August 4, 2010 Comment on this post
When maintaining a website, heaps of fresh, keyword-rich content is essential to keeping your site well-ranked by the search engines. However, it is not always easy to come up with all the content needed to meet the demand. It’s often tempting to “borrow” content from other online sources to meet these needs. However, even if you cite the source of your content, there can sometimes be penalties for using existing content. What are these penalties and how can they be avoided?
Duplicate Content Defined
Google defines duplicate content as “substantive blocks of content within or across domains that either completely match other content or are appreciably similar.” This does not always mean that duplicating any web content will result in penalties, as is often thought. Look at sites such as www.PRweb.com, which distributes and reprints thousands of press releases on a daily basis. These press releases will be found in thousands of locations online, yet PRweb maintains its high PageRank. In fact, actually offering content for reprint can be a clever and effective way to generate traffic to your site. Visitors looking for content with reprint rights will go a long way to find ways to keep traffic coming to their site.
Implications on SEO?
It should be noted that copying any total webpage word-for-word, or worse still, copying the complete code of a website and claiming it as your own will indeed open you up to search engine penalties. These penalties can include reduced ranking for your site or complete delisting of your site on the search engine in question. However, copying articles with reprint rights as described above, taking small blocks of content or simply including a few quotes from online sources generally will not mean a penalty from Google or any of the other major search engines. When reprinting or borrowing any larger chunk of content, be sure to let the search engines know to ignore it by placing “robot” meta tags above and below the reprinted section.
When your Content has been Duplicated
If you find your copyrighted, exclusive content that you have not expressly indicated as being free for reprint has been posted on other sites, or if your entire site has been pirated and placed on another URL, it can be frustrating. To see if your content has been pirated or stolen, check sites like www.copyscape.com, which will scan your sites content and look for matches on the rest of the web. If you find someone has stolen your content, here are some steps to follow:
- Contact the webmaster and ask them to remove the stolen content.
- If this fails, refer to the DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) and send Google an infringement notification.
Ways to Avoid Content Duplication
- Place a copyright (©) symbol on all pages of content.
- If more than one of your domains point to the same website and thus, the same content, use “permanent redirection”, a.k.a. a 301 status report to let the search engine spiders know you are not duplicating content. Learn more here: http://www.webconfs.com/how-to-redirect-a-webpage.php