Does Article Syndication Create Duplicate Content?

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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.”

~ Google

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.

Social Media Today

link back to article syndication b2c

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 : )

 

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Brent Carnduff
I am an Search Engine Marketing specialist and speaker, former teacher and basketball coach, married with 2 children (Daniel & Ashley), a wanna be author, avid reader, an out of shape cyclist, and a Canadian ex-pat.I hope to add a voice of reason, understanding, and professionalism to the SEO industry.
Brent Carnduff

@BrentCarnduff

Husband, father of 2 teens, #SEO, #marketing specialist & speaker, former teacher & basketball coach, avid reader, wanna be writer, & out of shape cyclist.
Google+ Ripples - One Google+ Feature To Help You Build A Strong Community http://t.co/NssjG5P9wM via @SteamFeedcom - 2 hours ago
Brent Carnduff
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Comments

  1. ianrazorcoast says:

    Hi Brent,
    Really interesting topic! I agree that to hold off on the massive sites and pick sites that may have a larger audience/authority but link back to you and make it clear that you are the author can by useful. Although, I don't syndicate at the moment because my blog is relatively new!
    Ian

    • Thanks for reading Ian! The duplicate content issue seems to be a big issue and a concern to many bloggers right now, but Google seems to be taking a reasonable approach to it. I would definitely recommend considering syndication once you're ready.

  2. Very interesting post, Brent. Just like you, I also syndicate my blog with Business2Community and SocialMediaToday, and I occasionnally get republished by ehotelier, but it's not an automated process – I usually flag a post I believe of interest for their readership, and they decide to republish or not.

    The one thing to be cautious about is that I've found some of my articles republished on various sites, once they were published on B2C. Recently, my posts ended up on hotelmarketing.com and I'va also seen them on lesser known platforms. Nothing against additional exposure, but it did make me wonder to what extent people really read through to the original article – yes, the original article was always mentioned at the end, so that's all good.

    Anyway, thanks for the clear post here and hope all is well. Cheers,

    • Hi Frederic,
      Thanks for reading and for your thoughts. I have found some of my content taken from Social Media Today and republished on other blogs. Makes sense that syndication sites would be a target for that kind of behavior. I don't love it, but you're right – it is extra exposure, and Google will not punish us for duplicate content. If you get a link back to your article – all the better!

  3. Great and informative post Brent. I have had concerns and have held off on many of the sites and stayed focused on the opportunities with Triberr. I also have concerns for the need to "be seen" and the rush to grab content curation adds to the push without really reading or even skimming the article and then presenting a relevance issue with the intended audience… GoodJob, rcb

  4. This seems to be a confusing issue for most, Brent – thanks for shedding some light on the issue.

    Cheers!

    • Hey Mark -that's what I've found too (and with good reason). Lots going on at Google right now – hard to keep up with it all. Thanks for reading my friend!

  5. Great post Brent and an interesting topic, I know there is a lot of confusion about content duplication/syndicating so it's great to have a clear, concise article I can refer to next time I'm asked.

    • Hi Liza – thanks for taking the time to read. I'm glad that it was helpful. Its definitely an area of confusion for many of us.

  6. Kittie Walker says:

    Nice myth debunking, Brent! It's one that people get highly confused about meaning that they miss out on some great opportunities.
    My recent post 6 Writing Tips for Small Businesses from Successful Writers

    • Thanks Kittie – totally agree! I think a lot of people miss out because they're not sure what is acceptable and what will get them in trouble. Tough to sort through sometimes.
      My recent post Coming Soon!

  7. Your post just answered some of the questions I had. Thanks for sharing. But I have one more unanswered for all the great minds out there. I am working on a multilingual site where the same content will be written in around 6 languages. Is Google clever enough to treat that as duplicate content?

    • Thanks for reading Churchill! I don't know the answer to your question, but based on my experience with Google, I would suggest not ever using a strategy where you're left wondering if they're smart enough : ). My guess is that they wouldn't count that as duplicate content because it makes sense to have different languages for different regions – it is not an attempt to game the system. However, I don't have anything data or information to back up that assumption – sorry. Best of luck : )
      My recent post Coming Soon!

      • Really, good answer Mr Brent. During my search about this topic, I've found many forum saying, we should not use same article for syndication, but I was not accepting that statement. I've finally found my answer in your post. Thanks Sir.

  8. Also, I believe there needs to be clarification on RSS vs. true guest blogging or reposting. If you have a site and the RSS is syndicated in that fashion, the traffic comes back to your site and is not to be confused with simply reposting the same blog at another URL. Just wanted to clarify that point as we have a community blog and all content is also used on other sites via RSS.

    • Interesting point. Can you clarify for me? Are you saying that a site like B2C that I submit to through a RSS feed from my blog, does not need to link back to my original? Thanks for commenting.
      My recent post Coming Soon!

  9. Jennifer Hanford says:

    I just read this article and the timing was perfect for me, Brent. I've been on Triberr for a while, but was hesitant to try the reblogger feature until yesterday. Now I don't know why I waited so long! I was a little concerned about the duplicate content issue and how Google might penalize my site, but I'm reassured after reading this article. Syndication is much different than plagiarizing. Great post!

  10. Hello Brent,

    Really interesting article, thank you! I agree with you on everything, especially the part about staying away from big sites.
    My recent post Happy birthday, Google+!

  11. Some of my most shared blogs are syndicated on social media today…. Example: http://socialmediatoday.com/randy-milanovic/14336
    My recent post Could Crowdfunding Help You Find and Launch Your Next Big Idea?

  12. Love this post, Brent! Like the others have said before me, many individuals find this to be an incredibly confusing topic, and it's nice to finally have a well written article that actually makes sense of it! Can't wait to read some of your other posts.

  13. Hey Brent. I'm about to expand my online marketing strategy and article syndication will definitely be a big part of that effort. My niche is term life insurance but my company blog publishes content on general personal finance topics as well. Can you recommend resources that would help me identify high-quality, reputable article syndication sites relevant to my niche? Thanks!
    My recent post How to Reduce Your Property Taxes by 10% or More

    • Hi Richard,
      I apologize for taking so long to respond. I haven't revisited this blog for a while. You can always start on the more general sites that I mentioned above. We have a Triberr group dedicated to financial services that acts as a type of syndication. Otherwise, be an active reader and social media participant within your industry and you will see opportunities for syndication (or guest blogging) on high visibility industry blog. Hope that helps. Sorry I don't have a more specific answer for you..

      My recent post Click one of the post titles above to include it at the end of your comment

  14. Nice post on Search Engine Awareness!

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