A concern many article marketers have is about posting the same article to multiple locations around the internet. They’ve heard of a “duplicate content penalty” that Google assesses when it finds identical content.
This concern is amplified by the increasing number of tools available to create alternate versions of your articles so the same one won’t be posted everywhere.
The truth is, though, that you won’t be penalized for having identical articles around the web. The “duplicate content penalty” refers to duplicate content within your site. Even then, you’re unlikely to have a problem unless you’re trying to game the search spiders. Search engine penalties are reserved for sites trying to trick the search engines and very few average sites ever experience such a penalty.
What will be the effect on your Google search results if you have the same article posted to 30 different articles directories? Well, all the sites may not show up in the search results.
Remember what Google’s goal is: to return to searchers as many of the most relevant sites related to the search term they entered as it can. It doesn’t make a lot of sense to return 30 pages with the exact same article! So Google will filter out some of the duplicate pages from the search results.
Should You Be Concerned?
But that’s OK! As long as one of your article pages shows up fairly high in the rankings for the search term, the searcher may well see it and click to your article. And in many cases, there will be multiple links to versions of your articles.
Remember too, that even the sites with your article that get filtered from showing up in the search engine results are still contributing to the list of links pointing back to your site. You still get credit for that with the search engines even if they choose not to display that site in the search engine results.
And, of course, humans who browse or search directly at these sites can still find and read your article and click through to your site.
A Strategy to Consider…
There is one strategy you may wish to adopt if you publish your articles on your own site as well as elsewhere on the web. You may wish to publish on your site first and wait just a bit to publish to the other sites. The search engines will give some extra priority to the site that they believe is the original site for the content, and that site is more likely to show up in search engine results.
So, if the search engine spider finds the content on your site and later finds it elsewhere, your site will be considered the originator of the content and will likely get more weight in the search engine results than those sites with the content it found afterward.
While it may be slightly preferable to publish to your site first so it’s more likely to not get filtered out of search engine results, it’s not the end of the world if your site doesn’t show up. As long as other sites with your article are listed, searchers can read one of those instances and still click through to your site from your author’s box.
The Bottom Line
The bottom line is that you can feel comfortable publishing identical versions of articles both on your site and to article directories and ezine publishers. If you want to take extra care, publish to your site long enough before publishing elsewhere to allow the spider to find your instance first.
The most important point is to publish your articles in as many high quality places as you can! The good it will do your business in terms of visibility, perception of expertise, new people clicking through to your site, and incoming links for the search engine spiders greatly outweighs any downsides.