SEO – Reviewing the Duplicate Content Question

If you’ve been through one of the MAJOR Internet marketing guru’s course on blogging, I’m here to tell you that some of his information is wrong! I’m talking about a great guy, someone who is very well respected and who cumulatively knows a whole lot more than I do, but let’s face it… He’s in my territory now.

He told readers to write an article for their blogs and to place that same article into the article directories online. But here’s the thing… That probably won’t get you where you want to go. You’re putting duplicate content on the Web, and guess who hates that worse than AdSense sites? Right, Google, and any good SEO knows to optimize for Google first. Usually, the other search engines will be just fine with the steps you take. For ranking, Google is the Harvard Business School. Really hard to get into, but the benefits are quite rewarding.

Why Kiss Up to Google?

We have two basic reasons for optimizing to suit Google. First, Google brings the most traffic. The search engine just gets the majority of search traffic, and the second reason is because Google traffic tends to convert better. So, that means more money for you, if you can get your site to rank high in Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs), too.

But Google really doesn’t like duplicate content. Why? Because it wants unique material to give their search audience and to have the best possible variety of choices in their search results. They may show listings for two different URLs with the same information now and again, and we’ve all seen this, but even if this duplicate content manages to pop into the search results, it won’t stay there very long.

Some folks say that Google will penalize you for duplicate content, and that’s true. Yet, it’s only true if you’re using duplicate content in more than one place on the same website. So, for example, you have a site where you used an article in the articles section and the same article on the website’s blog. You may be number 2 in the results one day, but as soon as the spider sees that duplicated content, your site will drop like a stone in the SERPs. You may wake up to find your site at position number 633, and that will hurt. A lot. Never, ever use duplicate content on the same website, if you want to please the Google Gods.

Yet, Google will not penalize you if they find the same content on different web sites. For example, putting an article on your blog, and the same article into articles directories online is OK. You aren’t breaking any Google laws, really. But only one site will be credited with the content, and even though you’re the author, it may not be you.

What should you do?

When you post an article to your blog, wait until the Google spiders come to see it before doing anything else. You can find out when the spider has visited by either checking your account in Google Webmaster tools or simply by searching Google for your site, and clicking on the word “cached” under your site description. You will see the date that the spiders last visited atop the next page. 
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