I’ve noticed a growing trend among bloggers who have multiple blogs to post the same post numerous times in different places.
I can see why such a practice might seem tempting:
- it cuts down the work you have to do (two for the energy of one)
- it increases the chance of your post being read by readers
- if you’re making money from your blogs it double’s the chance of earning a dollar from your work
For these very reasons I’ve entered into duplicate posting in the past also. It just seems to make sense to get your material out there in as many places as possible doesn’t it?
Unfortunately whilst duplicate posting might have some of the above benefits it is also worth counting the cost of such a strategy. Duplicated posting might double the chances of your work being read, but it also runs the risk of getting you in trouble with Google. You see they don’t like duplicate content – content that appears in different places in the same basic form. They warn about this in their guidelines to webmasters.
‘Don’t create multiple pages, subdomains, or domains with substantially duplicate content.’
The reason for this policy is that duplicate content has been a trick of spammers over the years – creating multiple versions of the one page used to be a quick way of getting loads of traffic quickly. But now they have a duplicate content filter that tracks such attempts at spamming the search engines. Sites caught using such techniques will obviously be penalized and in extreme cases have been known to be banned from Google.
Of course no one really knows what is duplicate and what is not – but these days I always walk on the side of caution. One of the theories being talked about more and more in Search Engine Optimization forums is that Google are actually getting tougher on duplicate content and that one of the reasons that some blogs have suffered in recent updates is around these issues.
So whilst I can’t give you any hard and fast definition of what does and doesn’t count as duplicate content and can’t give you specifics of what the penalties are I would suggest that a duplicate posting strategy might not be a good one.
Free Articles – A related suggestion is that you carefully consider posting ‘free articles’ written by others on your blog. ‘Free Articles’ are also a tempting strategy for building up your stocks of content on a blog, the thought is that they are good for the author (as they build their profile and give links to their sites) but also good for the blogger/webmaster who gets free content.
However if Google is getting as tough on duplicate content as the rumors are indicating then ‘free articles’ might actually be hurting your blog. Think about it – you’re not only posting something that is available in one place on the internet – but something that is being offered to hundreds, if not thousands of others with websites and blogs – all competing for the same keywords as you.
I used to use free articles but found that the benefits gained from them were no where near equal to the costs and stopped using them (and deleted most of them) asap. Use them at your own peril.
I’m sure there are people out there who know a lot more about this than I do – so feel free to set me straight and add your bit in comments – but I’d strongly suggest being careful with duplicate posting and free articles.