Did we really tell you that Google loves duplicate content?
Yes we did – keep reading to find out why.
If you’re pressed for time you can listen to the audio version of this post by hitting the play button below.
This is a long post, but you’ll benefit from the information we’re sharing so stick with us!
Before we get to that, if you pay attention to what we’re discussing today you’ll save yourself time and effort in the future – and will probably make more money too!
We know from the questions we get that most people think Google hates duplicate content. They really don’t.
WHAT GOOGLE HATES
What Google hates is YOU manipulating the search engine results to make profit via Google. Google can only really exist *because* of duplicate content.
Here’s why. If there was only ever one article on any given topic, there would be no need for search engine results. If the answer to any question was only ever on a single web page, Google would have no real advantage over any other search engine. They’d all deliver the same results and Google would not enjoy the stranglehold they have on search engine usage.
Do you think they might want to keep their advantage and enjoy the billions (billions!) of dollars they raise in advertising from their search engine? You bet!
So they have to do something that other search engines are not doing (or not doing well) so they can dominate.
One of the ways they do that is to index everything they can. They take YOUR content and feed it into THEIR machine to make money for THEM.
Here’s where it starts to get interesting. What they’re really doing with duplicate content is two things:
1) Weeding out what they believe is content designed to game their ranking system
2) Choosing which keywords any particular content will rank for!
That’s right, duplicate content can rank but Google will decide which keywords it ranks for. It’s too deep a discussion for this post to explain how Google does #1, but we’ll cover that in the future.
‘TIS THE SEASON
Duplicate content can also be seasonal. I saw a post on Facebook that made me smile because it has a large element of truth in it. The plot of every Hallmark movie is about a career woman who moves to a small town, meets a handsome guy and falls in love. It starts snowing and they kiss – there’s also usually a dog in there somewhere. The end.
It’s kind of funny, because it’s kind of true. I checked the cable listings in my area and there is a 24 hour a day channel that is showing ONLY this kind of movie.
The actors change. The names change. The town changes. But the basic story is always the same. It’s duplicated content wrapped up in different coloured ribbons.
TV stations pay to show these movies. They pay to show them because – here’s the point that counts – people watch them and advertising is sold on the back of how many people watch them.
Hmmm, advertising revenue. Duplicate content. Evergreen content in fact (explained later). Commercial interests serving what people want.
Hmmmm, that definitely sounds like Google to me.
DUPLICATE CONTENT SOURCES
It’s not just TV of course. I checked out my local supermarket (a Walmart company) and they have dozens of DVD’s with movies that are all basically the same. I saw several versions of A Christmas Carol. That’s a timeless movie that has been duplicated over and over. Names change, locations change, story doesn’t.
Then I checked the magazine rack. Endless covers promising the fastest, easiest way to cook perfect Turkey. Even more promising the secret to losing 10 pounds in time for the celebrations.
They’re all selling the same content, because right now that’s the content people are looking for. All they’re doing is wrapping it up in different coloured ribbons.
Use Google to check out a news story and you’ll find dozens (sometimes hundreds and sometimes thousands!) of exact duplicates. News agencies sell stories to various sites who usually publish them without alteration.
CAN YOU RANK?
Of course only one site can ever be at position 1 on page 1. But there’s traffic to be had from positions 2-10. And here’s something more significant. A search on a different keyword will usually show a different site ranking result.
What might be at position 9 for one keyword could be at position 4 for a different keyword.
Let’s just cover evergreen content for those who aren’t sure what it means. It’s just a way of describing content that is always of interest to people.
Dieting has been something people have wanted information on forever. Next year will be the same. Millions of people will look for information on all kinds of dieting.
There’s already more information on the web and in print than anyone will ever read. But you can be sure even more will be published next week, next year and the year after that. And you can be even more sure that people will keep looking for the latest and greatest diet information.
Dieting is an evergreen topic because people always want information on it.
At this time of year cooking turkey for Christmas is a massive topic. It will be again next year. Nobody is going to read about it in May (almost nobody!). But come November and December next year huge numbers of people will turn to Google to ask the question.
Whose site will give them the answer? It could just as easily be yours, even though this information has been published and republished millions of times.
CAN DUPLICATE CONTENT REALLY RANK?
A question we are asked regularly is whether duplicate content can rank. The answer is yes, it can. There are a couple of things to avoid and a couple of things you can do to help, but the basic answer is very simple.
Duplicate content can and DOES rank, if you know what you’re doing. Google wants duplicate content because they need it. And Google needs it because people are searching for the same things over and over.
Meeting that search demand is something Google cannot do – literally the cannot do it – if you and others don’t publish content as often as you can.
If you want to know the things you can do with duplicate content to improve your chances of ranking, keep watch for our next post on this topic. We’ll tell you how easy it is, once you know the secrets!