Category Archives: Google reply about duplicate content

It seems I was wrong and the marketing monkeys at did reply – and with an explanation on how duplicate content works and that I have nothing to worry about! I can go on my merry way copying their articles and pasting them on my site, and Google won’t care a jot – at least according to Ms. Weng Lopez. Here is what she said:

Hi Darren,

Thanks for replying. For details, you can browse the database of our articles at, where you can also learn more about how we work.

For concerns about duplicate content here are two reasons:

1. Duplicate content is an issue only when present on your own site (and that kind of duplicate content could cause some serious trouble for you). But, Google won’t punish you for reprinting other peoples’ content and they routinely index duplicate content pages, without a problem. You can easily check this by Googling a random article title from an article directory, such as More often than not, you will find that multiple copies of the same article exist in Google’s index.

Why yes, if you search for a specific article title then you will find the sites where that article has been used. Naturally – if Google didn’t show you the sites where it had been used, it wouldn’t be of much use as a search engine. However, if I searched for phrases relating to that article I would NOT find each of those pages, all being duplicates of each other.

Google won’t punish you for copying content? I happen to think that’s about as inaccurate as you can get. Good luck with that Ms. Weng Lopez.

She continued:

2. We don’t require you to republish our articles “as is.” In fact, you can change them as much (or as little) as you wish and you will own the copyright. In our experience, it’s enough for Google to consider a page unique, if it has a unique title and a meta description. By adding a short 1-2 sentence introduction at the beginning, you should be more than covered.

“In our experience, it’s enough for Google to consider a page unique, if it has a unique title and a meta description.” …erm… no. A world of no, and once again, just in case I’ve not made myself perfectly clear, no.

Btw, we will be covering the issue of duplicate content in detail in our community, which is another good reason for joining. If you are interested, just follow this link and register with the following invitation code: w4507l .

Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me again.

Best regards,

Ms. Weng Lopez

Now I have to admit, I am curious as to what they’re going to say about duplicate content – merely because I need a good laugh and don’t often get chuckles on an SEO front – since I stopped visiting the forums at SEOchat at least.

However, I think I’ll leave this be for now… although I can feel the urge to reply coming on.

Anti CSA website causing some problems for the CSA

My problems with the Child Support Agency are well documented, as are a great many people’s problems I guess. Because my efforts to get them to admit their mistakes proved fruitless, even when they posted someone else’s bank details to me, I set up the anti-CSA website

This website was created to allow people who are having trouble with the Child Support Agency to voice their problems to the world and maybe get some advice on how to deal with it.

On the website you can read emails we have received from non resident parents and parents with care who have given up hope on trying to get the CSA to do their job properly. The website also features my famed YouTube videos of phone calls I have had with the CSA.

Now, how has this impacted?

Firstly, anyone looking for the ‘child support agency’ who Google’s ‘child support agency’ is able to see my legendary CSA video on the front page of Google, as you can see here.


The video has received almost 10,000 views at time of writing this, and will receive a lot more over the coming weeks and months. The ‘administrative error’ the hapless Ryan admits to on the phone is hilarious, and very damning for the CSA.

But what of people looking for ‘CSA Complaints’? Well, I have that one sewn up in spades. Not one, but TWO websites on the front page of Google, and


There’s no escaping for the CSA. We’re here to stay and we’re only getting stronger.

If you’ve been screwed over by them, have your say at and tell the world your story. It will be heard, by a LOT of people.

Google News full of spam

This week I wrote about Google News and the benefits of being included in Google News, however I have noticed a great many sites that are listed that don’t deserve to be listed, either through offering poor quality content, duplicate content or content hidden behind login pages.

For example, this week I was looking for some news on business travel for a particular website and found the website for listed in Google News. The article listed seemed very suspicious so I ran it through Copyscape and found that sure enough, it was taken from an article directory.

The article published on was this one, published on May 19th. This article was copied from this website, which published the article on May 15th.

Not strictly against the rules of the article site, but certainly against Google’s TOS. You can’t duplicate content from other websites and expect to rank for it. However, not only have duplicated content, they managed to get that content listed with Google News, which is ridiculous. Does this mean that Google’s news service is going to become full of duplicate content and spam results?

It shouldn’t as Google News has a manual review process in order to gain entry, so anything like this really should flagged up. Checking Copyscape is one of the first things I do when I look at a website for SEO, so you’d think Google would be on top of that, wouldn’t you?

Even so I filed a spam report for Google, so hopefully they’ll do something about it, but history shows that spam reports filed to Google don’t necessarily have much impact.


We’ll see if this one gets anywhere as I’ll be monitoring Google News for to see if their duplicate content continues to get indexed as news, when it isn’t.

Why getting into Google News is important

Google News is Google’s own news delivery service offering up-to-date information from trustworthy news sites. You can see the tab for the ‘news’ link at the top of Google when you make a search, and sometimes news is displayed on the front of Google when you search.

Now, getting into Google News is very tough. There are a lot of requirements to meet, both technical and in terms of quality of your content, but the advantages of getting into Google News are vast.

For example, if you’re in Google News you’ll find you’ll receive huge boosts of traffic whenever you write a new post, especially if that post is particularly topical. You’ll also receive hundreds and thousands of free back links from sites that subscribe to Google News, which of course vastly aids your SEO.

Here’s an example of one of my sites which is in Google News, TheTransformers.Net. Yesterday a post was written about the new Transformers movie, Transformers Revenge of the Fallen. The post spoke of new photos that had been released, one of which featuring Megan Fox. For those who don’t know, Megan is a particularly searched for lady on the Internet, and my post on TheTrasnformers.Net landed itself a top place listing in Google’s organic search (via Universal Search) when the story broke, as can be seen here.


Naturally, being listed at the top of Google for a search on Megan Fox brought a wave of traffic to the site, as you can see from the stats below for May 19th.

Plus, any sites that feature Google news feeds looking for information on Megan Fox (of which there are many) also featured links to TheTransformers.Net, which helps its organic search rankings.


So you see, getting into Google News is great for your SEO and really boosts your rankings and traffic.

Incidentally, isn’t in Google News, nor will it ever be… it’s not quite the site they’re looking for. Is yours?

HTC Magic Review

I bought a new phone this last week, and took delivery of it over the weekend. The phone I bought (leaving Vodafone after a decade, but more on that another time) is the HTC Touch HD.

However, before I go into that phone (as I’m still playing with it and it’s late) I wanted to share this review I found for the HTC Magic. Now, I didn’t even know what a HTC Magic was, and this review makes me think I should have looked at it in some detail. The name ‘Google’ attached to the HTC Magic gives it a certain kudos in my book.

Have a look and see what you think. I’ll get to reviewing the HTC Touch HD shortly too.

5 sure-fire ways to get your website banned by Google

I’ve got another feature running in .Net magazine in June (I’ve had quite a few now) but this one’s something of an annoyance. When I wrote the article it was titled: ‘5 sure-fire ways to get your website banned by Google’, but they thought it wasn’t a good idea to run a story like that as people might think it’s advice to be followed, rather than the tongue in cheek style that was intended.

Subsequently the article was watered down to what you see below.

Naturally the original article was better and carried more gravitas. It stated that many SEO websites and forums (including some SEO companies and professionals) offer advice that will get your website banned, and the 5 ‘tips’ presented were all the sort of gems of advice that you could receive that, should you follow, could end in your website being banned.

How to avoid getting your website banned

You can also download the PDF here.

But, if you’d rather read the original article (perhaps just to compare) here it is:

5 sure-fire ways to get your website banned by Google

In the world of SEO and online marketing, everyone looks for a way to get ahead of the competition, something that will give them that extra edge. With many SEO companies, SEO websites and SEO forums offering advice on improving your rankings, you don’t have to look far for tips. However, just how trustworthy is some of the information you’ll find?

Far from increasing your rankings, you could find that the SEO advice you’ve found actually hinders you to the point where you are banned from Google. Here are some basic tips that you may well find online that will get your website banned. Use them at your peril.

Stuff your site with keywords
The more you mention your keywords on your site, the higher it will rank! By repeating your keywords over and over again in your content, you’re sure to increase your ranking for those keywords, surely?

Copy content from your competitors’ websites
If your competitor’s website has some great content and they’re ranking for search terms, you could copy their content and paste it on your website. This means your site will rank for those terms as well. You could even find articles written on free article sites and reuse those, so you’ll have loads more pages on your site. Isn’t this a great way to get free content?

Hide text on your website
Sometimes you won’t want ugly text on your website, especially when it hinders your fluid design. You can always hide it on the page, maybe by changing the text colour to the same as the background, or by using CSS to hide it off the page. This way Google can index it and your website won’t be spoilt by its presence. Loads of SEO companies do this, so it must work?

Create doorway pages
How about creating special doorway pages focused on a specific keyword that are designed to rank in Google, and when they’re visited by a user they redirect to your front page? This allows you to create dozens of pages, all targeting different keywords, without harming your site’s look. You’ll have loads of listings within Google, vastly increasing your traffic, won’t you?

Add affiliate links
Linking to other, more established websites is sure to help your rankings. What could be better than adding hundreds of affiliate links to websites and the product descriptions for the products themselves? This will earn you money as well as improve the amount of content on your website.

All of these tips can be found on various SEO websites and are even offered by some SEO consultants, yet following the advice can lead to your website being penalised by Google and even banned from the index entirely.

SEO company uses spam websites to sell links under Google’s nose

The process of selling links to people on your website for the purposes of SEO and passing PageRank has long been frowned upon by Google. It’s against their TOS and they even have a way in Google Webmaster Tools for you to report websites selling links.

However, it still goes on. Websites sell links direct to other websites and SEO companies buy links for their clients from link suppliers. I have even been penalised by Google for it. Some companies own hundreds, sometimes thousands, of websites just for the purpose of selling links.

One such SEO company owns the websites below. They make a point of creating hundreds of websites just to sell links on, and even buy up domains that have just expired so that they can offer links on domains with PageRank and IBLs (inbound links) for their clients.

This process, as I’ve already stated, is frowned upon by Google, yet Google seems to turn a blind eye to it. These websites, many of which are listed below, use the same template and consist of a small bit of text, followed by dozens of irrelevant links to client sites. One of these sites,, features links to websites offering piano lessons, football tournaments, mouse mats… you name it. Whatever they can sell links for. All of the other sites, listed below, are the same. They’re devoid of unique, relevant content and exist purely to act as links to other websites. Just what Google wants to avoid.

How did I find this list of websites? Simple, whoever created them did so in a very amateurish way as they included the same intro line on every site. Simply Googling that line as an exact match showed up all of the other websites. However, I made the mistake of clicking on one of the results, which obviously then showed up on their stats, and they subsequently removed the line that was identical on all of the sites. Not before I copied the list though!

You’ll also notice that they’re all on the same IP address, on a server owned by Fasthosts… no surprise they’re involved somewhere.

Despite these websites being obvious spam links, they still carry PageRank and still rank within Google for competitive phrases. The question is, why does Google allow this when it’s so clearly against its TOS?

Have a look at the list of URLs and see what you think. Do these look like spam websites to you?

Why Google PageRank is meaningless

I posted previously how Google had penalised this site for selling links by hitting me with a PageRank penalty. Now Google has completely stripped this site of PR (as you can see if you have the PR toolbar) for what I can only speculate is link selling.

This is a bit of an annoyance to be honest because this site hasn’t sold any links except for the TextLinkAds widget on the right, which has been there for a few years now and only has one link.

What’s worse is that many other sites continue to sell links, right under Google’s nose, without any kind of penalty, though I’ll be blogging more on these in due time, and about how I’ve reported these sites to Google and Google has done nothing about it.

Still, as the title of this post suggests, PR is meaningless. It doesn’t affect your traffic or your rankings within the SERPs. The only advantage to PageRank is that advertisers can see how popular site is more easily. Anyone who looked at this site without paying too much attention could assume it didn’t get any traffic… which would be something of a mistake.