Is A Quote Considered Duplicate Content?

Brendan Egan

Is A Quote Considered Duplicate Content?

With the Google Panda update that first rolled out about 1.5 years ago, everyone is extremely concerned about duplicate content on their websites or blogs.  Duplicate content these days is like a search engine death penalty, resulting in dramatic drops in rankings and organic traffic.
While this algorithm is targeted at removing low quality websites from search results, often times website owners are posting duplicate content without even realizing it.  In our experiences, the number one way our clients end up posting duplicate content is through quotes.

Are Quotes Duplicate Content In Google’s Eyes?

In short no, however there are some stipulations to that.  Google’s Matt Cutts answers these question in a recent video asked by a viewer:

What Should I Know About Quotes?

Many of these points are mentioned in the video, however it’s important to remember the following about using quotes:

  • First of all, it’s important to denote a quote by using “blockquote” HTML coding to tell search engines (and readers) that the quote is a quote. Blockquote is easily added in most content management systems (CMS).
  • It can help to link back to the original source to show you are properly citing that quote and it actually is a quote and not just copied content.  This means you should use quotes and link out wisely as you don’t want to be linking to a bunch of questionable websites.
  • It’s important to surround quotes with high quality, unique content.  This means if you have a 50 word quote, you should have at least several hundred words of high quality, unique content surrounding that quote and explaining the context of it.
  • It’s important to use quotes to further enrich your content but not to be your entire basis of your content.  Every time you quote, it should be used to add value to a piece of content you are writing or have already written
  • Lastly, quotes and using quotes can vary from one type of website to another.  In one niche a stronger strategy may need to be developed than others, so it’s important to work with a professional to stay up-to-date on latest search engine changes.

We believe in many cases website owners use quotes improperly and ignore the 5 tips we mentioned above, which ends up resulting in hurting their rankings.  While Google directly says that quotes are okay to use and are not considered duplicate content, that only applies when they are used properly and how Google believes quotes should be used.  Pushing the limits or abusing quotes can certainly end up in duplicate content penalties as a quote basically is duplicate content when not used properly.