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Are forms considered repeat content by google?

     
2:47 pm on Jan 21, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Hi,

I am after some considered options about forms in HTML. I use forms for user feedback, my search facility and my purchasing process. The later two of these use a "third party shopping basket" type of arrangement.

Does anyone know if using very similar forms, on most pages of my sites, can cause a "repeated information penalty"?

I look forward to you replies.

7:08 pm on Jan 21, 2010 (gmt 0)

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First, except in the case of a serious spammer using lots of scraped content, there isn't a "repeated information penalty" or "duplicate content penalty". There is a filter that trues to keep only one version of a duplicate out of the results, but it doesn't penalize the domain.

What you describe doesn't sound problematic for that filter, unless it's part of a very thin page with no or very little unique content, a so-called stub page or a page with a very short product description and lots of "template" around it.

7:47 pm on Jan 21, 2010 (gmt 0)

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I almost always refrain from displaying forms on pages if the page detects a robot. Only people need forms (with rare exceptions).

Forms in SERPS result in spam attacks on the forms. The more forms the more spam.

9:28 pm on Jan 21, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Thanks Tedster.

Hmm. I would appear to have been out of the loop for a while. I did not understand about his concept of a filter. I think I saw a video of Matt Cutts supporting what you say at some point, but lost the plot a little bit I guess. :)

The small amount of information held in google results from forms leads me to also think your second point is correct. So it is good to get this confirmation.

I do remember some bits of forms being stored by SE's. MSN used to do this quite a bit back in the old days.

Having now subdued some of my fears about this, its on with implementing the plans.

Lets hope it all works out OK. After all the search forms do aid usability a lot. So, even if I do get spanked in SERPs, I still make my (far fewer) users happier.