One of the standout sessions at SES this year involved duplicate content and the impact it has on rankings, linking and the competitive marketplace. Today’s While many experts have yet to weigh in on the matter, I will provide methods you can use to protect your content and ensure you get the credit you deserve from the search engines.
Copyright Your Content
The first step in protecting your content is having a clear copyright posted. While a simple statement on the footer of your page may be enough — be aggressive and up front. Using a disclaimer or badge, like those available at Creative Commons, is a great start. If you are not familiar with Creative Commons, consider their mission:
Creative Commons provides free tools that let authors, scientists, artists, and educators easily mark their creative work with the freedoms they want it to carry. You can use CC to change your copyright terms from “All Rights Reserved” to “Some Rights Reserved.”
Actively Check for Duplicates
Blogs have quickly become one of the fastest vehicles for duplicate content to spread. Knowing this, you need to keep an eye on search results quite often. It can be a tedious process, but searching for unique strings of text on Google’s Blog Search, Copyscape and the Internet Archive are all great ways to find those reusing your writings.
Performing Internal Audits
Duplicate content can exist on the same site as easily as it can on different domain names. Performing internal site audits on your web sites is an excellent way to ensure that you are properly optimized.
For example, search engines have grown to familiarize themselves with blogging systems. Still, duplicate content is still something you need to understand and be proactive in policing – as category pages and full post pages feature much of the same information.
Use your robots.txt to intelligently select the best pages to be indexed. Then, make sure you use Google Webmaster Central, Yahoo! Site Explorer and Live Search Webmaster Portal to help discover any additional problems to address.
References to Get You Started
Stop reading and start doing! If you think that duplicate content is a problem that is affecting your sites, take the time to review these great resources and learn what you can do to improve things right now!
- Google’s Digital Millennium Copyright Act
- Dealing With Duplicate Content
- Google Webmaster Help Center – Duplicate Content
- Creative Commons
- Guide To Fixing Google Duplicate Content & Canonical URL Issues
- The Illustrated Guide to Duplicate Content in the Search Engines
- RSS Abuse, Duplicate Content and Parasite Websites
Involved in the industry since 1999, Eric currently manages organic optimization at a Fortune 500 organization. In addition to contributing here on Search Engine Journal, Eric maintains a blog and consulting business at www.ericlander.com.
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