A Lesson on Duplicate Content – Can It Do More Harm Than Good?

Duplicate content means large blocks of text copied from one website to another. Maybe you liked an article someone wrote and decide to copy a big block of the article to share on your website. This is considered duplicate content but Google says, “mostly, this is not deceptive in origin” and therefore is considered “non-malicious”.

In many cases (pay attention here) duplicate content is deliberate (or maybe you do it not knowing the repercussions, hence today’s informational post). You wrote an article and want it to be published on as many website as possible in order to get more traffic or as Google says, “manipulate search engine rankings”. There are dozens of ways you can reproduce that exact same article on dozens or even hundreds of other websites if you know the right tools. But, what does Google think about it?

“In the cases in which Google perceives that duplicate content may be shown with intent to manipulate our rankings and deceive our users, we’ll also make appropriate adjustments in the indexing and ranking of the sites involved. As a result, the ranking of the site may suffer, or the site might be removed entirely from the Google index, in which case it will no longer appear in search results.” Source

Yep, pretty risky if you ask me. There are things you can do, extra measures you can take, to slightly change your own content from site to site, in order to avoid these punishments. For example, if I write a blog post and then want to add that same post to my IM FacePlate, I can adjust my title and a sentence or two in each paragraph. You just need a little creativity here because it is perfectly possible to get your point across by changing up the launguaging each time you syndicate in a different site.

If you are trying to share an article someone wrote, I have an example I can share. On my personal development website, I created a blog post to share an article I authored on a different website. On my blog post, I used the same title of the original post (Three Phases of Enlightenment to Reclaim Your Bright Future), just slightly altered. Then I wrote a short introduction, included 2 paragraphs of duplicate content, then added a link back to the original article. This tells Google I’m not trying to steal anyone’s work – I’m just wanting to share this content with my audience. As a result, I won’t get penalized for my duplicating of content.

Another thing to note… Google says,

“If you find that another site is duplicating your content by scraping (misappropriating and republishing) it, it’s unlikely that this will negatively impact your site’s ranking in Google search results pages. If you do spot a case that’s particularly frustrating, you are welcome to file a DMCA request to claim ownership of the content and request removal of the other site from Google’s index.” Source

Hopefully this post cleared up some confusion surrounding duplicate content. My biggest worry is for those of you out there who just innocently didn’t know the rules – and that’s precisely why I’m writing this post and all others.

Have a great day!

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