It’s widely reckoned that nearly a third of the web is duplicated content. Google really doesn’t like it.
That’s not to say you shouldn’t re-purpose content for your site, in fact adding value to existing subjects is a good thing, especially if they are trending.
But the fact remains, directly copy and pasting content from the web onto your site is a waste of effort and could hurt your search engine results. 18 months ago Matt Cutts of Google’s Webspam team posted a great video about duplicate content and how they view it.
Matt Cutts defines duplicate content as: “Duplicate content generally refers to substantive blocks of content within or across domains that either completely match other content or are appreciably similar.”
This has come about due to spammers trying to “steal” high-quality content to help their rankings and these deceptive practices is what Google is aiming to block due to the perception of a lower quality experience.
The important take-away from this is that Google tries to index and show pages with distinct information. In the rare cases in which Google perceives that duplicate content may be shown with aim of manipulating rankings they may make appropriate adjustments in the indexing and ranking of the site.
So, unless you are maliciously copying everything it’s unlikely you’ll be delisted. However, it is acceptable to edit and precise content if you are adding value and producing a substantively new work. This could include adding comments and enhancing (by expansion or more concise writing) to an existing article.
So, next time you’re creating a new post for your WordPress web-site, think twice about copying and pasting whole articles and focus on adding value.