Google is working on improving Webmastertools. There seems to be more integration with for example Google Analytics and they are delivering more ‘service’ to website owners by handing them information they didn’t ask for.
Yesterday Google announced the latest improvement in that. They are now warning site owners if Google thinks a page is considered to be duplicate content and therefore not showing up in the search results.
Google explains all this in a post on the Webmaster Central Blog. They stress there that site owners should really use rel=”canonical” elements or 301 redirects which should take care of most duplicate content issues. They however also note that many site owners do not use these or in some cases it just doesn’t go right. There can be several reasons for this which Google explains on their blogpost and the help topic which goes with it.
But you don’t have to be afraid this will happen to you without you knowing anymore. Google is now launching “new Webmaster Tools messages that will attempt to notify webmeisters when our algorithms select an external URL instead of one from their website.”
Site owners will be alerted when the Google algorithms selects “an external URL instead of one from their website“. The alerts will show up in the message center, so if there is nothing there, there is no problem.
Note: Google does not tell you if other sites are using your content, they are only telling you if your pages are not indexed because they are flagged as duplicate content.
It is again a nice move from Google to make life for webmasters easier and to make Webmastertools yet a bit more important. We are expecting Google to be working even more on Webmastertools, which will probably also mean more integration with the (free) Google Analytics service.