Beware the duplicate content filter!

- May 9, 2007

Recently I came across an article that caught my attention. It was an interesting read on creating content, and there was some good advice on writing original text. For example, keeping the copy relevant to the service or product offered on your site and writing an FAQ page, making sure to insert your key phrases. This is good honest advice that will work for the long run.

There was one part, however, that made the little hairs on the back of my neck stand up. Here’s a quote, “Bear in mind, authorities and experts in a given field are often seeking collateral exposure, which you can provide them. The exercise is to find an article published online that contains content related to your industry and ask for permission to “reprint” it on your site.”

I must strongly disagree; reprinting articles from other sites can cause problems with duplicate content. When the search engines determine that the content on two different pages are duplicate, one will be chosen seemingly at random by the “duplicate content filter” in the algorithm and sent to the supplemental index (otherwise known as Google Hell). You are better off writing original content that refers to the article and providing a link to it.

If you are having trouble coming up with original content, you could consider implementing a blog on your site and discussing the issues that come up on a daily or weekly basis. You can also encourage you customers to comment on these blogs, which helps to create user generated content. If you’re still having trouble, consider contracting a professional copywriter who is trained in creating original text.

I will leave you with this thought, be very careful when seeking out advice about increasing the rankings and the traffic of your site. Although the advice you find may be well intentioned, it may inadvertently harm you. Always check and double check any information you find regarding SEO.

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