Does Article Syndication Create Duplicate Content?
Growing your blog can be a real challenge in today’s crowded market place. Reaching readers and attracting new readers, and building a brand takes time, commitment, expertise, and often involves working with other bloggers and blogging networks.
Article syndication can be a great way to gain exposure. Syndication sites, because of the amount and quality of the content they share, are able to draw, and expose your blog, to a large and usually targeted readership.
In addition to SteamFeed, which publishes original articles, I syndicate my regular blog articles with B2C and Social Media Today. I also am an active member of Triberr and participate in its “re-blog” program.
Google’s View of Duplicate Content
You may have heard that Google frowns upon duplicate content – this is true:
” . . . in some cases, content is deliberately duplicated across domains in an attempt to manipulate search engine rankings or win more traffic. Deceptive practices like this can result in a poor user experience, when a visitor sees substantially the same content repeated within a set of search results.
In the rare cases in which Google perceives that duplicate content may be shown with intent to manipulate our rankings and deceive our users, we’ll also make appropriate adjustments in the indexing and ranking of the sites involved. As a result, the ranking of the site may suffer, or the site might be removed entirely from the Google index, in which case it will no longer appear in search results.”
~ Google Webmaster Tools
Does this Apply to Syndicated Content?
In most instances the answer is “no”. Google recognizes that syndication has been, and will continue to be a common way for information to be shared.
“. . .duplicate content on a site is not grounds for action on that site unless it appears that the intent of the duplicate content is to be deceptive and manipulate search engine results.”
There are many examples of sites with syndicated work that rank high in competitive markets.
However, even though Google does not punish blogs for syndication, duplicate copies of a blog article can still lead to challenges for Google, and SEO problems for you.
Google only wants to display one copy of your article in Search Results. Obviously you’d rather it was your original article rather than a syndicated copy of your original article.
“If you syndicate your content on other sites, Google will always show the version we think is most appropriate for users in each given search, which may or may not be the version you’d prefer.”
All else being equal, Google will usually display the article that was published first – your original. However, in the case that the syndicating site is a more authoritative site (more backlinks, older, etc), which is often the case, it may rank the syndicated copy higher than your original copy.
How Can You Make Sure Google Recognizes You as the Author?
“. . . it is helpful to ensure that each site on which your content is syndicated includes a link back to your original article. You can also ask those who use your syndicated material to use the noindex meta tag to prevent search engines from indexing their version of the content.”
Take-Away: Should You Syndicate your Blog Posts?
Ummm. . . yes . . . usually : )
Make sure that your are syndicating with reputable sites, and make sure that they are linking back to your original article.
Dino Dogan, co-founder of Triberr makes a good argument against syndicating with extremely large and authoritative sites (i.e. Huffington Post, Mashable) as the link to your article may still not be enough to transfer authorship back to you.
How big is TOO big? Hard to say for sure. As with so many elements in blogging and marketing, test it, check the results, and make changes as necessary.
In the case of both B2C and Social Media Today, they do link back to the original blog article.
With Triberr you’re dealing with blogs of a relatively similar authority, therefore the search engine listing will be determined by the timestamp.
I feel comfortable with, and welcome the opportunity to appear on either syndication site, or as a re-blog on any of my tribemates blogs.
Hope this helps to clarify the issue. As always, your questions and comments are welcomed and appreciated : )