Our customers often ask me if duplicating content across multiple sites can compromise their search engine positions. The answer is: it depends on what you are trying to do. Some are trying to get more visibility through search engines by duplicating content across multiple domains; others have a more “innocent” goal of building a secondary website for a different market segment, or even creating “printer-friendly” or “mobile-friendly” pages of websites that contain same content but present it in a different format . Others simply would like to move their website to a new URL.
I recently came across a interesting piece written by Greg Grothaus titled ” Duplicate Content & Multiple Site Issues” (http://docs.google.com/present/view?id=dgk2ft62_40g8w32thb) that any serious webmaster or website-owner should read.
Basically, the answer is simple: if your intent is to manipulate search engine rankings – this will almost always land you in trouble. Search engines like Google get more and more sophisticated every day. There is simply no proven way to duplicate content and not risk being banned or penalized in the long term.
However, there could be legitimate reasons for having duplicate content in which case it is a good idea to take steps preventing Google and other search engines from “thinking” that you are trying to cheat the system. There are many proven methods like Permanent (301) HTTP Redirects, Canonical META tags, and keeping an eye on Google Webmaster Tools.
If you think your website may have this problem, talk to your web developer. If they have no idea what you are talking about, talk to us.