Writing For Google: What Is Duplicate Content…and What Isn’t?
The simple truth about SEO, is that if you want to be noticed, you have to play nice with Google. The problem of course, is that rules like “unique content” are explained in principle, and are often not as clear-cut as you might like.
There is no denying that Google is a monolith in the world of SEO, being the search engine of choice for over 67 percent of web surfers around the globe. In fact, according to comScore, there search market share went UP by a half a percent, even after Microsoft has been throwing billions of dollars at Bing, trying to claim a piece.
Granted, there is plenty that can be done with social media, but with over 30 trillion websites and climbing out there in Internet land, it would be foolish to turn a blind eye to one of the biggest and best traffic sources available.
So today, let’s look at one of those fuzzy rules that can cause you to do more work than you really need to, if you don’t understand where Google is coming from, which is duplicate content.
What is Duplicate Content?
According to Google, “Duplicate content generally refers to substantive blocks of content within or across domains that either completely match other content or are appreciably similar.”
Which makes sense right up until the point that you wonder, what exactly constitutes “substantive blocks”. Sentences, paragraphs, calls to action, thematic phrases or stylistic quirks? Using any of the many duplicate content software programs will qualify any and all of these as “duplicate content”, which if believed, can keep an editing team working for days as they edit ubiquitous phrases often used by writers when talking about a specific subject.
And small wonder, the consequences of Google determining that your content is duplicated are dire. Google will actually refuse to index and list pages, or even your site if they determine that the content was duplicated with the intent to deceive their search algorithm. The prospect of having your site black-listed by Google over multiple uses of the phrase “have you heard” is not a problem any site owner wants to deal with.
Remember, Google Isn’t Out To Get You
The whole truth is though, that Google isn’t out to get you, they are out to protect their users. The reason why Google cares about duplicate content is because they want to ensure that the folks who use their search engine are getting the results they want. This should color the interpretation of “substantive” significantly.
The things Google is looking for are people who spin articles to dominate keyword real estate, the folks who steal content from the sorts of sites that Google searchers actually love, and of course they also want to penalize the people that try to “work” the system rather than work within the system.
Google’s philosophy is simple, they want to give the people who use their search engine quality content that answers their question. In essence, Google tries to pair people with useful information, not advertisements or “SEO friendly” content. So, if you want Google to be happy with what’s going on your website, ultimately, the easiest thing to do is just to make sure your site is incredibly useful for the kinds of customers you want to attract.
How To Create Useful Content That Is Not Duplicated
Keeping Google’s core philosophy in mind, the key behind useful content is often SEO best practices. Bullets and lists, clear subheadings, and focused content aren’t just good SEO guidelines, they are good writing guidelines.
That doesn’t mean that you won’t have to worry about duplicate content, there are plenty of instances where that can occur, but it doesn’t have to be the rule. As they say in their own guidelines, if you are writing about services offered in two different cities, that content may appear duplicated.
The key to ensuring that is unique?
Making the content more city specific.
Obviously, the best way to do that is to provide more useful information about how services or products can be applied in those cities, paying attention to local concerns, and basically personalizing the solutions for the city, rather than trying to generalize your service to everyone.
Google’s Rules Make You Look And Rank Better Than Your Competition
In other words, personalization eliminates duplication. It’s more work, but consider the way your clients will react when reading a personalized solution. It makes you look good, shows that you care about what they want, and it also demonstrates that you can provide what they need.
That’s the entire point of having a website – to communicate to your clients that you have the solutions they are looking for.
At WordsRWeapons, we know the importance of crafting quality content that speaks directly to your readers needs. Often times, it can be difficult finding the many multiple ways that a single solution can solve multiple problems. However, that’s what we are good at. Rather than try and become an expert at content creation, we recommend that you focus on your service, and let us focus on your message.
To find out how WordsRWeapons can make your content headaches a thing of the past, let us know what you’re looking for and we’ll be happy to craft a customized solution. We are here to solve YOUR content problems, and every unique problem deserves a unique solution.