There’s more than one reason to “create before you consume”. If you write a post that sounds just like a post someone else wrote, with your own words sprinkled here and there for personalization, Google is going to notice—just like school teachers notice that a paper sounds just like the encyclopedia article on the topic.
2. Duplicate content can make Google think you are a content thief.
If you publish a post that is an exact duplicate of another, it appears to search engines that one of them is stolen (especially if they don’t link to each other). It might be that you are putting a copy of a guest post you wrote on your own blog, but Google doesn’t know that. It could just as easily be thatyou copied a post you liked from another blog and put it on your own blog. It’s called “content scraping” and it happens all the time. (You can try out a plugin like Plagiarism to automatically search for scraped copies of your blog’s content. If you’ve discovered an instance of your own content being stolen,
3. Duplicate content confuses search engines about where to send readers.
Search engines are constantly trying to improve their search results to include only the best and most relevant content for your search terms. That means that something has to go—and that will be the duplicate posts, those deemed irrelevant. And if Google looks at your site as a whole and sees a lot of content duplicated on your site and elsewhere? That will affect your site’s rankings.
4. Duplicate content confuses readers.
Even if you’re not worried about your search engine ranking, re-posting an old post is still splitting your blog traffic, likes, and shares between two posts. Not to mention that the related discussion (which is always fabulous–I love reading comments!) is spread out all throughout the archives (which might drive some of us detail people downright crazy). Readers don’t know which post to pin or like–let alone comment on. Duplicate content equals multiplied confusion.
4 Ways Bloggers Can Avoid Duplicate Content Penalties
1. Refresh an old post, don’t re-post from the archives.
It’s tempting—especially when writer’s block hits—to grab an old post, dress it up with a new picture and better grammar, and hit publish again. But that practice is littering your archives with duplicate posts. And Google is going to spot that. Best practice is to edit the old post, and re-share it again via social media and perhaps even your email newsletter. (Watch for the next post filled with ideas and methods for refreshing your archives.)
2. Guest post, don’t submit a previously published post.
Most guest post guidelines specify that you must submit a new, original post—one that has never been published elsewhere, including your own blog. That’s because a guest post that’s already been posted on your own blog isn’t a guest post: it’s duplicate content. Write a guest post that will give potential readers a taste of what they might find on your blog, without giving them your blog posts themselves.
3. Use a different title and intro when linking to your guest post.
When you guest post for someone else, it’s common courtesy (and often an understood agreement) that you’ll write a post on your own blog linking to your guest post. It’s a way to bring your community to theirs, and say thank you for the opportunity. However, you have the potential to hurt your SEO and the site hosting the guest post if you use the same title and beginning paragraphs of your guest post as an introduction on your own blog. It takes a bit more time, but it’s worth the effort to avoid duplicate content issues by creating a unique title and crafting a custom introduction to your guest post. Close your introduction with the words of the link itself in mind: