You’re an author. You have a blog. You’re trying to get the word out about your books. Then, you get a strange e-mail. Somebody is asking you to republish all of your blog posts. Will it hurt you? How about just the one?
Duplicate content is a phrase used to describe the event when an entire page is copied either on the same domain or another. For a long time the phrase “duplicate content penalty” has been tossed about to reflect the negative way search engines feel about non-unique pages. The article Demystifying the Duplicate Content Penalty clearly outlines what’s so bad about duplicate content from Google’s point-of-view. Some people produce content in order to play games with the search engines or engage in a malicious activity like spam, etc. Sometimes, duplicate pages get created for other technical reasons and is fairly common on retail sites. In those cases, the search engine will pick an authoritative page and show that in the search results.
So what does all this mean for you? Well, chances are you probably don’t have to worry about the technical side of duplicate content because you’re not running a store or a large site. You probably have an author website and you might even blog.
If you have a blog and you have an RSS feed set up, you’re syndicating your posts. Those posts can sometimes appear on other sites simply because you have an RSS set up. In some cases, that can result in duplicate content, but the search engines will know what the original source of the material is. There are a lot of different ways to set up an RSS feed, too.
Let’s go back to that first example: Someone wants to copy/paste all of your posts. The questions I would be asking are: Is this person asking permission to syndicate your posts through RSS? Or are they copy/pasting multiple articles and tossing in their own titles, etc.?
Then I would dig a little deeper. What site are your articles appearing on? Are they using your content to make money? What do you stand to gain?
Sometimes sites will ask for a lot of well-crafted content to avoid what’s known as a content farm. Other times, they’ll look for ways to rank for certain keywords or they’re hoping to fill a column spot. Truth be told, I’d be skeptical of a site that wanted to copy/paste my entire set of blog posts if I wasn’t getting something substantial out of it. Individual posts are a different story, however, because it’s not a widespread or a common occurrence. RSS? No problem at all.
Regardless of your situation, I’d base your goals on what you need rather than worrying about what Google wants. You may decide not to syndicate your content and not republish any posts on another site. Or, you may be perfectly fine republishing a category of posts. Neither of these fit the definition of malicious activity. If you are worried about the penalty, hop on over to the Google Webmaster Central forums and ask your question there. The answer might be a little more technical than you’re expecting, but it is an option if you find yourself in a sticky situation.[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]https://howtowriteshop.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/MLV_Logo_Color_Small.png[/author_image] [author_info]Monica Valentinelli is an author and game designer who lives in the dark. Her hobbies include: tormenting her cats, designing jewelry, and hiking in the woods. In addition to her genre work, Monica has a professional background in online marketing with a strong emphasis on copywriting, web analytics, social media and search engine optimization. [/author_info] [/author]