20.1 Using Free Articles on your site for Content

This is something I don’t personally advise, because there are some duplicate content filters in use by the major search engines which filter out duplicated content. However, the situation is not currently as bas as many would have you believe.

Let me ask you a question that I get asked a lot:

Q. If you pick up an article from an article directory and post it on your site, will your page/site be penalised?

From what I have read on forums and in emails recently, a lot of people think they will be penalised for using these articles. My own opinion on this is no, it wont get your page or site penalised.

The topic of duplicate content is often hotly debated on forums, and to be honest, I don't know where all the misinformation is coming from. People use the term "duplicate content filter" without applying any common sense to the situation.

As with anything related to SEO, the internet provides you with a laboratory to test your theories.

Let me describe a couple of my tests.

1. One of my articles was published on my own site. Google indexed the article, and my site was the only place with that article. Searching for the title, I was the only site listed in Google. I then submitted that article to ezinearticles.com. I waited for Google to find it, and then searched for my title again. Guess what? EzineArticles.com was listed as #1 and my site as #2. Even though Google knew the article originated from my site and therefore ezinearticles had "copied" it. Google still ranked the ezinearticles duplicate ahead of mine. If there is a duplicate content filter then it certainly did not apply to ezinearticles in this instance.

Not convinced?

I wrote an article some time ago and submitted it to several article directories. The title of the article was:

"How to Choose Keywords to Theme Your Pages and Boost Your Traffic"

Go to Google and search for it. Put the title inside quotations so that you only find pages with that exact phrase in them.

I currently get over 17,000 results returned for that article. Look at each of the first 10 results. When I did it, all 10 were my article.

You can continue onto page 2 and check those results.

Surely if there was a duplicate content filter in place that penalised duplication of articles across web sites, we would not see this reprinting of my article across all these sites?

Incidentally, when I submitted that article, I used the resource box to link back to my Wordtracker Tutorial using the link text "Wordtracker Tutorial". With the article being so widely taken up, my Wordtracker Tutorial went straight to #1 in Google for that search term.

Incidentally, if you followed my domain move in my newsletter, you may remember that I moved it because my hyphenated domain fell out of the top rankings in Google for almost all of my terms. I pointed out a couple of examples where my rankings went from top 3 to no where.

One of those terms was cb accountant review. My old hyphenated domain had been #1, then dropped out of the top 100+.

Since implementing my 301 redirect, my rankings on the new site have gradually improved. You might like to look up "cb accountant review" in Google now. My new domain is once again #1 for that term.

This shows that the 301 redirect is doing its job, and also that there is no sandbox for this new site.

Not all of my rankings have returned, but I am happy with the progress so far. A hyphenated site that looked dead and buried has now been given a new lease of life by moving it to a non-hyphenated one.

OK, so back to the issue of duplicate content penalties.

Using articles from article directory sites will not get your page penalised for duplicate content.

Where duplicate content will hurt you, is when you republish the same article (or parts of an article) on your site, several times (even if you change the main keyword running through the article). This penalty may also cause you problems if you publish the same article across multiple sites that you own (yes, Google knows which sites belong to the same webmaster).

clip_image001If you make every page on every one of your sites unique, the duplicate content filters are not going to cause you problems.

What does the future hold? Well, this article may give us an insight. It seems Microsoft are developing an algorithm to check for duplication of phrases within pages. The article also discusses other indicators of spam.

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