3 Myths About Duplicate Content

Duplicate content penalty” is one of the most feared phrases in the marketing industry. It is also extremely overused – especially by individuals with little or no SEO experience who have never taken a look at Google’s guidelines on duplicate content. Therefore, they assume that it is not alright for the same content to appear twice online. So, this article is here to shine a light on the reality behind the duplicate content myths.

Myths About Duplicate Content

Myth#1: Your Site’s Rankings Will Plummet If You Post Non-Original Content

You’d be hard-pressed to find any proof that publishing unoriginal content has a negative influence on the ranking of the site. Here is one of the only examples of how such a thing could happen:

On the day a new website went live, their PR firm made the decision to use the home page text as a press release in order to save themselves time. They put it out on the wire servers and that duplicated the home page content into hundreds of versions all over the net. Google was notified and went ahead to blacklist the domain.
There were three problem with this situation: volume, timing, and context. The same text appeared on hundreds of different sites, and that occurred all at the same time. What made it worse is the context: the fact that it was not just a text but a homepage copy on a brand new domain. Therefore, it’s not surprising that the content was considered spam. It all comes down to a stupid decision, and not “duplicate content”.

When most people talk about “duplicate content” they are talking about a medium length article on a well-known website, but that is not enough to elicit a response from Google. In fact, there are thousands of sites that repost someone else’s articles all the time, and some of these sites are even some of the most popular blogs on the web. They know that these articles will not rank, but neither will they hurt the credibility of their site.

Myth #2: Scrapers Will Hurt Your Site

There are some people who spend all their time watching the Google Webmaster Tools, just waiting for a scraper site to copy one of their posts. If this happens, the person disavows any links to his or her site. That is no way to go, and people would know that if they were to read the Google’s Guidelines for Disavows or the Duplicate Content Guidelines.

There are many huge blogs that get copied dozens and even hundreds of times per day, enough to hire an entire team for the sole purpose of disavowing the links. Yet, they do nothing because they are not afraid of scrapers and duplicate content. They know that scrapers have no real effect on you.

Experienced bloggers don’t pay any attention to the scrapers because they know that the scrapers take the article word for word. In fact, they usually take the links too, which means that you can pay attention to the internal linking. Although these links have limited authority, they might actually earn you a few visits.

Tip: Report Scrapers that Outrank Your Site

The only rare occasion in which Google should be notified is if the duplicated version of your content ranks higher than your original content. In that case, use the Scraper Report Tool to notify Google.

Tip: Use Google Authorship to Digitally Sign Your Content

There are many perks with using Google Authorship, and these go beyond seeing your photo appear in the google search results. Google Authorship allows you to sign your name to the content you publish so that it is always associated with you. This way, the content will always be connected to one author and to one blog or site, even if it is duplicated onto hundreds of other blogs.

Tip: Take Harsh Action against Actual Plagiarists

However, plagiarism does exist and there is a clear difference between scraped content and copyright infringement. When a company or brand copies your entire site or contents and claims it as its own, that’s plagiarism and copyright infringement.

The term “plagiarism” refers to the act of taking someone else’s work and claiming it as your own without giving them credit. This is illegal and calls for the involvement of lawyers and courts. So, make sure that you have a copyright symbol in your footer and that you take action if somebody does try to plagiarize.

Myth #3: Republishing Your Guest Posts on Your Own Site Will Hurt Your Site

Guest blogging is a very common practice and it’s very tempting to publish the same post on your blog or repurpose it . After all, the chances of your audience seeing all of the guest blogs you wrote elsewhere are pretty slim.

In most cases, this isn’t a problem. In fact, many blogs actually encourage their guest bloggers to republish the post on their own blog as long as it is done a few weeks after the original post is published. Sometimes they ask the guest bloggers to add an HTML tag to the post. Whether the HTML is added or not, the post will not be considered a duplicate and Google will not have any problem with it.

Republishing Your Guest Posts

Tip: Use the “canonical” Tag

Canonical is another word for “official version”. Republishing previously posted content is perfectly fine as long as you use the canonical tag. This tag lets the search engines know the location of the original version of the post.

Tip: Write the “Evil Twin”

A great and very simple way of rewriting someone else’s post is through the “evil twin” method. If the original is a “how to” post, rewrite it as a “how not to” post; if the original talks about mistakes, talk about the best practices; and so on and so forth. Use the same research and the same concepts, but add more value and use your own examples. This way, you will be avoiding the penalty and possibly even get an SEO benefit out of it.

Just Calm Down

Nowadays, there is massive overreaction among the public – people are panicking and worrying too much about duplicate content. There is no reason to do that. The reality is that the Googlebot checks out most of the websites every single day, and even if it finds duplicate content that is published a week later, it does not deal out punishments or penalize. It just moves on because it knows which site has the original content.

Do you really think that the Google Staff will penalize or block a demain if it has unoriginal content? Come on! They are a team of 2,000 math PhDs who have much better things to do. They would much rather concentrate on creating computerized glasses and self-driving cars.

In fact, Google is completely aware of the fact that a large portion of all the text online is unoriginal. They have been telling the originals apart from the duplicates for almost twenty years.

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