As writers we often get seriously criticised by employers for producing “duplicate content”, even when done by pure accident – great minds think alike and all that. However, are employers a little too wired about this often sore point?
We’re constantly being told by marketers that “all powerful” Google will penalise websites that contain duplicate copy and because we believe they know best, we do our level best to pump out original copy each and every day.
Will Duplicate Content Really Affect a Site’s Rankings?
Most people whether marketers, employers or copywriters have not bothered to actually read Google’s guidelines when it comes to duplicate content. The reason being over the years word of mouth has run riot and therefore rumours of penalties and the like must be true. But is it all just a lot of hooey?
Again, reading through Google’s guidelines, it seems that non-original content on a website will not seriously affect a site’s rankings. Unless, that is, there’s such an excessive amount of marketing in the form of press releases sent out across the web in a very short space of time.
This would have to involve masses of dupicate home page content being repeated hundreds of times over the course of just a few hours or so. The result? The Google Giant wakes up on the wrong side of the bed and imposes lots of displeasure on the domain concerned!
According to people who really are “in the know”, a mere 500 or 1000 words of duplicate content published on an established site is not going to get any red flags waving in Google’s virtual headquarters.
Reposting Articles is Okay
In fact, there’s been a trend over recent times where articles are reposted after they were first published on another website and although the strategy will not make the content rank in any way, it sure won’t negatively affect a domain’s ranking. Many of the most popular blogs on the net do just this and it never adversely affects their rankings which is proof enough.
Scrapers are a Nuisance or Are They?
Some of the more serious and popular blogs get scraped umpteen times a day, but the owners pay absolutely no attention to the fact this happens. The reason being they know that duplicate content is not something to be worried about.
The truth is that scrapers are not something that anyone really needs to be overly worried about. The question you need to ask yourself is whether a small unknown blog on the other side of the planet that boasts very few visitors is seriously going to get the Googlebots hot under the collar just because they scraped some content from another website? Of course not, after all there are bigger fish to fry out there in the virtual world!
The Positive of Having Copy Scraped
There is a positive to having content scraped especially if all the copy is taken and duplicated which includes any links etc. After all, scraped links may just get a few nice referrals! It’s always very interesting to keep an eye on internal links.
The only time it might become a worry is if a site with your scraped content starts to outrank your own website. Now that would be very annoying and it means that Google did get it wrong!
However, all is not lost because these instances, which are pretty rare, are the sort of thing that Google wants to know about. And the best way to let them know is to use their Scraper Report Tool.
One thing that many gurus advise is to digitally sign content with Google Authorship which makes life a lot easier when and if a dispute should arise. It does not matter how many times your content gets used across the net by scrapers because the copy will always only ever have one author – namely you!
Know the Difference between Scraped Content and Plagiarism
It’s also important to bear in mind there is a massive difference between copyright infringement and scraped content. If you find anyone claims the content as their own, this is pure plagiarism. This is when you need to take action against the person or persons responsible!
People who sign their name to your copy are doing so illegally which is why it’s so very important to place a copyright symbol in the footer or to register your content with a company like Sample Safe. When this sort of thing happens, it’s not Google you need to be worried about, but how much it’s going to cost you in legal fees to have things put right!
There’s a lot of hooha about duplicate content and if the truth be known the net is full of scraped copy. Googlebots pick up on this when they visit most websites out there which they do at some point every single day. Do they make a fuss and start penalising the domains? No, they move on to the next website. After all, the geniuses working for Google have been at it for a considerable amount of time and way before “duplicate content” became such a mythical issue!
Author: Honey Wood