How Duplicate Content Will Kill Your Blog

March 3rd, 2011 | Posted in Ad Copy, Blogging, Copywriting, Current Events, Hot Topics, sales copy | Comments Off

Recently I heard about some bloggers that have gotten lazy. They decided that instead of putting the time and thought into writing their own original content that they would just look at other blogs, find content that suits their needs and then post that exact same content on their blogs.

People tried to warn these bloggers that this is unacceptable but they continued doing so in spite of the fact that those for whom a significant part of the writing was being done for repeatedly warned that duplicate content is totally unacceptable. That each piece written for them must be original content.

Well, the time of warnings came and went. Yet the practice of copying other people’s work continued. So the boom was lowered and many of those bloggers are no longer earning any money from that source.

Why is duplicate content such a big deal?

Well for one thing it’s just wrong. In fact it’s theft. In writing terms it’s called plagiarism. You could also call it copyright infringement, the unauthorized use of somebody else’s content. This is even more severe when you’re getting paid for the writing you do.

For another, Google and the other search engines have made it clear that they’re interested in fresh, original, content and NOT pages and pages of stuff that’s copied wholesale from somebody else’s website or blog.

Who’s gonna know?

These bloggers continued their practice of copying other peoples work and passing it off as their own, blindly believing that nobody’s going to catch them because they’re just a few out of billions of websites.

Search engines, Google in particular, have made a science out of not only spotting duplicate content but also determining which one was the original and which is the copy, awarding ranking and authority to the original and either pushing the copy towards the bottom of the rankings or removing it from the index entirely.

They talk about it in their Webmaster Guidelines and go into more detail about it in another help page specifically about Duplicate content. In every case they tell you that multiple pages, blog posts, etc that have substantially the same content is a bad idea.

Of course the people paying for their writing can find out if anybody’s using duplicate content! And it doesn’t even have to involve people reading each and every blog post (it could but who’d want to?). The job could easily be done with software, pull all articles submitted, compare ‘em to each other and then those that are more than X percent similar get flagged for human review.

What I don’t get is WHY (aside from pure no-excuse laziness) anybody in their right mind would use duplicate content when not just the people paying for their articles, but Search experts, SEOs, and so on have been talking and writing for YEARS and YEARS about how duplicate content will HARM your rankings and CAN eventually get the offending website(s) removed from their indexes!

Google’s main mouthpiece, Matt Cutts, has been harping on this for YEARS!

That’s right. It’s not just a matter of pagerank, Alexa score or whatever other ranking system you use. Duplicate content can and eventually WILL get a site REMOVED from the index.

Let’s see how many people find their sites then.

Traffic that comes from Search Engine Result Pages is among the most targeted traffic there is. Those people arrive at your site because both they and Google believe that your site has something that they are looking for. If your rankings drop because of something like duplicate content or worse yet, your site is removed from the index entirely, you lose that traffic. Fast.

Oh you might continue to get traffic from social media sites like Stumbleupon but that’s not going to help very much at all. Especially since something like 85 to 90 percent or more of that traffic “bounces” off of your site within five seconds of getting there.

That sort of “accidental traffic” doesn’t stay to read your posts OR click on your advertisements regardless. In fact, Stumbleupon traffic and most social media traffic is largely worthless.

As much as I hate to say it, in spite of Yahoo, Bing or any number of other search engines that there might be out there, Google pretty much has search nailed to a tree. if you’re not in their index, you don’t exist on the internet. Therefore it’s a good idea to listen when they say duplicate content is a “Bad Thing”

Y’know, I DO occasionally look at other blogs to see what others have written on a particular topic or what keywords they are using in that topic. However I have *NEVER* used that other person’s content. Instead, I write my own. I may even talk about the same subject but you can bet your last dollar it will be expressed entirely in my own words.

And yes, I do occasionally quote *brief* bits of somebody else’s work as a reference or to make a point, usually with a link to the source as a courtesy and for anyone who wants to read the whole thing. That’s just normal writing. But the wholesale copying of somebody else’s stuff? No. That’s just plain wrong and not just because Google or some other search engine says so.

As I pointed out at the beginning of this post, there are words for that . . .

Plagiarism, stealing, copyright infringement . . . the list goes on.

For those who expect me to reveal who the bloggers are or who they were writing for, It ain’t going to happen. That information really has nothing to do with the practice of using duplicate content.

Technorati Tags: blogging, matt cutts, google, plagiarism, duplicate content, webmaster guidelines, blogs, stealing, copyright infringement, theft, blog writing

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