This is a guest post by Duncan, a digital marketing expert.
Last week, I wrote a guest post here on duplicate content, detailing some of the ways Google determines the original source of content, and which versions have been scraped or syndicated. Whilst it is often the case that you don’t want your content appearing all other the web due to duplicate content issues, someone raised an interesting point in the comments about the positives of having your content out there, duplicate or not. He said that not only did he like the fact his content was everywhere, but also that he often didn’t mind when the original was outranked by the copies and even filtered out of Google’s index. It was a very good point, and so I thought I would elaborate on it and explore some more reasons why dupe content might not always be a bad thing.
If you’re sending out your content marketing to the right places, you can often find that the sites it appears on are more powerful and receive more traffic than your own. It’s easy to become over-proud of your content and of your site, sometimes losing focus on what your goals for the content are. Often it is the message contained within a blog post or article that is the important thing, and the more people who get to read this message the better. You are covering a much larger expanse of the web by having your content in many different places, not only because people stand a better chance of finding it by just browsing around, but also because the other sites might have large number of followers and subscribers.
Furthermore, there is even potential benefit to being outranked in the SERPS by syndicated content versions. If the content is on a powerful and respected site, it not only stands a better chance of ranking above other similar content, but it could receive a higher click though rate than your more ‘unknown’ site might have received.
If you mention your own site or include a link within the copy, having duplicate versions of content on multiple sites may actually provide you with more traffic than having the only unique version on your own. If the sites that have taken your content are powerful, you are likely to lose out to some degree in terms of search engine traffic. However, this can be made up (sometimes many times over) by the traffic you can receive from people reading the content on other sites. Let’s say for example you would get 50 visits per day to your article from organic search, which is lost when another version outranks you.
If you have your content on 20 other sites, each with an average article readership of 100 per day, and a click through rate to your site of 5%, that’s twice the traffic you would have received if you hadn’t been syndicated/scraped. This is of course very speculative calculation, but you get the theory.
Content syndication is a link building technique in its own right. Whilst I am by no means an expert in it, I know of SEOs who swear by it and say that if done correctly, can earn you some very powerful links indeed. For me, what it comes down to is if Google assigns any degree of power to links within duplicate content?
There have been discussions about whether duplicate content links have any juice, both internally and externally. As with a lot of SEO issues, there doesn’t seem to be much consensus, but from my own experience, duplicate content links DO pass power when from external sources, but DON’T on internally dupe content pages. That said, I do think it depends on the quality of the site on which the duplicate version of your content is found. If you are getting links from duplicate pages on spammy sites, I very much doubt there is any link juice from them whatsoever.
In conclusion, having your content scraped or syndicated can provide you with more pros than cons, so long as the sites that the content is on are of a certain quality. A word of warning though… over syndication of your content can lead Google to believe that the majority of the copy on your site (regardless of whether it is the original) is duplicate, and this can seriously harm your site power.