If entire pieces of content on a site are duplicates then Google will rank one, not the other. However, multiple copies of the same page do not send negative ranking signals.
Google’s John Mueller during Google Search Central SEO office-hours made it clear that the duplicate content does not count negatively against a site in terms of search rankings, clarifying the misconception about duplicate content.
Having the same content repeated across multiple pages is not something that would cause a site to rank lower in search results.
Mueller added that it’s normal for sites to have a certain amount of duplicate content. Google’s algorithms are built to handle this.
Duplicate content is a topic that regularly comes up amongst SEOs, and it’s something many practitioners check for when auditing a site.
Duplicate pages can bloat a site and eat up crawl budget, but that’s another debate.
If sections of content are repeated throughout a site, such as content in the header or footer, Mueller confirms it will not send negative ranking signals either.
Website footers technically qualify as duplicate content, Mueller says, but that’s not a problem when it comes to search rankings either.
In order to support his argument, he elaborated on a really common case of e-commerce.
He said: “If you have a product, and someone else is selling the same product, or within a website maybe you have a footer that you share across all of your pages, and sometimes that’s a pretty big footer. Technically that’s duplicate content but we can kind of deal with that. So that shouldn’t be a problem.”