I am going to have to rethink the duplicate content myth...

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I posted an article to my blog today and syndicated it to several article directories just for fun. It is entitled:

"How To Promote Your Website Using A Google Custom Search Engine"

I then Googled the title late this morning and this is what I saw...

Six out of the top ten spots were held by either the original or a syndicated version of the article...only to be beat out by Google itself...
#content #duplicate #myth #rethink
  • Profile picture of the author tronicscribe
    I'm slightly confused. What does this mean? Is this Google's way of punishing duplicate content users?
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  • Profile picture of the author thebitbotdotcom
    Seems like the exact opposite to me.
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    • Profile picture of the author tronicscribe
      Originally Posted by thebitbotdotcom View Post

      Seems like the exact opposite to me.
      How is that the opposite? You mean you think it is good that Google out ranks your site by two irrelevant links? One to Google's search plugin, and the other to a webmaster link.

      I assumed it was bad because your link was not at the top where it should be for that exact search phrase.

      Enlighten me?
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      • Profile picture of the author paulgl
        Originally Posted by tronicscribe View Post

        How is that the opposite? You mean you think it is good that Google out ranks your site by two irrelevant links? One to Google's search plugin, and the other to a webmaster link.

        I assumed it was bad because your link was not at the top where it should be for that exact search phrase.

        Enlighten me?
        It means that google allows, indexes, and loves duplicate content.

        Paul
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        • Profile picture of the author thebitbotdotcom
          Originally Posted by paulgl View Post

          It means that google allows, indexes, and loves duplicate content.

          Paul
          Exactly. I own 60% of the first page real-estate for the brief time being. If Google is the only thing out ranking me for an article about their CSE then I am fine with that. Of if only the title of the article was a high traffic keyword...sigh...
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        • Profile picture of the author Paul Barrs
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          • Profile picture of the author theentry
            Originally Posted by Paul Barrs View Post

            It all comes down to this... what is the best content to meet the consumer search? Google will serve it up whether it's the same or not - as long as it's the best available.
            Exactly, as far there is nothing better then list the duplicated stuff.
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          • Profile picture of the author Orkhan Ibad
            Paul,

            Let me rewrite it much better.

            GOOGLE WILL NOT PENALIZE YOU FOR DUPLICATE CONTENT.

            Orkhan

            Originally Posted by Paul Barrs View Post

            Paul... let me just rewrite that in case some people DON'T GET IT!!!


            It means that google allows, indexes, and loves duplicate content.

            Read the title of this post folks... if you think it ain't so - MYTH!

            It all comes down to this... what is the best content to meet the consumer search? Google will serve it up whether it's the same or not - as long as it's the best available.

            Paul Barrs
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  • Profile picture of the author tronicscribe
    Oh I see, I thought the focus was on the fact that google topped the search results with meaningless links. But just the fact that his duplicated content was listed at all means it works fine. Cool, thanks for the clarification!
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  • Profile picture of the author thelastmuse
    It's worth going back to your results X months from now. You'll realize they don't stay longer. I think Google is smart enough to know dupe content and eventually de-indexes them. I've done so much article marketing in the past that most of them are nowhere to be found right now, although those who legitimately syndicated my articles still show up in the search.
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    • Profile picture of the author thebitbotdotcom
      Originally Posted by thelastmuse View Post

      It's worth going back to your results X months from now. You'll realize they don't stay longer. I think Google is smart enough to know dupe content and eventually de-indexes them. I've done so much article marketing in the past that most of them are nowhere to be found right now, although those who legitimately syndicated my articles still show up in the search.
      Yeah...I pretty much knew that, but still it is fun to see, even if it is temporary...)
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    • Profile picture of the author mayorlan
      Originally Posted by thelastmuse View Post

      It's worth going back to your results X months from now. You'll realize they don't stay longer. I think Google is smart enough to know dupe content and eventually de-indexes them. I've done so much article marketing in the past that most of them are nowhere to be found right now, although those who legitimately syndicated my articles still show up in the search.
      How would google know the difference between a legitimately syndicated content and a copied one,isn't the two the same? I have once stumbled on a FAQ page of google concerning dup content,it stated clearly states that Duplicated content does comes with a punishment as it is been peddled around by everyone(just can't remember the link to that page).So if dup content is bad that means you can ruin your competitors out of top ranking or can you do that?
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      • Profile picture of the author DireStraits
        Originally Posted by mayorlan View Post

        How would google know the difference between a legitimately syndicated content and a copied one,isn't the two the same? I have once stumbled on a FAQ page of google concerning dup content,it stated clearly states that Duplicated content does comes with a punishment as it is been peddled around by everyone(just can't remember the link to that page).So if dup content is bad that means you can ruin your competitors out of top ranking or can you do that?
        It's simple. Syndicated content is content spread across multiple sites. If I put an article on an article directory, and you republish that on your own site without changing it, neither you nor the article directory where you took it will be penalised for that.

        Duplicated content is content spread across multiple pages of the same, single site. So if you copy a single article, unchanged, across 10, 20 or 100 pages on a single website, google will recognise that as being duplicate.
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  • Profile picture of the author Defunct
    Also the less the specific content is used the better. You can see this by searching for content, Google will usually list a few sites with that content then the rest become "repeat results" or whatever its' called.

    Also you will have probably noticed authority sites stealing content sometimes get ranked above the original creators of the content which i think is a bit messed up.
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  • Profile picture of the author orvn
    I have something interesting to add to the conversation,

    A friend of mine writes articles to promote affiliates and posts duplicates to a variety of sources. He's been doing this for about three years and generates a few thousand dollars/year/article due to clicks on his affiliate link.

    There are about 20 duplicates of each of his articles and all of them rank decently!
    It doesn't seem that they're getting penalized.
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  • Profile picture of the author Mike Anthony
    You really can't make any sweeping conclusions from this since its such a weak term (this forum blog temporarily outranked all the others for the phrase). You definitely can't say from it that google loves all duplicate content etc.

    The unknown always has been how google evaluates duplicate content. If you look at the results you can see that no page is exactly the same. theres content mixed in that isn't duplicate. People always assume the only way to avoid google sensing a duplicate is spinning but it may well not be. It might even have a component of availability to it. Nothing else and it spits it out. More competitive phrases it eliminates or lowers the duplicates in the search result.
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    • Profile picture of the author paulgl
      Originally Posted by Mike Anthony View Post

      You really can't make any sweeping conclusions from this since its such a weak term (this forum blog temporarily outranked all the others for the phrase). You definitely can't say from it that google loves all duplicate content etc.

      The unknown always has been how google evaluates duplicate content. If you look at the results you can see that no page is exactly the same. theres content mixed in that isn't duplicate. People always assume the only way to avoid google sensing a duplicate is spinning but it may well not be. It might even have a component of availability to it. Nothing else and it spits it out. More competitive phrases it eliminates or lowers the duplicates in the search result.
      I would agree. The point I really would make is that google can love duplicate
      content as well as unique content. The "duplicate" label is meaningless by itself.

      There's a lot of unique trash that google hates. There's a lot of great duplicate
      content that google loves.

      Paul
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    • Profile picture of the author JRCarson
      Originally Posted by Mike Anthony View Post

      You really can't make any sweeping conclusions from this since its such a weak term (this forum blog temporarily outranked all the others for the phrase). You definitely can't say from it that google loves all duplicate content etc.

      The unknown always has been how google evaluates duplicate content. If you look at the results you can see that no page is exactly the same. theres content mixed in that isn't duplicate. People always assume the only way to avoid google sensing a duplicate is spinning but it may well not be. It might even have a component of availability to it. Nothing else and it spits it out. More competitive phrases it eliminates or lowers the duplicates in the search result.
      I agree, doesn't this just say something about the competitiveness of the search term "How To Promote Your Website Using A Google Custom Search Engine"?

      If I wrote an article called "How to weave a basket with goat hair, the hard way" and submitted it to 100 sites, then when someone typed in, "How to weave a basket with goat hair, the hard way", surely all the articles that are optimized for that are going to come up.

      Now duplicate "How to refinance your home" 100 times. It will show up 100 times in the search engines...starting on page 5,000.
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      • Profile picture of the author Kay King
        Many of us have been saying the same thing for years - but others don't want to believe it can be that simple.

        No matter how many times we provide proof in the form of top rankings for a term that are the same article on different sites - someone will argue "but you must rewrite your article".

        That said, the results you see of multiple sites with the same article are good informative articles rather than the crap that starts with "it is not good to be overweight so many people want to lose weight".

        kay
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        • Profile picture of the author LeeLee
          Originally Posted by Kay King View Post

          Many of us have been saying the same thing for years - but others don't want to believe it can be that simple.

          No matter how many times we provide proof in the form of top rankings for a term that are the same article on different sites - someone will argue "but you must rewrite your article".

          That said, the results you see of multiple sites with the same article are good informative articles rather than the crap that starts with "it is not good to be overweight so many people want to lose weight".

          kay
          Kay-

          Does this mean you would post PLR without rewriting it?
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        • Profile picture of the author randerson
          Originally Posted by Kay King View Post

          Many of us have been saying the same thing for years - but others don't want to believe it can be that simple.

          No matter how many times we provide proof in the form of top rankings for a term that are the same article on different sites - someone will argue "but you must rewrite your article".

          That said, the results you see of multiple sites with the same article are good informative articles rather than the crap that starts with "it is not good to be overweight so many people want to lose weight".

          kay
          To me, I guess this explains why the idea of article directories even works in the first place. What I'm still confused about is whether or not different article directories will reject identical articles already submitted to other directories (assuming that they are really good articles).
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          • Profile picture of the author DireStraits
            Originally Posted by randerson View Post

            To me, I guess this explains why the idea of article directories even works in the first place. What I'm still confused about is whether or not different article directories will reject identical articles already submitted to other directories (assuming that they are really good articles).
            No; most of them will not reject them just because they've already been published/submitted elsewhere. That is with one known exception - Buzzle. For some reason they won't accept any article that's already published elsewhere, but EzineArticles, GoArticles, and pretty much any other directory you care to name (and to which it's worthwhile submitting) have no problems with that at all.

            Just one thing to remmeber: whenever submitting an article to a directory that's been published elsewhere already, make sure to do so under the same name (be it your real name, or a pen-name) as you used elsewhere, for copyright reasons.
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            • Profile picture of the author deloriagod
              Originally Posted by DireStraits View Post

              No; most of them will not reject them just because they've already been published/submitted elsewhere. That is with one known exception - Buzzle. For some reason they won't accept any article that's already published elsewhere, but EzineArticles, GoArticles, and pretty much any other directory you care to name (and to which it's worthwhile submitting) have no problems with that at all.

              Just one thing to remmeber: whenever submitting an article to a directory that's been published elsewhere already, make sure to do so under the same name (be it your real name, or a pen-name) as you used elsewhere, for copyright reasons.
              EzineArticles actually rejected one of my articles that I'd had on Hubpages for a while. They seem to have gotten pretty strict about it.
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              • Profile picture of the author keliix06
                Originally Posted by deloriagod View Post

                EzineArticles actually rejected one of my articles that I'd had on Hubpages for a while. They seem to have gotten pretty strict about it.
                Ezine only cares that you're submitting under the same name everywhere. So if you submit it using one name in one location, you'll need to use that same name with Ezines, even if it's just a pen name. I actually just did that for an article of mine.

                And Google most definitely can parse a page to know what the main content area is. They know when they see a bunch of links in a row, that's a navigational area. When they see a bunch of words in a row, that's a content area.

                If you really think there is a syndication penalty, how does the exact same AP article get indexed in 10s of thousands of newspaper sites?
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        • Profile picture of the author thatgirlJ
          Originally Posted by Kay King View Post


          That said, the results you see of multiple sites with the same article are good informative articles rather than the crap that starts with "it is not good to be overweight so many people want to lose weight".

          kay
          That is hilarious! And sad...and true.
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  • Profile picture of the author deloriagod
    I've said it before and I'll say it again, syndication is not duplicate content. Google can't penalize for the exact same thing being posted over a series of websites. If they did, I'd be taking my competitions' articles and posting them anywhere and everywhere to sink their rankings.
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    • Profile picture of the author orvn
      Originally Posted by deloriagod View Post

      I've said it before and I'll say it again, syndication is not duplicate content. Google can't penalize for the exact same thing being posted over a series of websites. If they did, I'd be taking my competitions' articles and posting them anywhere and everywhere to sink their rankings.
      Wait, wait, wait... I didn't quite know this, but it makes a lot of sense.
      Can you elaborate on syndication vs. duplication of content?

      Is content that appears to be created at an earlier date given preference?

      Is the following content (duplicates of the original source) considered not as important?

      So duplicate content is only duplicate if it's hosted on the same IP or domain?
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      • Profile picture of the author DireStraits
        Originally Posted by orvn View Post

        Wait, wait, wait... I didn't quite know this, but it makes a lot of sense.
        Can you elaborate on syndication vs. duplication of content?

        Is content that appears to be created at an earlier date given preference?

        Is the following content (duplicates of the original source) considered not as important?
        Many article marketers who engage in widespread content syndication will say that there are benefits to publishing your article on your own site first. Their experience has been that Google gives most long-term credit to the site it sees as having been the original source of a piece of content - even if it allows another instance of the same article on someone else's site to outrank yours temporarily.

        I haven't tested this myself, but I always publish my content on my own site first, before anywhere else.

        I've also heard Matt Cutts (I think it was him, anyway) state in a video that Google has aways of knowing who was first to publish a piece of content. Beyond dealing with copyright infringement / plagiarism complaints, I don't see why they'd really care enough to establish this unless they were using it in some way to better attribute credit/authority to a particular given site.


        Originally Posted by orvn View Post

        So duplicate content is only duplicate if it's hosted on the same IP or domain?
        If you have multiple pages on your own site, containing the same content - that is duplicated content. Google can and sometimes does penalise a site for this, for good reason. A few years ago, it was a popular SEO technique to publish many pages (often hundreds or thousands) of essentially the same content - changing only the keywords you were hoping to rank that page for, in each instance - in an attempt to more easily and efficiently get your site ranking for a ton of different keyword phrases.

        Content that is copied across multiple domains is considered as being syndicated, not duplicated content. News agency websites syndicate content, and it doesn't harm them (or the sites republishing that content) at all.

        But for the purpose of not allowing too much of the same content cluttering up their SERPs for any given search term(s), Google often only displays one instance of any given article / piece of content. The rest will reside in the "supplemental index".
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        • Profile picture of the author deloriagod
          Originally Posted by DireStraits View Post

          If you have multiple pages on your own site, containing the same content - that is duplicated content.
          We have a winner!

          Duplicate content is the same content posted multiple times on a single domain. Syndication is the distribution of an article (or content in general) over a series of domains.
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        • Profile picture of the author orvn
          Originally Posted by DireStraits View Post

          ... I've also heard Matt Cutts (I think it was him, anyway) state in a video that Google has aways of knowing who was first to publish a piece of content. Beyond dealing with copyright infringement / plagiarism complaints, I don't see why they'd really care enough to establish this unless they were using it in some way to better attribute credit/authority to a particular given site....
          Thanks for that, I think I found it, useful stuff:
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  • Profile picture of the author DireStraits
    Google doesn't despise syndicated content at all. It's just that in many cases, for the purpose of not having a ton of the same (or highly similar) articles returned for any given search term, they will only knowingly display one instance of an article / a piece of content - usually the instance of it on a site for which that page has amassed/inherited the most backlinks, authority, PR or whatever. It could be the copy on your own site, on an article directory site, on Hubpages, or a site belonging to anyone else who has republished your content.

    Bear in mind, though, that Google seems to calculate the uniqueness of a page as a whole - not just by looking at the article content area. Indeed, it probably doesn't know what area of your site is the "main content", and what is simply a navigation menu, footer links / copyright information, or whatever else. So it "takes the page as a whole", and includes that text in its calculations to establish how unique a particular piece of content is.

    So if you happen to have a site with a load of other text (such as in the sidebars, footer, logo area, menu, etc), and your article content itself is short enough for this other content to make it appear unique to Google, that is often why you'll find multiple instances of the same article ranking for a certain phrase on any single search-results page.
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  • Profile picture of the author Matt D.
    Ok, but does google give more credit to links coming from unique articles or is it the same as from the same article on many different sites?
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  • Profile picture of the author geegel
    That's one very interesting screenshot, but I disagree with the interpretation:

    My issue is that page is for a very long query. That means that the article is quite probably the only one to contain all those keywords in that particular order in the meta tags.

    In this light, I believe that Google does not "love" duplicate content, it just judges this parameter less strongly than most people believe, especially when there's the relevancy factor involved. Heck, I can get on that first page myself. Check that page tomorrow

    Oh almost forgot: How To Promote Your Website Using a Google Custom Search Engine
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    • Profile picture of the author Kay King
      Does this mean you would post PLR without rewriting it?
      No - that's not the same thing. An original article has my name (or one of my pen names) as the author. That name doesn't change for that article no matter where it's published (unless there's a low life around and that's a whole different story:rolleyes.

      PLR may be published by 10 people or 200 people under their own name as author. I don't use much PLR as I write my own content. However, when I do use it I use only high quality PLR and I do some rewriting of it.

      If I'm short on time, I'll rewrite the first and last paragraphs of a PLR article and post it as a page on one of my sites. I am more likely to use some PLR when I am building a new site and want to get a good number of pages online quickly. Good PLR is fine to use - just avoid the articles that don't say anything.

      kay
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