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Having duplicate content is a huge penalty in the search engines. FALSE!
Duplicate content is information that is the same or very similar to other content on your site or other sites on the web. You can end up with duplicate content on your site and not even know it. It’s important to check your site to make sure you have unique relevant content and your pages are not duplicated. Old content from previous versions of your site that was not removed or redirected with a 301 redirect can cause duplicate content.
There is a penalty for duplicate content. It is best to have fresh relevant content of your own that you have written or someone else has written for you. Pages with duplicate content may never get indexed and it is important to get pages indexed. If a page is not indexed it will never be found in an organic search..
Clearly written, unique, relevant information carries more weight getting your site known to the search engines as an authoritative trustworthy site than content that has been beaten to death. Search engine algorithms are looking for the most relevant information they can query for the searcher. You have to remember, search engines are a business and if they don’t produce the search results a searcher is looking for that person will use another search engine.
Affiliate program pages that contain nothing but affiliate ads can cause a huge drop in SERPS. Search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing do not rank pages well that have very little value except for affiliate linking. If you are running an affiliate program your pages should be about a subject with the ads included and not just an affiliate store front.
Even though duplicate content does not carry devastating penalties it is in the web site owners best interest to produce content that will be fresh and useful to the viewers.