I know that Google has a duplicate content penalty for text, such as articles, etc.

However, does Google apply this penalty to two identical designs, such as templates?

I'm guessing that Google only cares about the content and not the internal markup/structure that makes up a web page, right?


2 Answers 2


No. Although Google does do some basic checks in the stylesheets (apparently, cloaking text by making it white on white will be detected) Google does not pay attention to the graphical aspects of a site.

If they did, the entire market for free themes would collapse, just think about all those major vBulletin forums that use the default skin... And what about all those Wordpress blogs that come with the default theme.

If a unique design would be a prerequisite for a good SEO score they would soon cost hundreds of dollars each. Google is about finding the most relevant content, not about finding the most unique designs.


asked Jan 19 '11 at 8:04

Your question had been asked over 2 years ago. Now Google looks at site in complex, not like separately for texts, links, templates etc.

Content duplicate is justified if it is useful for your visitors. You should only leave link to the original source.

Site's markup's evaluation is based on site download speed, errors and warnings in code validation.

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