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Wednesday “Wisdom”: Keep It Original

We are going to talk about originality today, because we’ve run into duplicate content on several occasions and we want to give a good primer on why you should only put original content on your website or other internet marketing outlets.

Benevolent Intentions

First, though, let’s take a look at some good intentions for duplicate content. The main reason that I see for a business to copy and paste a news article, for example, would be because you want to share that info with your customers or clients. And, why wouldn’t you? If you are a doctor and you see  someone writing about the benefits of a certain procedure that you perform, you would have good reason to share that info with your patients, right?

Of course you do. After all, sharing information is one of the main reasons that we get involved on the internet. However, there are better ways to go about it.

Malevolent Intentions

But, before we get to that, let’s consider the malicious intentions for duplicating good content. Hopefully, these are obvious. Many people duplicate content in order to pass it off as their own, making themselves look like a good source of information, news, etc. This is why we have plagiarism and copyright laws. Another reason, although this is a bit antiquated now, is that people wanted to cheat search engines into thinking that their website had a lot of good content by spreading the same stuff across their websites or even across domains.

The results, therefore, are that you can get in both legal and search engine trouble for duplicating content. Google, for example, will penalize or even blacklist a site that they discover with too much duplicate content.

Other Options

Here’s the good news – you have options for information sharing that don’t include copying and pasting. First of all, a link will always suffice. However, simply posting a link to another site can make your site look a bit bare, so here’s my advice: create a blog, post the link and then write a paragraph or two in response to the article. This response shows users and search engines that you engage with current information in your field, allowing users to stay on your website if they’d like, rather than leaving for NY Times or an online medical journal (for example).

Another option is the social media route. Post the link with a short, pithy or even funny sentence on Facebook or Twitter. This allows for immediate response from your followers and fans, allowing them to engage with you, fostering relationships with your clients, customers, patients, etc.

The main idea is this: every time you post a link to any sort of content (be it an article or a meme), make sure to include your own original thoughts with it. That way you show your expertise, offer originality and avoid breaking various rules and laws.

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