Duplicate Content and Why You Need to Be Original

7520692_sOne of the most important, life changing aspects of the internet is how is allows people to easily share and discuss information. This has naturally resulted in a huge amount of duplicate content to appear all over the web. If you happen to be familiar with SEO, then you probably have heard how duplicate content can sometimes hurt your search ranking. However, there are some instances in which it would seem logical, even necessary, to use duplicate content. So is it ok to use duplicate content on your site? This is a question that we get asked a bit when we a client is talking to clients about their website, as well as when they are interested in content curation, so we thought it would be helpful to talk a little about it so that you don’t accidentally hurt your search ranking.

Why Duplicate Content is Such a Huge Problem

It’s understandable why some would to use duplicate content on their site. Over the past few years, SEOs, web designers, and inbound marketers have all been singing the song of content (in fact their favorite lyric is “Content is King”). This has resulted in a mad rush to fill websites with all different types of content. The need for content very often outstrips some business’ ability to produce it. The result? Duplicating content, either from their own site or marketing materials, or from other sites.

Google’s Take on Duplicate Content

According to Google’s Search Guru, Matt Cutts, roughly 25%-30% of the internet is duplicate content. Now a great deal of this is webpages that are created automatically, but much of it is simply restating content from another source, either in part or in its entirety. Considering the very nature of the web, some content is going to be copied one way or another, for totally valid reasons. Google understands this and has spent quite a bit of time developing ways to identify whether content was duplicated for legitimate reasons or not. In fact this was one of the key changes made in its Penguin update, which focused a great deal on eliminated various types of spam from search results. Basically, Google has been trying to get rid of the black hat techniques that use duplicate content, while still being fair to everyone else.

Avoiding “Bad” Duplicates and Doing Content Curation Right

If you are curating content from another article, use the absolute minimum necessary to get your point across. Need the reader to go through the whole article before reading yours? Simply link to the original post, preferably by hyperlinking the title of the article. You should also specify the author and the site the original article is posted on.

Another approach is to reference the original article and summarize its content. Just make sure not to recite it in your own words, not just parrot the language of the original. This isn’t just a good practice for SEO purposes-it’s good for your readers as well. They want to hear what you think about a particular topic, not just what someone else said.

When curating content, it is also a good idea to pull content from as many different sources as possible. If you are curating from the same 3-4 websites, much of the content will most likely end up sounding the same and in fact may actually be identical if they aren’t good about creating original content.

Not Being Penalized < Good SEO

While you can curate content in certain ways so that you don’t get penalized by Google, it isn’t the same as having original content. Fresh content will actually boost SEO and provide a much greater impact on your ranking than just repackaging content.

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