Content "Stitching" - Is it OK by Google?
You've probably visited a few blogs and websites that made you think, "this information is great, but haven't I heard this before?" In order to give relevant content to their users without spending a lot of time or resources, many sites copy and paste content from other authoritative sites, leaving a citation as the only clue that the content isn't original.
Often, sites will stitch together paragraphs and lists from other pages into a single, more comprehensive page - slightly more valuable to the user, but far from original. Does Google appreciate this type of practice, or would they rather see original content?
Synthesize, Don't Stitch
To answer the question definitively, search spam chief Matt Cutts of Google has posted a video in reply to Rajesh from New Delhi, India, who asks:
"Hi Matt, can a site still do well in Google if I copy only a small portion of content from different websites and create my own article by combining it all, considering I will mention the source of that content (by giving their URLs in the article)?"
Matt begins by warning Rajesh that he's going to be disappointed with his answer. He explains that before Google was even a major player on the search scene, Yahoo decided that stitched-together content was unacceptable because reassembled quotes provide very little value to the user. Not surprisingly, Google agrees.
However, Cutts says that it is entirely acceptable and even encouraged to "synthesize" a new article from existing content found in various places, so long as citations are used and all of the content is written originally. Ideally, the writer of the new content should offer some sort of original analysis or information based on the cited research that's been performed. This is exactly what Wikipedia does every minute of the day, so it's important to ask yourself - do Wikipedia pages rank well for the keywords I'm interested in? Can I put my own spin on what they do and give my users something real and valuable?
The answer, of course, is yes - but it's important not to ignore the fact that such an endeavor requires time, planning and resources, all worthwhile and necessary expenditures in the pursuit of a better ranking for your page.