Sometimes it’s a bit saddening to hear about other bloggers that only scribble stuff based on what they think are the current whiffs of Google. Ideally, people don’t need to ponder on how a freakin’ machine will gauge their content, but just try to create it the best as possible for humans.
But I guess that with all the Pandas, Penguins and other mysterious animals, webmasters are pretty terrified from all the snares in the search jungle. So after last week the brutes’ progenitor discussed about links, this week Matt Cutts is talking about the content itself. More specifically, if quoting another source might endanger the site with a duplicate content penalty.
In a nutshell, Cutts basically says Google has no problem with quoting another source if the writer add more value to the post. Meaning, there is no risk if you write your own words and thoughts about a certain topic and add a citation from elsewhere (with a link attribution to the source).
That said, copying a whole article from another website or from a few websites (“Quote, quote, quote, quote!”) without adding any additional original substance of yourself may cause some problems with Google- the page itself probably won’t rank high and if this is a common practice by the webmaster, then there’s a peril of a site-wide rankings degradation.
Here’s a quote of Matt Cutts talking about quotes:
…You’re a regular blogger and you just want to quote an excerpt you know of some author you like or some other blogger who has good insight. Just put that in the blockquote, include a link to the original source and you’re in a pretty good shape. If that’s the sort of thing you are doing, I would never worry about getting dinged for duplicate content.
Personally, I don’t think it has to be so complicated for bloggers. When you write something and you believe that presenting a quote from another article will contribute to your post to illustrate your point, just quote it! Overthinking about the SEO repercussions of everything you write can eventually downgrade the merits of your writing.