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Search Engine Information > Optimizing Your Website > Duplicate Content

Duplicate Content - Avoiding the Google Slap

There’s a lot of talk on the net about what constitutes as duplicate content and what doesn’t. In reality, no one can really tell you for certain whether your site will be penalized for duplicate content. However, there are a few key things you can do to avoid getting hit with the Google slap.  

First, Here are Google’s official guidelines for what constitutes a quality site:

  • Avoid hidden text or hidden links.

  • Don’t employ cloaking or sneaky redirects.

  • Don’t send automated queries to Google.

  • Don’t load pages with irrelevant words.

  • Don’t create multiple pages, subdomains, or domains with substantially duplicate content.

  • Don’t create pages that install viruses, Trojans, or other badware.

  • Avoid “doorway” pages created just for search engines, or other “cookie cutter” approaches such as affiliate programs with little or no original content.

  • If your site participates in an affiliate program, make sure that your site adds value. Provide unique and relevant content that gives users a reason to visit your site first.

You’ll notice Google’s guidelines for duplicate content read “Don’t create multiple pages, subdomains, or domains with substantially duplicate content.”

When Google speaks of duplicate content they’re not talking about the occasional snippet or quote or even syndicated article. Google’s main purpose is to provide quality content for their visitors. If your site is offering relevant and quality content, the occasional quality reprint article should not be a problem.

The problem arises when business owners build sites specifically without their visitors in mind. i.e., the site is built to make money without taking what the visitor actually needs and wants into account.  

Here’s another quote from Google’s official website (source blog – Adam Lasnik) 

“Though we do offer a handy translation utility, our algorithms won’t view the same article written in English and Spanish as duplicate content. Similarly, you shouldn’t worry about occasional snippets (quotes and otherwise) being flagged as duplicate content.” 

Remember, Google has a job to do and that is to provide their customers with the most targeted and quality search results. Instead of working yourself into a frenzy or living in fear of your site being penalized, start taking proactive measures to ensure your site meets all the guidelines for quality.  

One of the main guidelines is “Make pages for users, not for search engines.” You can easily do this by keeping your customers best interest in mind at all times.  

What about PLR? 

Easy, If you’re worried about duplicate content issues, re-write your PLR content or instead use it as a give away for your visitors, newsletter content or bundle it up into an ebook – you’ll be providing your visitors with quality content and no need to worry about being penalized by the search engines.  

We both use PLR regularly in our businesses and wouldn’t do so if we thought it was a real issue. However, be smart with the way you use your PLR content. In our opinion, as members of several PLR sites, PLR still represents great value for money even if used for the ideas alone.  

Here’s a free tool to help you re-write your PLR –

What about Reprint Articles?  

If you’re worried about reprint articles, think about it like this, if you’re placing an article on your site which will actually help your visitors and provide useful information do you think that’s going to raise a red flag for Google?  Do magazines, newspapers and other worthy publications provide 100% completely original content to their customers?  Of course they don’t. 

They do, however, provide quality content with their readers in mind, but that content isn’t always original. Think of your website along the same lines. You can also personalize an article with your own editors notes as an introduction and closing to the article, this will provide further quality content for your visitors. 

We do recommend that you have plenty of quality original content on a website that also features reprints.  Reprint articles should add value to a website, not be the main focus.  

What about Syndicated Articles? 

If you’re really worried about submitting an article to the article directories and having it appear on a number of different websites as well as your own, then write or have articles written specifically for distribution, i.e., don’t place the articles that you submit to directories on your website.  

Finally, no one can guarantee that your site won’t get banned by the search engines. In some cases you can be doing everything just right and still watch your rankings drop for one reason or another. You can’t control the search engines, but you can take steps to make your website a valuable resource for your visitors.  

And, If you’re unsure whether your site is valuable or not, ask yourself this – "Would I be embarrassed if my closest friends, family members or colleagues landed on my site?"

More Search Engine Information: Highly Recommended! 

Check > John Reese's Traffic Secrets 2.0 course is a must have for anyone serious about driving traffic to their website.  Learn more about this fantastic resource by clicking here.


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