I have a site with a huge collection of Q&A's that we share with a larger site who has huge organic traffic to leverage their seo and get more adv $ (we have a rev share agreement)
Currently we are not indexing our content on google so neither of us gets penalized. Is this how it's supposed to be or can I index my content too?
For the most part, I concur with the previous answers.
I do want to clarify: There is no Google penalty for duplicate content. A Google penalty is a specific kind of action. Duplicate content, generally speaking, can certainly hurt your sites performance, but there's no penalty.
So much depends on the specifics of your situation. If this other site is the primary source of your revenue (or leads), then you probably want to do what will add gas to that fire.
Again, it depends on your business objectives. Providing them with content, traffic, links, whatever, doesn't provide you any long term "seo equity," but that may be ok.
Couple of additional ideas to consider, if appropriate:
1) Index the pages on your site, but add an rel=canonical tag that points Google to the source of the content (i.e. the huge organic traffic site). You might get a little more traffic. You won't hurt the other site.
2) Come up with a creative way to promote those Q&A's with original content on your site.
If this content is totally duplicate and they already have theirs indexed (with a bigger site), you'll want to keep these as "noindex, follow" with your meta robots tag. But, one of you should be the "owner" of that content and keep it indexed, not both of you. That will depend on A) who actually created the content and B) who should own the content and traffic. When your rev share expires, whoever gets to keep the content should be the one that has it indexed.
You also have the option of telling Google not to crawl these pages using your robots.txt file. The downside to this is that noindexed content can still pass link value to other pages of your website, but not if they can't crawl the noindexed pages. The upside to this is that it gives Google more time to crawl your other webpages which are actually indexed. This is related to the concepts of crawl budget (how much Google is willing to crawl your site over a time period) and crawl prioritization (making sure they crawl the good stuff).
Interesting question. From what you are saying, it makes me wonder what your reason would be for wanting to have your content indexed?
If you do decide to do it, you are definitely putting both sites at risk IMO. Even if you take all of the precautions to tag your content as the original source, you will likely be damaging the money site as they would risk losing visibility for the content you are providing.
I would want to know a little more about the motives and objectives of each business, but my initial recommendation would be not to do it based on what I see here. It has the potential to damage your business relationship.
If you are trying to take the business away for yourself, the answer might be a little different and would need to be very carefully thought out.
As Bill mentioned, duplicate content doesn't trigger a penalty. There are filters in place to eliminate duplicate results from within the SAME SITE but technically not across two sites. What can happen though is that one site will rank higher than the other for the content and you could end up with the wrong one ranking (if there really is a "wrong one").
That being said, I could point to thousands of situations where the same exact content shows up in multiple positions within the top 10 (think news sites syndicating articles), so it's not a guarantee that either site will take a hit. You can let both sites be indexed without too much worry as long as the entire pages aren't complete copies of eachother (which could result in a true penalty if caught...but not just because of the duplicated content), all the way down to the template. Ideally, if you really want to do it right and give both sites a shot to rank, they should each have some kind of unique value add that would serve the visitors in a way that there shouldn't be a reason to get flagged for a penalty.
The search engine's love content....just not duplicate content. Google claims there is no such thing as negative SEO. They don't punish sites Rather they don't reward sites with duplicate content. This is like saying "No Dessert" is not a punishment, but instead you weren't rewarded.
There is a white hat way to "have your cake and eat it too". If one of the sites adds additional content to each page (at least 200 words) or simply rewrites the content, it will most likely not be viewed as duplicate content. You both can get SEO credit. Finding a writer to do this should be very easy on oDesk or Zerys. Depending on the technical aspects of the content, you might even be able to find a college intern to work on the project.