Why 'Duplicate' Content is NOT Bad for Your Blog Ranking

J.P. Hicks:

All SEO pros say to stay away from duplicate content. And most, if not all, blogging tips websites will only accept guest posts that are original content.

As far as I know, Blog Tips is the only blogging help website that allows syndicated material from outside sources.

It’s widely accepted that original material is by far superior to any other form of content. I’d be a fool to dispute that. However, is the negative stigma that comes with duplicate content as bad as pro bloggers make it out to be?

The short answer is NO. Let me explain.

First, we must make the distinction between duplicate content and syndicated content.

If Google and other search engines punished websites for syndicated material, large news websites like CNN.com or HuffingtonPost.com would be severely punished. Up to 90% of their material is from other sources like the Associated Press, Reuters or syndicated commentators. But those websites clearly aren’t being punished.

And a site like BeforeItsNews.com, which is only a couple of years old, has absolutely no original material (save for comments) and they’re a Google PR6 and Alexa sub-6000.

So what gives? Why is everyone afraid to repost previously published content?

Let’s examine what Google really says about duplicate content. The information below is from Google’s Content Guidelines pertaining to duplicate content:

Duplicate content generally refers to substantive blocks of content within or across domains that either completely match other content or are appreciably similar. Mostly, this is not deceptive in origin. Examples of non-malicious duplicate content could include: 
• Discussion forums that can generate both regular and stripped-down pages targeted at mobile devices
• Store items shown or linked via multiple distinct URLs
• Printer-only versions of web pages

Significantly, this definition refers to posting duplicate content throughout your own website or blog. In other words, you may have two separate pages for the same material on the same website.

For example, you may have a live version of an article and a copy for your print version, both with the same content. Or, you may repost a story from your blog into your forum for discussion. And finally, you may have the same copyright disclaimer, or About Us text pasted on multiple pages throughout your blog.

That is duplicate content. Syndication, or reposting already published content, is not.

Google offers this common sense solution for blogs that may have multiple pages with the same content on them:

social media marketing services“Minimize similar content: If you have many pages that are similar, consider expanding each page or consolidating the pages into one. For instance, if you have a travel site with separate pages for two cities, but the same information on both pages, you could either merge the pages into one page about both cities or you could expand each page to contain unique content about each city.”

Google concludes that your blog ranking will not be harmed even with duplicate content on multiple pages “Duplicate content on a site is not grounds for action on that site unless it appears that the intent of the duplicate content is to be deceptive and manipulate search engine results.”

So reposting the already published work of others will not hurt or help your ranking. But it will add diversity to your blog or website and will give you extra links to share with your social media followers.

What does Google say about syndicating your material?

“If you syndicate your content on other sites, Google will always show the version we think is most appropriate for users in each given search, which may or may not be the version you'd prefer. However, it is helpful to ensure that each site on which your content is syndicated includes a link back to your original article.”

Articles from my past and current blogs have been syndicated thousands of times across the Web and most of the time the original didn’t even appear on the front page of Google search results for the title.

Did I care? A little bit. But the only reason why the original wasn’t coming up high on search results is that the websites that reposted our material had WAY higher rankings than us.

Which means we were getting 1000’s of backlinks from powerfully-ranked sites. It was well worth the tradeoff and a great strategy to organically build strong backlinks and reach a larger audience.

In conclusion, don’t be afraid to syndicate your material for free. As long as the source maintains internal links, a link to the original, and your bio. You will benefit greatly over the long haul.

Finally, don’t shy away from posting syndicated material to your blog. It increases diversity and your ranking will not suffer.

J.P. Hicks is a professional blogger, editor of Blog Tips and author of Secrets to Making Money with a Free Blog. Follow @ Twitter, or like on Facebook

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