When blogging, it is inevitable that you are going to want to share or comment on content you found on other sites and, as part of that, bring some of that material onto your site.
However, Google and other search engines frown upon duplicate content and often times demote sites with such content or even push them into the supplemental index. These penalties can, quite literally, kill a site that was once ranking well.
So how do you prevent your site from suffering that same fate? Here are five easy steps to quote content without hurting your SEO:
- Take As Little As Possible: Take only what you need to make your point, the less content you copy, the better off you are. Try to keep the content copied in a single span under a sentence or two, a long paragraph at most.
- Add Original Content: The higher the ratio of original (new) content to copied content, the better the new article will perform. If you can make it so that at least half the content is original, your odds of good SE performance will improve.
- Paraphrase, Don’t Quote: The SEs only detect duplicate content that matches exactly, if you can rewrite what another site has said, with attribution but without quoting it directly, the SEs will treat it as original content.
- Use the Blockquote Tag: The blockquote tag is more than just a means to visually separate quoted content, it is also an indication to the SEs that the content is quoted and should not be counted as original content. By being upfront with the SEs, they are less likely to treat your site as spam and demote you.
- Link Back: Though outbound linking may seem counter-productive, as with the blockquote tag, a link back to the source tells the SEs where the content came from and that you are not trying to be deceptive. This further encourages the SEs to focus on your new material and rank it well.
In short, maintaining SEO while quoting or copying content from other sites means little more than focusing on the fundamentals. Namely, creating high-quality original content and not trying to deceive the SEs.
For the most part, when people get hit with duplicate content penalties for copying other’s content it is not because they were quoting and citing with care as part of a genuine blogging effort, but because they were trying to deceive or to use copying and quoting to cheat their way to search engine success.
Simply put, duplicate content penalties were not put into place to punish quoting, but rather, to punish spammers who try to shoot out tons of copied content to trick the SEs. Though the systems for detecting spammers clearly are not perfect, it is fairly easy to stay off their radar if you aren’t doing anything unethical.
If you approach content copying with good intentions, you most likely will not run into any major problems. Just remember to be honest with both your readers and the SEs about where you got the content from and you will not likely be punished by either.
This post was written by Lior who works for a task management start-up from new-york called Producteev.