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If I publish articles in article directories, will I be penalized for "duplicate content"?

2006-08-17

A client asked me to expand on a discussion we had about using article directories to promote their site through article submission. The issue was using those same articles on their site to build content and keywords, and the increasing risk that having "duplicate content" - articles that can be found word-for-word on other websites - can hurt your search engine rankings. This reply was originally posted on Ryze, and yes that makes this entry "duplicate content" ... :)

Just to expand on the comments Marilyn made ... article publishing is still a good way to promote yourself, though not as effective as it was one or two years ago. There are still countless small websites hungry for content, and providing articles in exchange for publishing your link in a resource box is still a fair tradeoff.

However, search engines appear to be penalizing for duplicate content. So, my advice is, if you are going to publish articles, leave those articles to the reprint world ... make sure your own site has original content. Even if you need to rework some of your "public" articles, the content on your site should not match word-for-word the content you've put out in article directories.

That way, you can benefit from the traffic that still comes from articles being reprinted on hundreds or thousands of sites and ezines, but are not potentially penalized for using duplicate content on your own site.

That said, inbound link quality and relevance is also becoming more of a factor over sheer inbound link quantity, and you need to remember that you may not want some sites linking to yours. Sites that are using back-hat or questionable SEO tactics will eventually get blacklisted, and your ranking may suffer by association if there are a lot of links to your site from spammy or poor-quality pages.

The desire for *original content* and *quality links* does not preclude using articles as a method of generating traffic, but by insuring that the content on your own site is original and unique, you leave the risk of "duplicate content" to the users of article directories, not to you as an author.


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Russ Jackman, Internet Advisor
Russ Jackman is the principal of Internet Advisor, a web design and internet marketing firm located in St. Thomas, Ontario.

The concept of the "Internet Advisor" is that the designer becomes a partner or trusted consultant, who can simply provide advice and direction, completely implement a solution from start to end, or any degree in between. This insures that the strengths of a client are utilized, to minimize the investment required and maximize the benefits to their organization.

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