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Remember back in high school after a long day of sports, chores, maybe a part-time job, and the rest of your homework, you are relaxing in your bed when the thought comes, “I have an essay due tomorrow!” Some faked being sick, some gave up, some pulled an all-nighter, and some did what they justified as “creative usage of other’s words”–or in other words, plagiarism.

In the SEO world we do not need to plagiarize content to receive the consequences that we did back in high school.  We can duplicate our own content or even licensed content and still get in trouble. Let’s review what duplicating content is and how to create unique valuable content.

Content: The Where and WhatWebsite Content

Content, in its simplistic form, is the written part of your website.  However, not all things written on your webpage are content.  The best way to put it is that content changes from page to page and does not include side bars, ads, footnotes, navigation etc. (See figure).

Harm of Duplication

Now the question is, “What happens if you do have duplication on your site?” It used to be that duplication on a site did not harm your ranking on Google.  However, now with the Panda update in 2011, duplication on your site can now hurt your ranking on Google.

Thus, if you have a blog and an article archive on your site, you will want to make sure you do not have an article on both sub domains. If you want to keep your article on both pages, you can avoid getting penalized by adding a “noindex” to your web code.

Write Your Own ContentCreating Unique Content

You may be thinking now, “So, you are telling me that I cannot use anything for other sites, or my own, and that everything must be original?”  False! You can pull quotes, pictures, and other thing from different sites, but they have to be part of a bigger whole.

You need to add value to your content.  That is what Google and other search engines expect from our sites.  These search engines do not merely want the same thing written a different way, but something that is different and new.

Thus you need to add something unique to the conversation.  Sure, pull an awesome video from YouTube, but add something to it.  Make it relate to people that are searching to understand more about the video or add extra commentaries on it.  Find your Niche! The negative effect of cheap content on your SEO campaign is huge, so make what you write count!

Constantly creating new content is difficult and is the main reason why people hire out SEO copywriters to do that work for them.  But it is extremely important to have fresh unique content that people can search for to find your site.

So buckle down and don’t cut corners! Remember to write new content. This way you do not duplicate content and end up in Google detention!

Photo Credit: Adikos via Photopin cc

Jamie Bates
Online Marketing Director