• 27 Jan 2021
  • 3 Min read

Google: Identical content in different formats isn’t duplicate

This week, Google’s John Mueller confirmed that webmasters don’t need to worry about publishing identical content in different formats. This isn’t considered to be duplicate content, which means it won’t have a detrimental effect on your rankings.

So, if you’ve written a guide and decide to repurpose the content for a video tutorial, you can do this without worrying that Google will see them as the same.

The topic came up during the most recent Google Search Central office hours stream, as a question was submitted by a website owner who also runs a YouTube channel. They had found that their blog posts would rarely rank if they had pasted the exact same copy into a video and wanted to know whether this was because it’s considered to be duplicate content. But it seems this isn’t the case.

John Mueller said that Google isn’t capable of analysing the text in videos and then mapping this to other web pages. So, even if a video repeats what you’ve said in a blog post word for word, they’ll still be considered completed different pieces of content.

Regardless, similar content that’s presented in different formats isn’t seen as duplicate content, because the search engine is aware that users want information to be presented in various ways. . For example, some people might want to watch a video tutorial that shows them how to change the oil in their car, while others might prefer to read an in-depth article with diagrams.

Mueller actually encourages site owners to repurpose their content in this way, as it means you’ll be serving a wider audience and improving the user experience of your site.

He also added that, while the site owner’s blog posts might not be ranking, this won’t have anything to do with the videos they’ve made — it will be entirely to do with the blog posts themselves. And he even noted that duplicate content isn’t as big of a problem as some people might think.

He said: “With regards to duplicate content, if you had the same content in textual form on your website where it’s clearly duplicate content then what would happen there is we would pick one of those versions to show in Google Search.

“It’s not the case that we would say ‘oh this website has some duplicate content, we will not show it at all in Google’. Rather we will say ‘there are two versions here. We will pick one of these to show and we will just not show the other one’.”

So, if you ever notice that a page on your website isn’t currently ranking well for the terms you’re targeting, it’s unlikely to be because of duplicate content. Even if there are pages on your website with the exact same copy, Google will typically just choose one to show to internet users, as they don’t want to show multiple results that are essentially identical.

If you haven’t been repurposing and making the most of your content because you’ve been worried that you would be penalised by Google, this is your permission to give it a go! You could try lots of different approaches, from turning comprehensive guides into videos to creating infographics from your blog posts. This will help you to get your content to more people and, according to Google, that can only be a good thing.

If you aren’t sure where to start with creating and repurposing content, our team can help. Our SEO and content experts are well versed in creating high-quality content that both users and Google will love. So, if you need any help with this, get in touch today to discuss your goals.

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