Shared Content vs. Duplicated Content

How can you repurpose content without having search engines perceive it as duplicate content? In a meeting recently with a client and a new strategic partner of theirs, this question arose. Both sides had a good stock of content, both their audiences would benefit from seeing the partner’s information, but neither company — of course — wanted to lose the benefits of unique content.

There are solutions.

  • Don’t just copy and paste. We actually get this request from clients pretty frequently — their company is discussed in a news article, their issue is expressed well on someone else’s website, their product is featured in a blog post. Naturally, they want to share this with their web audience. Often, their first thought is just to copy and paste, but that’s a bad idea. This is what links are for. Link to the article you want to share, reference it in a new post, and share it in your social media.
  • Use non-searchable formats. A video, a PDF file, or an infographic can be shared without concern for duplicate content issues. Make sure you surround this largely non-searchable content with unique content of your own for best results. You can also use great content (with permission, obviously) in newsletters, emails, or print documents without worrying about duplicate content.
  • Rewrite — don’t spin. Back before the Google Panda updates, people would be hired to “spin” articles — that is, to replace a certain percentage of words in those articles with other words. Sometimes software was used for this purpose, or people with only a tenuous grasp of English. This explains much of the weird stuff you find online, and is the reason Google needed to make the Panda updates. Don’t do that. However, you can rewrite the same information in a new way. Think about your readers and how the content you liked could apply to them in particular. Add new evidence or your own philosophical musings.

You’ll have noticed that all these solutions require actual new, unique content. We’re not talking here about how to cheat, just about how to share great stuff.

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