Duplicate Content can be Damaging

Duplicate content can be damaging to your website, especially if your site is a lesser-known site to the search engines. When a search engine finds content that it believes it has seen before, how does it figure out which site gets credit for being the originator?

Generally speaking, this is what happens.

  1. The most popular site gets the credit.
    Popular can be defined as:

    • The site that has more inbound links
    • The site that has more traffic
    • The site that is known to the search engine (i.e. CNN, Dell, Motley Fool)
    • The site that has the highest PageRank

  2. The less-popular site is presumed to have done the copying.
    • In the best scenario, the page that contains the duplication is excluded from the search engine’s index (catalog of web pages).
    • In the worst scenario, the entire website is excluded from the search engine’s index.

Remember that the search engines use programs to determine the authenticity (and rank) of a website. As a blogger, it is your job to convince the programs that your site is worth ranking well. Here’s some tips for writing in your blog that will help the programs understand that you offer fresh, original content.

  • Do: Paraphrase or quote small sections of articles, giving credit to the author and linking to the source of the original article.
  • Do: Offer your opinion and discuss the content of the article. Search engines are looking for original content and your thoughtful discussion qualifies.
  • Don’t: Copy an entire article to your blog even if you give credit to the author and source.
  • Do: File your blog post under ONE and only ONE category. Yes, the programs can become confused when you file your post under more than one category. Even the “Archives” can confuse the search engines. Consider asking your webmaster to add rel="nofollow" to the Archives’ links or a robot statement to the Archives’ pages.
  • Don’t: File your blog post under multiple categories.
  • Do: Work hard at connecting with professionals in your industry who will want to link to your blog – and encourage them to link to specific blog posts. (See my suggestions for best-in-class Inbound Links.)

Okay, now that I have shared this information, I need to go through my blog and make the changes that I have suggested here.

Happy Blogging!

Edit (1/2 hour later): Okay, all posts listed under one category only.

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