve a blank page. If that is the case, this aproach is kinda good
    – Martijn
    Commented May 5, 2014 at 10:01
  • 2
    See also: What is duplicate content? which has large answer section about "Content Syndication" -- copying content from other sites with permission. Commented May 5, 2014 at 10:44
  • 1
    @Martijn I do understand. And I do have empathy for the guy. No question. There is no substitute for doing the hard work. I was not trying to be harsh. Just definitive that he may be making a mistake by borrowing content that already exists. That may be good for a month or two, but then what? Hopefully original content. It just sounded like he was stepping off with the wrong foot. I wish Yasser all success as he starts out.
    – closetnoc
    Commented May 5, 2014 at 14:38
  • Do note that most of the below suggestions will mark the duplicate content as "not yours" which would avoid penalties, but also mean that google won't ever send people to those pages as well, they'll link to the canonical source instead - if all your content is from other sites, then none of it will count.
    – Peteris
    Commented May 5, 2014 at 16:08

4 Answers 4


It's very simple how it works:

Google sees 2 or more sites with the same content. It's not gonna show you all of them, because it's not really a good resultpage if everything is the same. So it starts to decide which of the sites will be shown.

It does this based on a few factors like:
- Which site had it first (on same publish date, this is THE FIRST FOUND, not perse the original)
- Which site has a better ranking?

After some formula they show you one, the others don't get shown. You do not get a penalty, but no points for content either.

In your case, it does benefit you a bit; you get points for users on your site, and the time they're on your site. If you have a blank website, they leave fast, if you have some basic content they stay longer.

The linkbuiling is something you should be carefull with. Quality over quantity, only get links from relevant sites' relevant pages. Don't expect too much from this. Also, check if their anchors have rel="nofollow". If so, you dont get ANY SEO value from it at all :)


Let me give you practical answer. If yours is heavy backlink profile from high worth sites then chances of Panda penalty will be much less than if you hadn't.

Secondly if you're copying articles "as is" then it is adding to internet spam. Everyone wastes time and energy on such sites. Google abhors such sites.

These ways you can help reduce web spam:

  • So you should use rel=canonical on such copied pages pointing them to original versions. In that case, Google will take care to discount your "copied" pages in the SERP and Google index.
  • Use meta tag noindex to show the search engines you don't want them crawl it
  • Disallow such pages through robots.txt. For example you can have all copied pages within /copied folder and use Disallow: /copied/ within Robots.txt
  • Host such copied material with Iframe. Such content within iframe will be ignored by Google etc. I think this is the best way to show copied content. You need not maintain any versions nor spend disk-space for duplicate content.

Otherwise your site will be devalued in no time.


Set a preferred URL for your content using canonical URL

A canonical link element is an HTML element that helps webmasters prevent duplicate content issues by specifying the "canonical", or "preferred", version of a web page as part of search engine optimization.

What is rel=canonical and Why Should I Use It:

When you run a data driven site or have other reasons why a document might be duplicated it’s important to tell search engines which copy is the master copy, or in the jargon, the “canonical” copy. When a search engine indexes your pages it can tell when content has been duplicated. Without additional information, the search engine will decide which page best meets the needs of their customers. This might be fine, but there are many instances of search engines delivering old and outdated pages because they chose the wrong document as canonical.

link rel="canonical" href="URL of the canonical page

It is very easy to tell search engines the canonical URL with meta data in the HEAD of your documents. Put the following HTML near the top of your HEAD element on every page that is not canonical:


You need to avoid copying content from other sites, it's a golden rule for SEO. If you do it, don't expect positive effect from Google.

Thus, of course this technique will affect your Google ranking. Google doesn't care you ask properly permissions of copying content and will detect your content is copied. That way, you risk SEO penalties for your site and the other sites too.

To rank well on Google, you must deserve it by creating good content by yourself.

Moreover, avoid link exchanges, it's not effective for SEO anymore.

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