Domaining SEO Sunday: Duplicate Content vs. Syndicated Content

seo_sundayAs more Domainers begin to focus on development the issue of duplicate vs .unique content comes-up a lot. If Google finds-out you have duplicate content on your site simply for the purpose of deceiving the search engines you could find yourself ranked lower or de-indexed completely. What most people miss is the difference between duplicate content and syndicated content.

I’ve heard many people say that if someone steals their article and puts it on another site they will get dinged in the search engines. First let me dispel this myth. If you are the original author and were the first one to index the article in the search engine, you are the original source. As the author you are of course not restricted to publish your content on only one site. Your content may be syndicated across multiple sites without causing any harm to your search ranking.

Heck – it’s not too hard to imagine that an article I write for this blog about ccTLDs would also be interesting to someone who reads ccTLDInvestors Magazine, an online magazine that I run. If I put the same article on both blogs some might say that I’m creating duplicate content and both of my sites will suffer. No – I’m actually taking my own content, that I have the right to distribute how I please, and providing it to another site with a difference audience that would also appreciate the article.

Take a look at press releases. It’s easy to find the exact word-for-word press release across hundreds or thousands of sites online. This is syndication, people pay good money to get their press release duplicated across multiple sites. They aren’t creating duplicate content, they are syndicating content so it can reach a larger audience and you can too.

Duplicate content is really about putting content on your site the might not be useful to the reader or factually correct but just targets search engines. Distributing this across a large number of sites could be considered duplicate content, it’s not adding value to your niche and it is clearly targeting search engines. Remember, there is nothing wrong with writing search engine optimized content, just make sure you’re not using one article across a ton of sites just to rank well.

At the end of the day fresh unique content is king. Just don’t forget that other people might want to help you promote your content and share it with others, and this is syndication, not duplication. If you haven’t yet read Google’s detailed FAQ on Duplicate Content you can read it here.

{ 6 comments… add one }

  • TeenDomainer November 14, 2010, 4:29 pm

    Great point, I don’t mind if people use my content to share with others as long as they give a link back. Google knows the real source.

  • 3ddi3 November 14, 2010, 8:01 pm

    very timely… i guess this answered my doubts about amazon affiliate stores. thanks.

  • Sam Pfanstiel November 15, 2010, 6:18 am

    This, of course, makes perfect sense. But how does Google know the difference? How do you know your second site, ccTLDInvestors, isn’t being dinged ever so slightly for the duplicate content (assuming it was the second to be indexed for this article)? Even if you say they are hosted on the same IP network and therefore have implicit rights to the same content, Google may still see that as duplicate content (spamdexing, at it were).

    Sorry. Your article — while perfectly logical — still doesn’t allay my fears in this matter unless someone can provide empirical evidence that Google does not dock sites that display syndicated content.


  • Ken November 15, 2010, 6:21 am

    I’m still not sure I’m OK or not, is the way I use the first few sentences of an article on my site and then have a link text linked to the source, compliant? Here is an example off my page:
    British scientists have developed a revolutionary pill that men could take as a one-off contraceptive just before a date. The tablet would prevent a man from being able to impregnate a woman, but within a few hours his fertility would return to normal “Link”

  • Tim Kissane November 15, 2010, 7:51 am

    Great point, Morgan. This had been a source of some confusion for me. Thanks for including the link to the Google resource, too.

  • David Carter November 15, 2010, 8:10 am

    Not much to argue with there Linton, that’s a great description of how Google sees duplicate content.

    If duplicate content was really that much of an issue, think how easy it would be to sabotage your competitor’s site(s) simply by copying and pasting all of their content and reposting it across hundreds of domains.

    The Google page you refer put sthe record straight, thanks for posting!


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