I found a similar answer here but it doesn't make sense to me because I found the following on the first page of Google:

Google search results: a result from wikipedia.org is on rank 2, a result from princeton.edu is on rank 3, and both start with the same description

I found two similar blurbs

These two blurbs seem very similar and when you look at both pages you find that the Princeton page is just a copied version of the first section of the Wikipedia page.

Why is Princeton's site ranking?

Following the logic laid out in the previous article, how is this possible?

Search engines need to penalize some instances of duplicate content that are designed to spam their search index such as:

  • scraper sites which copy content wholesale...

Doesn't Princeton's site fall under the "scraper sites" mentioned in the other explanation of how Google penalizes duplicate content?

Here are the two links:

  • 1
    It might still be less than 10% copy. If you enter the page in CopyScape.com, then it can tell you what percentage is the same. If it is less than a certain percentage (don't know exactly - probably 20%), then it won't count as a copy. The excerpt you highlighted is 100% match, but there might be lots of other text on the page which dilutes it to 5% match.
    – Chloe
    Dec 11, 2014 at 16:46
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    If Google penalized all copied content then Wikipedia would have quite a low ranking. It stands to reason that sometimes copied content actually gets rewarded. Good question.
    – KnightHawk
    Dec 13, 2014 at 16:22
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    @JosephNeathawk, I agree. The accepted answer makes sense but I would like more details because I bet if I put up a similar page it would not rank well. I think pricenton.edu carries a lot of weight.
    – anglinb
    Dec 13, 2014 at 22:55
  • Yes we would all like more details about Google rankings... but then we would all be super. And when everyone is super, then no-one will be.
    – KnightHawk
    Dec 13, 2014 at 23:40

1 Answer 1


The Princeton copy is not a full copy of the article and still falls within the parameters of Content Syndication on the page you linked to: What is duplicate content and how can I avoid being penalized for it on my site?

It does give full credit and links back to the original as suggested in the Content Syndication section.

As to why the Princeton page ranks so high in the SERPs? Likely because Princeton enjoys significant rank and trust in general. The page does not appear to be spammy which is what Google's concern is.

Is this page scraped? No. I doubt it. I am sure it was a manual attempt. Cut and paste? Yes. Scraped? No.

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