It’s very often that I stumble on duplicated content. In fact, this is an everyday occurrence for me. Prior to branching out in the field of SEO, I’d picture these sites in a negative light and well, I honestly thought that Google had their eyes carefully planted on them. I’ve always heard about duplicating content and the profound beating one could exact from doing so since in some cases it does reflect plagiarism. However, moving away from the books, I’ve come to learn that the Internet is a funny place and not everything that glitters is gold. I’ve also learnt that there’s actually a reason why those copied contents are lying around. I’ll most definitely not state their relevance but you’ll be able to discern that after reading this post.
If you should search online, especially for press releases made by major provider companies such as Verizon Wireless, Dish, Time Warner Cable, Xfinity Comcast, and well, you know the works, you’ll actually realize that these guys are guilty of content duplication. Do you see Google flogging these guys down or do you find it less difficult finding them in a search results page? Absolutely not! Then it hits you! Why are they spreading content all over the Internet and Google has not been sounding an alarm? Could it be that this act actually has a place on the Internet or have they been secretly paid off? This definitely warrants some thought. Before casting judgment on these providers or others who have been duplicating their content, lets first take an in dept look at what this practice entails.
The Concept behind content duplication
As much as I’d want to replace ‘content duplication’ with a more aggressive term such as ‘plagiarism’, let’s just say it has its place on the Internet. Instead of referring to the act of leaving trails (extracts) or an entire article all over the Internet as duplication, a more sophisticated term is used. This act is referred to in cyberspace as Content Syndication. Content syndication encapsulates taking already published content on your own website to be published elsewhere, anywhere and everywhere (Ok, I’m probably exaggerating here but you get the drift). What you’re doing is to give others permission to use your content on their site (maybe they opt to use the entire post or they use parts of it).
Content Syndication is NOT Guess Blogging: Do not be misled
It’s quite shocking that some would refer to content syndication as guest blogging or posting (Come on guys, can’t you see the difference?) Since I’ve already discussed what content syndication is, there’s no need to reiterate. I’ll just jump right into guest blogging. As the term implies, you’re a guess (get use to it). You don’t own the site that you approach to feature your content. You simply come up with this great idea, or madly search the Internet like I did at one point, and pathetically beg Webmasters (who actually respond to your email, of course) to accept your post. Yup, that’s it. Guess posting is really a part of the whole linkbuilding process. Since you want your site to get more exposure, you actually produce content (similar to the webmaster’s niche) and get them to post on their site with a link, whether linking to your website or your Google+ or FaceBook page (Note: you can actually get a link to anyone of your personal profiles, provided that the Admin is willing to allow it). If you’ve never encountered what a guest post guideline looks like, here you go.
Content Syndication and SEO: A Breaker?
Now it’s definitely time to get to the heart of the matter. Many, who obviously have been ill-advised, would submit their content to hundreds if not thousands of directories to get their articles posted online. They hope that someone would pick up their article and post it to their site. I find this rather pathetic but hey, I’m not one to judge. In some instances, these writers who submit their articles to article banks think that they would rank higher in search engines. This is not necessarily true and I’ll tell you why. In a preceding paragraph of this post, I did mention that major provider companies often get their press releases featured on several other websites. What’s the difference between their act of content syndication and yours? Simply, since they’re major provider companies (and have the big bucks, not making any assumptions here) they are able to get their press releases featured on AUTHORITATIVE sites such as Businesswire, Pcmag, Fiercecable and several others. These sites all have a following which in effect, affects SEO immensely. Whereas, those sites that throws your content online does not necessarily have a following. They’re often times poor in traffic, little or no ranking and guess what? They’re probably just desperate to be picking up your content anyways. Additionally, content that’s customarily syndicated are not of the best quality. Some webmasters tend to pay lazy writers just to slap content through directories to have them posted online. Content is oftentimes spammy and does not provide much for readers. No authority and lousy content? These are all detrimental to your SEO ranking. Google does not take these lightly and will send you right to the bottom of the very last search results page.
Content Syndication and SEO: A Healer?
In no way am I stating or implying, for that matter, that content syndication is bad. I’m just stating the facts from an objective perspective. I did mention that content syndication has a place on the Internet. Here’s why. Webmasters or publishers syndicate because they want exposure. If a site’s authority is good and the webmaster is willing to accept your post (provided that it’s not spammy and low in quality), you’ll be getting some of that site’s audience. With that said, it’s then important that you syndicate to sites with a good audience and is relevant to your niche. Do not syndicate content to sites with a lower authority. That’s a bad move! To get their sites syndicated or out into the open to be grabbed, many webmasters use tools or directories such as Pingomatic.
What to syndicate?
You don’t pick and choose what to syndicate. If that’s the case, why not syndicate all? That’s a bad idea. If you syndicate every piece of content posted on your site, there will be nothing unique about your site. In fact, your audience would not need to visit your site since your content can be found on probably ‘Mark’ or Susan’s site. Get it? Without your audience visiting your site regularly, that will have a negative effect on your site’s SEO. Choose wisely what to syndicate. The content needs to be relevant or similar to the content presented on the site you wish to post your content.
The verdict: The reality is, users or Google is not psyched about accessing replicated content on probably 7 or 10 different sites. The term replicated news in this sense does not refer to the same story but the same content, verbatim. Instead of taking what’s already online and slapping it on another site, why not take that piece of content and make it into something unique? If you’re able to take content from a news site and put your personality, style and finishing touch to it, users will want to follow you, even though they could get the same information elsewhere. As a webmaster, Google wants you to be more authoritative, report original news and as stated by Avinash Kaushik, Google, “content is anything that adds value to the reader’s life”. Instead of rehashing the facts, give the reader something to hold on to.
Always remember that directories are mostly associated with spammy content (so do not count on syndication to be effective), and they’re usually not authoritative (they’re not necessarily the best sites and are simply scraping for authority as you are). Even if content syndication was effective years ago, recent algorithms dictate that they’re less effective today.