One thing that gets talked about feverishly on webmaster forums is the duplicate content penalty. There are a lot of articles out there on duplicate content, unfortunately not all of them are saying the same thing. Which ones should you trust? I find it’s easier to try and explain Google’s reasoning behind it.
What Is The Duplicate Content Penalty?
The Duplicate Content Penalty is a drop in rankings for pages that are the same or incredibly similar to pages already in the search engines. In fact, a number of similar pages are hidden from the search. Ever see at the end of search engine results a link to click to view similar results? These are sites that have similar content already in the index and are hidden from normal view.
Is Duplicate Content Necessarily Bad?
This is the myth. Duplicate Content on your site isn’t bad. If you have a travel blog, and you are writing about Spain, then you may have a blog post on “25 Simple Phrases in Spanish”. These phrases are often exactly the same. Will that page be ranked in Google? Probably not. Will that page bring value to your readers? Definitely. If that value leads to them linking to you, than that is more valuable to you than having one page that doesn’t rank in Google.
Yes, one page. Here’s the thing: The duplicate content isn’t site wide. Just applied to individual pages. If you want to test it, publish an article in your blog from Ezine Articles or another article directory. Wait a few days and then search for the article title, I’m confident your article won’t rank in the top 10. Then check for terms you are ranking for, you are likely to remain in the same place.
Think about it from Google’s perspective: there’s no point having two pages with exactly the same content within their top rankings, so they will usually only list one, either the most authoritative or the first to publish the content.
Consistent and blatant use of duplicate content – in methods such as scraping or other forms of content stealing – will lead to your site being banned, but the odd reproduction of publically available, non copyrighted data won’t harm your blog.
When To Use Duplicate Content To Your Advantage
Even though duplicate content isn’t always ranked, it is indexed in Google, meaning that any links on the pages that are indexed will count towards your link juice. So how do you maximise this?
- Article Marketing - Manually spin your content and submit it to a bunch of article directories (or, better yet, pay other people to). Even though many article directories claim to only offer unique content, many don’t. Use this to your advantage – no need to rewrite articles, just post them up on a number of article directories. Include the link in the “About the Author” box, and you should see backlinks appear in your link tracking systems such as Google Webmaster Tools.
- WordPress Plugins To Take Advantage of Scrapers - Scrapers are an unfortunate fact of blogging, but links from scraping sites do have a small positive effect in your blog (after all, why should you be punished for them stealing your content). However, to take advantage, you need a couple of plugins.
- Keyword Link (or similar) links key phrases in your blog posts to pages, help building up the popularity of these pages. When your blog post is scraped, other URL’s will point to those pages. Not great links, but they do count!
- RSS Footer- This puts at the bottom of your RSS a footer message. This is only displayed in your feed. So if you have anybody read your feed, they can click on your links. Or if the blog post has been scraped, these links are on other sites and can be followed, increasing the amount of links pointing to your site.
Although neither of these links on their own will have a huge effect in your ranking in search engines, they are easily obtained and do help you.
These are a couple of suggestions, do you have any more?