Newsflash — duplicate blog content is bad. It’s just bad, m’kay?
You know that time you wrote the PERFECT blog post? Everything was just right, the grammar and spelling were on point, and nothing could foil your plans to take over the blogging world!
…and then someone stole your article…
My blogging friends and I have been discussing people who copy other folks’ blog posts and paste them to their own blogs. These people have been called “scrapers,” “plagiarists,” and “thieves.” They scrape material from other bloggers, plagiarize their work, and blatantly steal all the credit for someone else’s hard work.
Duplicate Blog Content is Bad for SEO
Actually, there are bloggers who “allow” other bloggers to copy and paste their work on a regular basis. They think it will help them get more exposure… and it might…
…but did you know it’s bad for a website’s SEO, too?
Let’s say you write a post on “Why Chicken Soup is Good for You” on your blog. Then, ten other websites steal your post on “Why Chicken Soup is Good for You” and paste it to their websites. A few things could happen.
Either Google (and I use “Google” as a representative for all search engines here) sees your content copied in multiple places and discounts all of those websites because it thinks you don’t have anything original to say, thereby dropping your lower and lower in the rankings…
OR… Google sees the other websites as higher ranking, and thinks YOU stole from THEM, thereby dropping your lower and lower in the rankings. Naturally, if your website is lower in the rankings, it will be harder to get noticed. I mean, really, how often do you go past about page 5 in the search results?
It Could Hurt Your Traffic
…and of course that impacts future exponential traffic as well, because maybe one of the people who would have visited your site has 10,000 Pinterest followers, but she pinned someone else’s “Why Chicken Soup is Good for You” blog post instead of your’s so you lost out.
This is vastly different than you writing “Why Chicken Soup is Good for You” and me writing a recipe about chicken soup and saying, “Hey, if you want more information about ‘Why Chicken Soup is Good for You’ check out this other post,” with a link back to your original article.
Google sees that I said you know about “Why Chicken Soup is Good for You” and voted that your post is about “Why Chicken Soup is Good for You” and says, “Wow, this post is about ‘Why Chicken Soup is Good for You,’ and another website “voted” for it, so it must be better than this other post about ‘Why Chicken Soup is Good for You’ that no one “voted” for.” So Google sends people to your website instead of one of the plagiarists that doesn’t have incoming links.
For example: When you Google search “Click Here” the #1 result is Adobe Acrobat Reader. WHY? Because ten million websites say “To read this PDF you need Adobe Acrobat Reader. To download CLICK HERE” and link to Adobe Acrobat Reader on the words CLICK HERE.
Google literally thinks that’s what the site is about. Because Google is a little bit dumb like that. Google is like a six year old child — he takes things very literally.
Your Page Could Be Marked as “Spam”
Basically, in a nutshell, Google wants to provide their customers with a varied group of results, not 100 pages with all exactly the same content. To alleviate this, when it sees multiple sites that say the same thing, it tends to write this in the search results:
“In order to show you the most relevant results, we have omitted some entries very similar to the results already displayed.”
These additional results are often available if the customer clicks another link, but most people don’t click it and so don’t see the additional results.
Therefore, If you have written an article and placed it on one website, and then a month later decide you want to put it up on another site, that second site may end up in the additional results that aren’t displayed.
This is not a penalty. This is Google acknowledging that the first site was the one that posted the article first, and thus is considered the owner of the content. If someone did a search they would not want or need to read the same article twice.
I’ve seen Google put a larger site that copied content over and above the results of a smaller blogger, even though the smaller blogger had the original post and posted first. I’ve seen it time and time again. Sometimes it’s not the plagiarizer that gets penalized — sometimes the plagiarizee does.
Especially if many of their posts are being scraped out and about. That’s why when you see it happen you should fight to take it down!
Not to mention the whole ethical stealing is wrong view.
Be Cautious When You Write For Other Websites
Let’s say you’ve been writing for someone else’s website and the website owner announces that he’s taking down the website for whatever reason. He tells you that you are free to take your articles and put them on your own blog.
The only way to do this without running the risk of hurting your website in the search ranks is to wait until Google deindexes the other website. You can find this out by searching a phrase from the article in quotes on Google. If it is found anywhere, it is still being indexed at the site listed. (This is a good way to find other people who have stolen your content, as well.)
Once Google no longer “sees” the old one, however, you should be perfectly fine to pop that article up live on your own blog.
Play It Smart
I hope this has been enlightening and helpful to you. Please, don’t steal content from other people… and if you see that someone has stolen content from you, you have every right to ask them to remove it at once!