Article Marketing, Duplicate Content, Biting Yourself in the Foot?

Andy Beard
 


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With the current massive growth of article marketing to drive traffic to websites, establish credibility, and to create backlinks for search engine optimization purposes, there are constant queries and/or discussions related to duplicate content.

Various measures are thrown back and forth to combat this:-

~ Author Perspective ~

  • Rotation of bio boxes
  • Rotation of paragraphs
  • Changing keywords
  • Changing Titles

~ Article Site Perspective ~

  • Niche Categories
  • Splitting articles into parts on seperate pages
  • Splitting articles into parts on the same page and intelligent use of tables or CSS
  • Including related article snippets on the same page

Article Directories can easily make every single article they publish appear unique to the search engines, without changing any of an authors original words. It is harder for blog publishers, but it still can be achieved, and even automated to a certain extent.

~ Rotation Can Reduce your Article Distribution ~

One of the main reasons for publishing articles is to generate keyword focused backlinks with appropriate anchor text. You want your article picked up by as many sites as possible.

  • Rotation of bio boxes does not affect distribution
  • Rotation of paragraphs does not affect distribution
  • Changing a few keywords in the article body may reduce or increase your distribution
But. . .

Changing the title of your articles can reduce distribution!

Lets go into this in more detail. . .

~ How articles are used for content sites ~

As well as writing about article publishing, my main business model is niche marketing. Creating niche focused websites to provide relevant information for people searching on a particular topic.

In this article I don't want to focus on what makes a good or bad niche website.

When creating niche websites, it is cost/time efficient to use various forms of automated or semi-automated tools to collect content to display that is relevant to your audience.

With articles and RSS feeds of articles, the primary way to determine whether content is unique is by way of title and author. If they are unique, it is likely that the content is unique.

It is prevalent to source your content from multiple locations, so you would collect articles, either manually or automatically from multiple locations. With RSS feeds you would subscribe to multiple RSS feeds.

If you are using good tools, duplicate content is excluded. You wouldn't want to post 10 different versions of the same article on your website.

~ Rotating Titles Defeats the Duplicate Checking ~

Yesterday I was collecting articles based on Search Engine Optimization for one of my sites. Using one of my semi-automatic tools, I gathered together over 950 supposedly unique articles from multiple sources.

These I intend to publish, 3 - 4 articles per day, over the next 8 months.

But I hit a problem.

When I sorted the articles by keyword density, I noticed that there were a fair number of articles, published by the same authors, that had different titles. Sometimes it was just the insertion of a number, at other times just a change of a single keyword.

Duplicate content!

With 950 articles to prepare, I wasn't going to go through them one by one comparing if it actually was duplicate content or not. I took the simple option. For each author I noticed articles that were the same keyword density, and similar length, I JUST DELETED ALL THE ARTICLES. The author will not get published on my site. For many of them that was 10 articles.

I ended up with a total of approximately 800 articles suitable for publishing, and some authors would not be included.

It cost me more than 1 hour additional time to sort through and remove the duplicates. I could probably buy that many private label rights articles with no worry about duplicates in the collection, for the same expense comparing time to $ cost. But then there would be no backlinks for the authors, and I could target the articles exactly as I want with full rights to modify them.

~ Growing Trend ~

The idea of rotating article titles is not currently widespread. I have noticed it on occasion in the past where it was obviously done for tracking purposes, just an insertion of a number, and it was easy to remove the duplicates.

If however the trend continues, it will become more difficult to identify individual unique articles, especially for RSS feeds.

~ Think about it ~

It is already almost as cost effective to buy articles with rights as use articles from article directories.

Do you want backlinks from your articles?

~ Spreading the backlinks ~

I currently like sourcing articles from multiple locations. Many smaller article directories who have intelligently included a link to their site at the bottom of article content gain a great deal of exposure from content sites redistributing their articles. The backlinks are invaluable. However, if these sites start to contain duplicate articles with different titles, I will simply be forced to collect articles from the largest article directories. So much for diversification. . . lets all encourage monopolies!

The same would be especially true for RSS feeds.

~ Automated Submission ~

Technology is now helping authors distribute their articles across the internet. The market for such tools is highly competitive, thus there is a race to implement improved features. One such feature now being implemented is the rotation of article titles. This is intended to help an author make every article published to article directories unique.

Whilst I commend the authors for their ingenuity in finding solutions, I am deeply concerned that this will initially reduce the use of articles submitted, and eventually discourage content site creators from sourcing articles from multiple locations, and opting to source only from the largest directories.

~ Think About Time ~

Writing 20 unique titles for articles will probably take as much time as writing a whole new article. Two articles in my opinion are certainly better to promote your business, both short term and long term, than one article with 20 different titles.

When it comes to monitoring the success of your article publishing efforts, one of the favorite techniques is to search for your article title, thus discovering which sites used your article, and allowing you to also determine how many of those same sites also include a backlink to your website.

~ Advice to Authors ~

Based on my experience both as an author and a creator of niche focused content sites, think very carefully before leaping on the bandwagon of the newest trend in article publishing. If you rotate your article titles, you are making life harder for content publishers, and your efforts might well backfire.

Andy Beard has worked in Sales, Marketing and Localization for the last 15 years, primarily in the computer games industry. He now spends his time creating content sites(niche marketing ), and writing about the techniques he uses. He publishes his articles with the services of Article Marketer

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