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Content Marketing Gone Wrong: Duplicate Content

There is just one reason why businesses use duplicate content: It’s cheap. But there’s a big downside: It burns your SEO results.

Jeremy Harrison


If there’s one thing you should know about content marketing, it’s how NOT to do it. In addition to posting material that’s full of spelling errors, writing what is basically unreadable content because it’s stuffed with keywords, and paying for backlinks, using duplicate content on your site is a big no-no.

Duplicate Content Image source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/wwworks/6305470569/

Duplication is death

There is just one reason why businesses use duplicate content: It’s cheap. But there’s a big downside: It burns your SEO results. As Google’s bots are busily scrolling through the virtual-sphere, when they come across a site with duplicate content, they essentially give it the kiss of death.

What is duplicate content?

 A slightly different version

In the content marketing world, you’ll often hear experts tell you to “repurpose” content that works. For example, let’s say you post an informative, educational article about how to use your best-selling carwash materials. Heeding marketing expert advice, you take this piece, tweak it slightly, and post it again.

That’s a no-no. First of all, it seems like plagiarism us. If that weren’t enough, Google’s increasingly strict guidelines will likely mark your site down for content that’s only slightly different. But that’s not the only definition of duplicate content.

 An exact duplicate

By now, it should be common sense to anyone with a website or digital marketing strategy that posting content that’s already published on the web is bad practice. However, there are still people out there trying to make a quick buck off ill-informed folks, guiding businesses create an internet presence on the cheap. You can bet the farm that Google, and other search engines, will frown upon exact duplication of material on the web when businesses purchase “stock” articles already published elsewhere.

Duplication “dupes” your business

Google downgrades duplicate content because it has determined that the content doesn’t offer that much value if people can access it more than one place. If the content appears on a number of sites, Google has to determine the originator of the content and assign a higher value to the content, while all other sites will receive a lower score.

People are also becoming more savvy about the blurred lines between content marketing and sales. They’ll dismiss websites that appear to promote “stock” content that lacks branding, creativity and usefulness.

Before you publish…

To determine if identical content is worth the cost savings, consider this question: Is it worth it to contribute content that doesn’t also help my SEO score, and in fact, could hurt it? There’s another way to improve SEO and offer consumers valuable content: Write original material.

It’s not worth trying to deceive search engine bots or consumers. Content marketing done right yields effective, promising results. It helps a business improve page authority, has the potential to increase links from your site to others (and vice versa), drives engagement through social media interaction, and promotes effective use of keywords that yields traffic. So skip the shorcuts! If you want to grow your online presence, focus on writing fresh, original content on a consistent basis.

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