Is Google OK With Multiple Variations Of The Same Content?

In Google SEO office hours, John Mueller answers whether it’s okay for publishers to copy their own content and publish it, essentially copying parts of their own content in order to create similar but different content. John Mueller said it was correct up to the point where it is no longer correct and then offered an explanation of where that point is.


The person asking the question presented her as an editor who “plagiarized” herself. But that’s a misuse of the word plagiarism because the definition of plagiarism is taking someone else’s content and misrepresenting it as your own.

Obviously, you can’t plagiarize yourself just as you can’t steal yourself.

What the person asking the question really means is copying their own content.

Here is the question asked:

“Is Google okay with publishers plagiarizing their own content?

For example, I wrote an affiliate post suggesting something for mom. Can I copy the content of this article to write more articles for maybe a sister or a wife, an aunt or a grandmother?

Content reuse

Mueller noted the misuse of the word plagiarism and spoke about it.

Muller replied:

“So… I don’t know what the full definition of plagiarism is. But it seems like if you’re reusing your own content, it’s not really plagiarizing, at least as I understand it.

From Google’s perspective, whether you take content from your own website and republish it with some on-page elements changed is basically up to you.

Content should focus on value

Often we can think of content in terms of Google’s response. But Google’s response is usually based on the value that page provides to site visitors.

Mueller continued his response:

“And that’s something where my assumption is that in many cases you don’t provide a lot of value by just copying the existing article and changing some of the words in it.

So my feeling is, from a strategic standpoint, you would probably be in a better position to write something unique and compelling for these topics or create an article that somehow covers these different variations.

So that’s something from a strategic point of view that I would recommend.

But purely politically, I don’t think there’s anything specific about how you take individual articles and then make…a handful of copies of that.

So it’s something where like from… from a purely practical standpoint, it’s kind of up to you.

But my recommendation is really to do fewer articles that are really good. »

Door Pages

What the questioner is somewhat hinting at is a variation of doorway pages.

An old-school approach to sites was to create content pages targeting all fifty states in the United States, and for each state, create web pages for the top twenty cities by population.

The pages would be essentially the same, only the state and city names were different.

Google calls these doorway pages and this is something that could result in a manual penalty.

This is what Google’s official documentation on doorway pages warns:

“Doors are sites or pages created to rank for specific and similar search queries. They are bad for users because they can lead to multiple similar pages in users’ search results, where each result ends up taking the user to essentially the same destination.

They can also lead users to intermediate pages that are not as useful as the final destination.

Mueller warned against unintentionally creating doorway pages:

“The only extreme case here that may appear if you feel like copying your own content very intensely is that you end up creating doorway pages.

And that’s basically taking one piece of content and creating lots and lots of variations just with different words and that’s something that would be against our webmaster guidelines.

So that’s something I would watch out for and it’s also something where you create a ton of substandard… I would almost say junk pages for your website which is basically like fluff that doesn’t provide any unique value generally.

And instead of diluting your website content like that, I would recommend focusing on making the main content of your website much stronger.

So that’s kind of my recommendation there.

So if you’re asking, is Google ok with that, well it’s like you can do whatever you want on your website, but that doesn’t mean Google is going to like it.

Focus on content, not shortcuts

The big takeaway here is that content is a website’s most important asset. Content can contribute to the success or otherwise of a business.

Seeing how important content is, it makes sense that content is the one thing you shouldn’t skimp on or take shortcuts on.


Watch John Mueller answer the question within 7:34 minutes:

Leave a Comment