OK, I lost power and couldn’t blog the beginning of the session which is wrapping up but I’ll try to get a link to the simply excellent presentation by Tim Converse at Yahoo which detailed many aspects of the Duplicate Content issue. This is probably a major problem for Travel site Online Highways despite a huge investment in editing over the years. We still have lots of thin content pages and this appears it could be all or part of our problems ranking at Google and (very recently) Yahoo.
Amanda Watlington, Bill Slawski had good presentations and Brian White of Google also gave a PPT with similar but less detailed coverage. Brian did indicate that the info presented by Tim was in line with Google’s thinking about this complex topic that IMHO affects a growing percentage of the web’s total pages, and kills off many inappropriately. It was suggested that the ideal is thought of as a single page, removing all the duplicate content. [I’d argue that queries are too vague to define things this specifically, and often the “best” site will have hundreds of “similar” pages that are best left to user’s choice. Unfortunately this approach would be too spammable so I think lots of collateral damage ensues.]
RE: Citation tag – sounded like Brian and Tim hadn’t even heard of this tag, so I’m now skeptical it’ll help remove duplication penalties for a site that had been scraped heavily.
Wow – It was just suggested by Tim that in some cases it’s best to start a new site if you’ve been penalized, but first he said to clean up the site and then get it reviewed. This is the first “official” recognition I’ve seen for the idea that a URL can be so poisoned it must be abandoned.
Great session – Kudos to Tim for a super helpful PPT and other presenters for tackling this complex topic so well.