When you hear the words “penalty from duplicate content”, it strikes fear in every marketers, especially with people that have no SEO experience – this phrase gets used all the time. You know what, a lot of the people hardly read Google’s guidelines when it comes to duplicate contents. It is just safe for them to assume that if something that appears twice or several times online, it’ll be big trouble. So let’s discuss these myths or wrong assumptions about duplicate contents.
Misconception #1: Non-Original Content on Your Site Will Hurt Your Rankings across Your Domain
There is no evidence that proves that non-original content hurts a website’s ranking, except for once extreme case as mentioned by some website development company where the website they were working on went live and a lazy PR firm copied the homepage’s text and pasted it into a press release – submitted to all the wire services. This created several versions of the homepage content from all over the web. So that got the Google alarms to set off and the domain was then manually blacklisted.
The web development company was blamed for the mistake of the other. What was done was that they filed a reconsideration request and eventually the domain got re-indexed.
The main problem was on the volume where there were several or hundreds of instanced with the same texts, it’s timing when the content appeared online, and the context – where the homepage copy was copied on a brand new domain.
There thing is, there are so many sites including some of the most popular blogs that frequently repost articles which first appeared somewhere. They do not really expect for this content to rank, BUT they know that it will not hurt the credibility of their domain/website.
Misconception #2: Scrapers Can Hurt Your Website
For some bloggers that carefully monitors the Google Webmaster Tools, when a scraper site copies one of the posts, they then quickly disavow links to their site. This shows that this blogger did not read any of “Google’s Duplicate Content Guidelines” or of their “Guidelines for Disavowing Sites”.
If you have stumbled on some big blog’s analytics, some of the sites do get scraped a lot of times – and you can also check it in the trackback reports. You’d think that they have a full-time team watching after the Google Webmaster Tools and Disavow links all day? Certainly not! They do not pay close attention to scrapers and there is no fear of a duplicate content.
However, if a scraper site outranks your site, then you can report them to Google using the Scraper Report Tool. It is also advisable to sign your content using the Google Authorship and you can take harsh actions for plagiarists. So if this happens to you, you’d be calling your attorney and not the search engines.
Misconception #3: Republishing Your Guest Posts on Your Own Site Can and Will Hurt Your Website
This is hogwash! There are a lot of marketers that do guest blogging and it is not likely that the usual audience sees all their guest posts, so it is tempting to republish these guest posts on their own blogs and sites. Though as a general rule, it is preferred that you write your own original content, but only if you want to add value and not the fear of getting a penalty.
Here’s what you can do:
It should look like this: <link rel=canonical href=http://www.domain.com/source-of-original-article.html/>
Just so you know, Google bot visits most sites every day and as soon as it finds a copied version of something a week later on a different source, it will know where the original content appeared. It doesn’t make Google angry and penalise your site – it just moves on. But to be on the safe side, when you are using someone else’s content, you need to add the originator’s credentials at the bottom. It doesn’t hurt to practice safe and responsible blogging. You will gain respect from your readers plus the author whom you shared their content to, perhaps will mention your website one day as a good resource for their articles. They will sure to mention your site, which can bring you more organic traffic and in the long run can turn out to be beneficial on both parties.
Resources: Google’s Duplicate Content Guidelines