Duplicate Content vs. Content Syndication

web search trends - where we spend time online - content game - mint social

by Matthew O'Brien on January 27, 2010

If arguably 75% of all Internet traffic ends up in a social network, (Flicker for photos, YouTube for video to articles, press releases, audio, you name it) then it really is a Content Game. So how do you win the content game online? This always bring to mind the thing with have heard forever and ever from all the SEO experts and that is  that duplicate content is bad. I would tend to agree. However, there is a new angle that you have to consider.

First, if you’re not sure about universal search in Google, pick any random term that you want to search, for instance, Social Media Marketing and see what it shows up in the top ten results. In order to own those spots you need to have a website, a blog, audio, video, photos, a press release, an article and it goes on and on). So, what about duplicate content and how is this relevant?

It goes back to how do we get our content found where 75% of all the traffic on the Internet is (and not on your website). Essentially, you need to bring your content to where the people are. But, if you duplicate the same content (say an article) all over the Internet, isn’t this duplicate content? This is where the lesson regarding duplicate content versus syndicated content must be learned.

I had the pleasure of seeing Rand Fishkin, CEO of SEOmoz.com, at the last AZIMA event and asked him this pointed question about duplicate content. He explained it like this. SEOmoz.com is a content rich site that licenses it’s content. So, if SEOmoz licenses an article to the Washington Post, they can essentially outrank SEOmoz for the same article. However, if they license the same article to 40 other websites or more and require all of them to link back to the original article on SEOmoz, we now have article syndication and SEOmoz will outrank all the other articles. Why?

The article is first published on SEOmoz.com. Then all the other article publishers are promoting this same article on their website while linking it back to be original source. In the eyes of Google, this mass incidence of the same article with links back to the original source is a textbook example for how article syndication works vs. duplicate content where the article is on just a few other sites looking like duplicate content.

Here is another tip: leverage your partner’s content (and experts you agree with) on topics you want to promote on your blog. It does not always need to be about you and/or your company. Make your blog a contributor network like HelpingThePoor.org.

{ 2 trackbacks }

What Apple’s New iPad can Teach you About Marketing Your Business Online | Social Media Marketing | Content Marketing | Social Media Marketing Company
January 31, 2010 at 11:26 am
Content Marketing with The Social Media Content Engine | Social Media Marketing | Content Marketing | Social Media Marketing Company
March 1, 2010 at 3:28 pm

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Greg Head January 28, 2010 at 7:00 am

I missed the AZIMA event last week with Rand Fishkin. I am seeing more and more examples of how search engine activities and clicks are moving off of commercial websites to where the content and conversation is. After Apple’s iPad introduction yesterday, I read 20 articles on the iPad and checked the Twitter stream for more opinions – I never went the Apple.com website at all.

My time was 90% content reading and 10% conversation reading. It’s a content game for sure.


Matthew O'Brien February 2, 2010 at 6:37 am

Thanks for your insightful comments…especially coming from a person like yourself (brand positioning expert) who embraces technology and leverages RSS feeds. Most people do not realize the power of RSS in that you can simple track a term like content marketing and have blog posts show up in your email in box.


Chris January 31, 2010 at 1:31 pm

Great article. Points out the subtle difference between duplicate content and syndicating it.


Matthew O'Brien February 2, 2010 at 6:41 am

Thanks for participating. Back when we were developing and marketing websites we did not realize we were pre-RSS in the late 90’s and were doing content syndication.


James Stein February 15, 2010 at 9:33 pm

Duplicate Content Penalty does not exist, it is a myth and that is right from google. As far as the first article published outranking all others, I must disagree. While I will agree you should post your content on your own site first and build backlinks to it. The article that will show in google on top listing is the one that has the most backlinks.

Google does not now nor do they care who published it first. I should know I own a article directory and a content syndication network of 150+ sites. Taking and submitting your article to 50 article directories is syndication and not duplicate content.



Patong hotels February 5, 2011 at 9:37 pm

I think using other peoples content is a grey area, unless your site is established. A site that is established can basically do whatever they want and not get in trouble for it. It’s like Google gives the top sites a different set of rules.


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