Today we have another interesting bit of content news from the immortal Matt Cutts (may Google bless his name). In the latest installment of the Google Webmaster Video series, Matt talks about content stitching. If you’ve never heard of that, don’t worry, because you’ve definitely seen it. Content stitching is the practice of taking snippets of content from other websites and pasting them onto your own site with only a modicum of added content. A lot of people think this is good practice because it’s content and not “technically” duplicate because they’re adding original insight into the mix, but Cutts says it’s actually spam all the way.
Now, from what we understand, content stitching want draw a penalty (yet) but it won’t do any good for your website either. Basically, if all you’re doing is aggregating content and serving it up with a single sentence added to the bottom, you may as well save your time and not do anything at all. Sure, some sites like large news agencies are guilty of this kind of thing, but anyone who studies SEO should know at this point that different websites operate under different rules. If you’re large and authoritative in your industry, Google is going to serve the content you deliver, even if it does have some duplication. Of course, that’s a privilege reserved for only the biggest of sites, like Wikipedia or the New York Times.
If you want to quote content, you still can, just make sure you have a lot more unique content around it. As a rule of thumb, the amount of unique content should AT LEAST equal the quoted content. Also, put the quoted content in block quotes so that Google knows you aren’t trying to game the system. For maximum Google points, link the block quoted material to the source.