Duplicate Content Penalty
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Duplicate Content Penalty : Article Services:  SEO Content Writing 

Article Distribution:  Article Directories and Duplicate Content Penalty

Many people are concerned with the technicalities of article distribution to article directories, and the possibility of a duplicate content penalty with the same article published on a number of different directories.  In a way they are right to be, but in practice, assuming that they fully understand the concept of duplicate content, then they will be able to compensate for it.

Prior to discussing this in more detail, let's first make it clear for those new to internet marketing, and article marketing specifically, what is meant by duplicate content and why articles should be submitted for publication to directories.

Benefits of Article Distribution

The problem with submitting one article to multiple online publications is that search engines (we shall use Google as an example here) will detect exactly the same content on multiple web pages. Google will detect this duplicate content and, in accordance with its policy to offer Google users with as good a service as possible, will eventually offer only one version of the article for each specific search term (keyword) used by Google's customer. 

Yes, many of the ezines and blogs will not publish your article, but let's say even 10% are published (it's about 20% for me.)

No Such Thing as a Duplicate Content Penalty"

This has frequently been referred to as the 'Duplicate Content Penalty'. However, I may be about to shock you here, but the Google duplicate content penalty is a myth:  there is no such thing.  A penalty does not exist, and even Google itself states that. Here is some proof for that statement:

From the Google Webmaster Central Blog:
"Duplicate content. There's just something about it. We keep writing about it, and people keep asking about it. In particular, I still hear a lot of webmasters worrying about whether they may have a "duplicate content penalty."

Let's put this to bed once and for all, folks: There's no such thing as a "duplicate content penalty." At least, not in the way most people mean when they say that."

That should say it all really but it doesn't, at least not to those that still believe that there is a duplicate content penalty.  That is not because such people are ignorant and don't believe Susan Moskwa, the Webmaster Trends Analyst that wrote this in her Google blog posting, or Google software engineer Matt Cutts who states the same.  It is because they don't read the right publications.


This is on Blogger since this is Google's official blogging platform. I personally prefer Wordpress because I can run that from my website and thereby achieve a far greater degree of customization using any of the many thousands of Wordpress templates and plugins available online. For functionality, however, Blogger works as a blog perfectly well, as does the version of Wordpress run from the company's own blog hosting service.

However, that is another topic discussed on my websites Create a Blog and Blogging Profits.

This blog has a search facility, so if you are seeking information on Google's policy on duplicate content, for example, just search for it. Some might be official policy if there is one, or comments by Google technicians. Since Google does not apply any duplicate content penalty, you will be unlikely to find an official policy on it, but will find several blog postings by such respected technical personnel as Matt Cutts.

This is the place to visit if you want to find information on any number of, sometimes fairly obscure, Google policies or advice, and recent advice has referred to the speed of opening of your website, adding images to sitemaps and having text or URLs removed quickly that are either include in Google's cache or is still being listed.

Matt Cutt's personal blog is also worth a regular visit:


Beating the Duplicate Content Problem

However, we are getting off the subject of article distribution with reference to article directories and duplicate content.  Although there is no duplicate content penalty as such, Google will list the page that offers the most relevant and useful information on the search term used by Google's customer looking for an answer to a problem.

Although all the articles will be the same, Google's algorithms will also take the following into account the following:

  • Any other information on the web page.
  • Any links on the page to other sources of relevant information.
  • The relevance of the website as a whole to the topic in question.
  • The Google PageRank of the page on which the article is published.
  • The chronology of the page, though the earliest source of the article is not necessarily listed highest.
  • Any other page factors that are relevant to the topic (Adverts, graphics and so on)
  • The general search engine optimization factors of the page, such as intelligent used of Meta tags, the title tag and H heading tags.
  • Any other content on the page: the article itself might be only a small part of the web page on, for example, an ezine.

There may be others, but it should now be obvious that the article itself is not the only factor involved in the search engine results position for the page on which the article is published online. Google will begin to drop the other listings until only the most relevant is left.  It is not a duplicate content penalty as such,  but natural to a search engine trying to provide the best possible service to its customers.

However, this does not happen overnight, and it will be several months before even 75% of all the original submissions are no longer listed in the main results pages.  During that period you can have written another few articles, and the net number of listed articles will rise rapidly. Your back-links will continue to rise, as will exposures of your resource URLs to the public.

Yes, ultimately, if taken to the logical conclusion, each of your articles will be listed on only one directory, but consider the math.  Assume that each submission is picked up and listed on Google - this could be anywhere from Page #1 to Page #500 or whatever.  It is still a back-link, irrespective of its listed position.

a)  Week 1: write one article and submit it to 100 directories and ezines = Say 10% take-up = 10 listings.
b)  Week 3: write another article with the same URL in the resource, and submit to the same 100 publications = 20 listings.
c)  Week 5: 25%% of the listings from a) are dropped = 15 listings left
d)  Week 5: write another article and submit the same = 25 listings left
e)  Week 7: 25% more  are dropped = 18 listings left
f)  Week 7:  Write another article and submit ton 100 publications = 28 listings left.

And so on. As you can see, by writing and submitting one article per fortnight, your number of listings and back-links rises rapidly, even though you may be losing 20% every 2 weeks.

You need therefore have no fear of the effect of duplicate content if you write even just one more article every two weeks. Some write 2 - 3 a week and some even more. The so-called penalty, even if there was one, will have minimal effect on your results. If you continue to write articles and continue article distribution as normal then the number of live publications of your article on the article directories and ezines will continue to increase, and with it the exposure of your landing page and your sales. If your landing page is a squeeze page then your emailing list will increase proportionately to the number of articles you write.

Google does not immediately see all this duplicate content and immediately delist it. The function of Google's algorithms, and those of the other search engines, is to calculate the relevance of each page to the keywords used by that search engine's customers, and list each web page accordingly. Very rarely will each web page containing your article be equal in terms of content and SEO factors, and many different pages will contain your article, and still be listed on Google, for several months to come.

Your job is to keep ahead and make sure that more pages are generated than are lost. That is one of the major aspects of article marketing whereby those that can do it the best will gain the most. Quality AND quantity win in this game, so don't let scaremongering 'duplicate content believers' frighten you out of making the best possible use of this fabulous free advertising technique, and continue to write and continue to submit your articles for long-lasting success.

Alternatively, continue to have your articles written for you and to have them submitted for you: done correctly it is worth paying double the price for the potential benefits that you will gain. Focus on article distribution to article directories and the duplicate content will become an irrelevant nuisance that will have very little effect on your success.

However, keep in mind that one article submitted without back-up with others will offer only limited results. What works is replacing dropped listings with new fresh ones from fresh articles focusing on the same keywords and offering the same URL links in your resource. A frequency of one every two weeks, submitted to the same article directories, will more than compensate for any duplicate content losses.

You will never be penalized for duplicate content, but your listed numbers will gradually drop off. There is no duplicate content penalty but you can easily overcome the effect of duplicate pages being dropped from Google's listings.

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