Matt Cutts explains why quoting isn't duplicate content on the web

Will Google consider quoted material duplicate content?

If you've been blogging for a while, you surely have quoted a source from the web and re-posted an excerpt from the source as part of your article or blog content, enclosing that excerpt in quotation marks. (block quote in Wordpress).

In the latest Webmaster tools video below, Matt Cutts says quoting is not duplicate content, but he says only if you don't quote the entire article from your source (which is tantamount to copying or plagiarism). His video was a reply to the question:

How can you quote correctly from different sources without getting penalized for duplicate content?

He says:

“Let's take a couple of examples. Let's say you are a regular blogger, and you just want to quote an excerpt – you know, some author you like or some other blogger who has a good insight – just put that in a blockquote, include a link to the original source, and you’re in pretty good shape.... If that’s the sort of thing that you’re doing, I would never worry about getting dinged by duplicate content. We do have good ways of detecting that sort of thing without any sort of issue at all.”

“If, however, your idea of quoting is including an entire article from some other site, or maybe even multiple articles, and you’re not doing any original content yourself, then that can affect the reputation of how we view your site."

Cutt's statements will provide relief to bloggers who have always been concerned about lifting a paragraph or two from a source (like another blogger or a news website), and then providing their own insight, research or perspective.

Quoting is very popular in political blogs where pundits quote a news item or another political blogger and then inject their own view or reaction to that quoted material.

I also see this used a lot in entertainment blogs and technology blogs where there is a lot of opportunity to react, research or express an opinion.

Here are my own tips on properly quoting on the web:

  • Always link to your source
  • Enclose the quote with the blockquote tag (In Wordpress, we use the "< blockquote >" )
  • Make sure your theme or CSS properly distinguishes a quote from regular text
  • Have a good balance of quoted material and original content. There's really no mathematic formula here, but I would recommend not more than 30% quoted material. (For example, if you had 10 paragraphs, three would be quoted and that's fine for me.)

Curation and quoting

Don't confuse quoting with curation. The word curation as it applies on the web or blogging has been bastardized by internet marketers to the point that curation for some people means grabbing content wholesale from different sources and assembling them into a blog post.

This is wrong.

But I see it all the time being peddled in so called "curation software" which are no more than glorified scrapers.

You can do curation and use quoted material effectively by making sure there is a good balance of original and quoted content, and you inject your own research, perspective, opinion, reaction and expert knowledge.

To your success!

--Gerry

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