What’s Google’s latest position on duplicate content as of late 2019?
First, what exactly is duplicate content? According to Google, “duplicate content generally refers to substantive blocks of content within or across domains [websites] that either completely match other content or are appreciably similar.”
Pretty much, just be the first to post a piece of content, and make sure that no one else outside your domains does so without your permission, using legal means if necessary. As of 2019, Google was elaborating with, “Important: The Lowest rating is appropriate if all or almost all of the MC (main content) on the page is copied with little or no time, effort, expertise, manual curation, or added value for users. Such pages should be rated Lowest, even if the page assigns credit for the content to another source.” (Google Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines).
A more clear explanation was given by Google’s Webmaster Trends Analyst John Mueller in 2018: “When large portions of the website are copied across both of these sites then we assume that actually the whole website is kind of a copy of another and we try to help you by just picking one and showing that so if you don’t want that to happen then make sure that these pages are really unique that the whole website on its own can stand on its own is not seen as mostly a copy of another.” (Italics added).
So long story short, if you have multiple websites sharing duplicate content, make sure that less than 50% of one site’s content can be found on another site (and the lower that duplicate content percentage, the better). As of this writing, this webmaster runs five websites out of his Managed WordPress Hosting account, with respective page counts of 356, 148, 18, 11 and 9. The second-largest site (with 148 pages) has 46 pages of content duplicated from the largest site (roughly 30% of its own total), so, according to Google, at least the two sites are differentiated in search results. Also, the second site has substantial links back to the larger site where the content originally appeared.