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Thread: Am I right about duplicate content in site promotion?

  1. #1
    Registered Shyflower's Avatar
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    Am I right about duplicate content in site promotion?

    A client for whom I do substantial editing wrote me and suggested rewriting or not rewritng and posting one of his pages on an article site. This is what I wrote back. If I'm wrong, I have no qualms about writing him back and telling hims so. What are the opinions here about what I said. (I have deleted all links with [my link] so that you will know I am not trying to self-promote.

    Although this idea has merit, before you make a final decision on what you want, please consider the pros and cons of posting content on other sites.

    First of all, if you decide to go ahead with this, please follow these examples first: [my link]
    The article above was written for a site I manage: [my link].

    If you click the Article City's link "other articles by..." and follow through with their ridiculous encoding system, you'll find that my writing appears in several areas of this site. Kudos to me. However, look at the article url above, particularly "article 639". This would tell me that my article was the 639th article written about home improvement for their site back in 2004. Can you imagine how many they have added since that time?

    In addition, when I took over management of [my link] last December, it wasn't visible in the SERPs at any of the major three SEs (Google, Yahoo, and MSN) although the site had a page rank of 4. Among the reasons for its low SERP, I believe that duplicate content was a major penalizing factor. When I began managing the site last December, I began rewriting and editing (and am still doing it!) the site content to minimize the duplication. Since then, the site has climbed to the first page on each of the major engines, although the PR (page rank) has remained the same. We'll work on that later... But that's another story. So...

    If you are considering posting content on one of these free article sites, do consider the following:

    1. Your content will be buried among hundreds of other articles.
    2. If you add just a byline link, the content at your site will not be unique, it will be duplicated. Duplicate content may be penalized by the major search engines, pushing your site back in the SERPs instead of pulling it forward.
    3. If you have me rewrite the article (and I'll say more about that in a minute), you will purchase fresh content for the hosting site that may or may not bring you traffic, which may or may not convert to a sale.
    4. Having a link at another site may increase your page rank at Google. However, remember that directories and the other two major SEs (Yahoo and MSN) don't attach value to Google's PR. Another issue here is that the definitive word here is "may". Sites with lower or same page rank as yours will not increase your page rank, although adding good content may increase theirs.
    5. Another important point about page rank is that you only get it from similarly themed sites. In other words, although article sites create back links to your site, they don't necessarily increase your page rank even if they have a high one. You can see why at the link I posted above. Although Article City's home page has a "5" PR and the index to my work there has a "2" PR, the individual articles each have a "0" PR.

    Okay, all that said, if you want to do something like this, my suggestion is that you find similar sites to yours (those specifically about ****) and offer them the article if they agree to put a link back to your site through a byline at the end of the article. Again, though, you don't want to offer them duplicate content (which may impact negatively on both your site and the hosting site). You want to offer them unique content. Therefore, a byline link is of no value to you unless you decide to remove the article from your site. Again however, you are buying their content for them - unique content which will improve both their page rank and their SERPs with only a "maybe" benefit to your site.

    Alternatively, I suggest a 300 to 500 word "lead-in" to the article at your site, sort of a backwards extension of what you have. Now, there are two ways to go about offering this lead-in. To minimize duplication yet keeping the article intact for your site, break the article you have into two parts, making the cut after this sentence:

    "****." This cut is at 411 words - it should be long enough for most sites.

    The other content option is new content, leading into your article on ****.

    Overall though, I still think a better option is to contact similar sites and ask if they will add your site as an informational resource with either a one-way text back link or a reciprocal link. This preserves the uniqueness of your content, your credibility in expertise (after all YOU are the expert), and costs you nothing. The edited content remains anonymous. For all your readers know, you wrote it which is (in my opinion) as it should be.
    Linda Jenkinson
    Shyflower.com
    Writing & Editorial Services for Web Businesses

  2. #2
    Site Contributor KLB's Avatar
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    For the most part I agree with what you have stated. I would have to really reread the post and mull it over to figure out if there were anything I disagreed with. It is basically sound advice.
    Ken Barbalace - EnvironmentalChemistry.com (Environmental Careers, Blog)
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  3. #3
    Registered Shyflower's Avatar
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    Thanks Ken. I was most concerned about my references to PR and the effect of duplicate content. Seems that the SEs change from day to day on both of those issues. I try to keep up, but sometimes I just can't peddle fast enough!
    Linda Jenkinson
    Shyflower.com
    Writing & Editorial Services for Web Businesses

  4. #4
    Site Contributor KLB's Avatar
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    I do think that even links from pages with a lower PR help, they just don't help that much. Chris could answer this better, but I just don't think links from those free article sites really do much. It would be better to get an article published on a good "trade magazine" type site with links back. Also I tend to think that articles provide the best benefit when placed on one's own site in most instances.
    Ken Barbalace - EnvironmentalChemistry.com (Environmental Careers, Blog)
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  5. #5
    Administrator Chris's Avatar
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    4. Having a link at another site may increase your page rank at Google. However, remember that directories and the other two major SEs (Yahoo and MSN) don't attach value to Google's PR. Another issue here is that the definitive word here is "may". Sites with lower or same page rank as yours will not increase your page rank, although adding good content may increase theirs.
    Not true. Only Google uses PageRank (proper noun) but all search engines use something similar. It is basically a weighted link popularity algorithm.

    5. Another important point about page rank is that you only get it from similarly themed sites. In other words, although article sites create back links to your site, they don't necessarily increase your page rank even if they have a high one. You can see why at the link I posted above. Although Article City's home page has a "5" PR and the index to my work there has a "2" PR, the individual articles each have a "0" PR.
    Sorta not true. This is a good way to describe it to the technically uninformed. However you technically get PageRank from all links, its just that it ends up getting filtered and modified so really on topic links provide the most benefit (by a large large large margin). There is of course also different degrees of topical relatedness. In short, what you see in the toolbar is your total unfiltered unmodified value. This is also the value you pass on to other pages or sites through your own links. The value Google actually uses in calculating your rank will be different.

    This is also on a page basis, not necessarily on a site basis. So even if the site isn't 100% on topic, so long as the article is it should still provide a benefit.

    As far as duplicate content goes. Without even SE penalties I've always considered it a bad idea. Unique content is value and when you syndicate it everywhere you cheapen your site.

    My recommendation to people who want to submit articles as a way of gaining backlinks (especially if they could publish said articles on their own sites) is to write two sets of articles. If you know the topic well this shouldn't be difficult. Then one set you keep private and only publish yourself, the other set you submit to however many places you wish.
    Chris Beasley - My Guide to Building a Successful Website[size=1]
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  6. #6
    Registered Shyflower's Avatar
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    Thanks Chris. My client is "technically uninformed". It's a new site that I am trying to help him get off the ground. So, in reference to what you have said, I think I'll stick to my guns! Although the one paragraph is incorrect, he is still better off keeping his content unique.
    Linda Jenkinson
    Shyflower.com
    Writing & Editorial Services for Web Businesses

  7. #7
    Site Contributor KLB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shyflower
    Although the one paragraph is incorrect, he is still better off keeping his content unique.
    Agreed.
    Ken Barbalace - EnvironmentalChemistry.com (Environmental Careers, Blog)
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    Registered Mr. Pink's Avatar
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    First of all, I am sorry for reviving an old post. I am not sure if this is taboo on this board. In my personal opinion, archived posts are information for future use and it should not be a bad thing to revive a posts, if new information is added, or asked. So, with this in mind, I am taking the liberty to revive this post form 2006.

    What I am mostly interested in, is clarification on the issue of duplicate content. The reason I am asking is because I have been running a popular site since 1999 (again, no self promotion, so no link) and a lot of my unique content has been copied by others. Fortunately, I always periodically my site and often rewrite (or revamp) my articles, so it is not a big problem, I guess. However, I still would like to clarify the issue of duplicate content, for my own information.

    My reasoning is that the webmaster of one site can not control what millions of other webmasters are doing. I would also imagine that Google knows that. Also, I reason that if web sites would get penalized for duplicate content elsewhere, then unethical competitors could kill a site simply by duplicating it throughout the internet.

    Furthermore, I think that when Google indexes the site that is the original source of the article, it must somehow assign some date stamp, basically to know that is where the article appeared first. So, if a clone of the original article appears elsewhere, at some later time, Google should be able to know that, and therefore penalize the plagiarist, and not the original source.

    All that is just my logical thinking, but in reality I really have no clue if that is how search engines work.

    Does anyone know for sure?

    Also, as an afterthought, I would like to ask if there are any SE penalties if a duplicate article happens to appear on 2 different pages of the same site. Anyone knows the answer to that?

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