In the years I’ve been a content writer and manager I’ve seen some pretty impressive attempts to get around duplicate content penalties—some were even being used before Google started coming out with updates to catch all the different culprits. Here’s a few of the things I’ve seen done by some of the clients I’ve worked for. By the way, some of the bigger transgressions are from past customers of mine that are no longer anywhere to be found on the Internet so take heed and don’t try any of these things at home.
The Old Copy and Paste
Just because technology makes things easier doesn’t always mean it’s good. When some people figured out that you could take whole sections and pages of websites with a click of a mouse and transfer them verbatim, they thought they’d found the easier, softer way to get quality content for nothing. Problem was, and is, that Google found out about the wonders of copy and paste and what it was doing to web content. There were shortcuts but there aren’t anymore. Auto generated text (another way to describe duplicate content) is basically a great way to lose all of your rankings whether you do it a little or a lot. Remember if you’ve got duplicate content on your website, it needs to be rewritten.
I’ve also sold articles to people who service a large area of the country and strangely enough, they don’t need more than just the one piece. Now while that often turns out to be the case and the people are working on a budget, there are those sneaks that are trying to run the end game around Google with some geographic tagging practices. They plug in different locations to the same text over and over hoping it will pass as original content. So, you get a blog on say widgets that has the same text under both the “Widgets LA” and “Widgets New York” headers and with those keywords used inside the body. These often show up at the bottom of the landing page and are considered Back Hat practice.
Watch Article Syndication
Not everyone is up to no good either. Some clients just get caught up in the never ending maze that’s the Google updates and through no fault of their own get penalized. Article syndication is one of the otherwise useful tools that can trip you up if you’re not careful. Remember the article can be duplicated or spun across the Internet, but as soon as you publish it on your website too, it becomes duplicated and subject to penalty.
In the long run it’s better to play by the rules and always buy fresh original content for your website. A good writer can mesh the ad copy you need with solid seo copy that works.