Duplicate content tips

A very interesting articule related to duplicate content for Affiliate Websites found at Affiliate Classroom says that a lot of people have misconceptions about duplicate content — and what happens to duplicate content in Google.

Many marketers are concerned that when they write articles, or use syndicated articles (from Ezine Articles, etc.) on their site, they could run into a duplicate content situation. If this were true, article syndication sites could not exist! That exclusion would take a lot of important information off the Internet.

Here’s what you should know if you syndicate your content or use other people’s articles on your site, straight from Google:

“If you syndicate your content on other sites, make sure they include a link back to the original article on each syndicated article. Even with that, note that we’ll always show the (unblocked) version we think is most appropriate for users in each given search, which may or may not be the version you’d prefer.”

That’s not exactly the answer we were hoping for. But it’s a big Internet world, and that’s what needs to happen to ensure people continue to get good search results. The “version” Google refers to can also mean the difference between a site’s text version of the article (used for printing), or the HTML version. For regular syndicated articles, usually Google can determine who posted the article first, and will give that site the top listing.

When you use other people’s directory articles on your site, it’s also a good idea to use a leading paragraph or two to introduce the article and an ending summary paragraph. A little originality at the beginning and at the end can go a long way in getting you into search results — especially if you develop your comment wisely and use a few targeted keywords.

So, what are some steps you can take to protect your site from Google “Penalties?”

1) Stay away from regionalized pages – These sites have hundreds of pages selling the same thing, but each page targets a different city in the U.S. If only the city is different, it’s likely to be captured as duplicate content spam.

2) Avoid exact page replicas, with only the keywords changed – These pages are most often created using a template and automation tools. The software replaces selected keyword phrases with other phrases.

3) Be wary of affiliate doorway sites – These are merchant sites that make it easy for an affiliate to join their program. The affiliate just fills in a few affiliate link boxes, and a site is created for them. Unfortunately, every affiliate who uses this technique for the merchant gets the exact same page. These sites would be better used as landing pages for PPC campaigns. They most likely will not rank or be shown in search results at all.

4) Remove lengthy copyright text on all pages – Do not put your entire copyright statement on every page. Instead, use a brief summary of it, then link to a full page with more details.

5) Understand your CMS – Make sure you’re familiar with how content is displayed on your Web site.

6) Use 301s – If you have restructured your site, use 301 redirects (“RedirectPermanent”) in your .htaccess file to smartly redirect users, the Googlebot, and other spiders.

7) Continually check for duplicate content – Copyscape is a free tool that you can use if you’re worried that you have duplicate content on your site, or if you think someone else is stealing your content. You simply go to http://www.copyscape.com and enter the URL of the page you want to check. The results you get will show you all the pages in the Google index that contain text that is also on your site.

8) If you see a webmaster that has duplicated your content, or scraped your site… write to the website owner and ask them to remove your content from their site. If you do not get a response, send the issue to Google under the DMCA guidelines they provide at http://www.google.com/dmca.html.

The point here is that you shouldn’t be afraid to get your articles out there. Each directory or website that hosts your article creates a link back to your site through your Author Reference Box. Those one-way links to your site can only help long-term.

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  • Very informative and I'm glad to find this article.
    I have a serious problem with people scraping my content. I wrote a lengthy article after researching a lot. It was my 1 month search and analysis report. The article got a lot of popularity, however, as I searched my article title on Google, I found atleast 30 websites using an exact copy of my content. What should I do in this situation? All those websites are stupid looking websites with heaps of ads. All these guys are doing is just copy/paste hundreds of articles and strange, they are indexed in Google. What would you do in such a situation? Please suggest.
    Regards, Dev.

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