I wanted to bust a myth for you guys today. And yes, I kind of have a dog in this fight, so to speak, because I’ve heard people rail against my business and others like it saying it’s of no use…so let me explain.
There’s this idea that’s been going around for several years now, that duplicate content will hurt your SEO. What I mean by this is some people argue that if you use done-for-you content – so like a pre-written blog post that’s used by a couple hundred massage therapists – that it’s going to alert Google that that specific wording and information is already on all these other sites and therefore your website won’t show up as high on Google’s search results.
But this is actually really inaccurate. Using duplicate content, or done-for-you content, is NOT going to hurt your ranking on search engine results. Your site will not be punished by Google or any other search engine for containing some blog posts or photos or anything else that appears on several other websites as well.
And yes, a big part of what we do here at My Massage World is done-for-you content, and we do fully customized content now that we launched our Elite Membership just the other day. YAY! But I’ve heard this argument before about what a bad idea it is, and I got worried. So I started researching. And I’ve yet to see anything that confirms the theory that Google is punishing those with duplicate content; in fact I’ve found nothing but contrary information; that your search engine optimization is perfectly safe, even if you’re using duplicate content on a regular basis.
Number one, you’re a local business, so people are looking for a business within a certain area, right? So it’s local results popping up in their Google search. How many of those other local massage therapists are using the same content as you? Probably not many, if anyone else is at all. I mean, we have members all over the world; the US, Canada, the UK, Australia, and even though our membership numbers are growing, it’s not like there’s a huge concentration of members in any one area. Basically, there’s plenty to go around, ok?
Number two, have you ever noticed that many of the news articles you read are published verbatim on numerous sites…I mean over and over and over again, you’ll see almost identical wording for an article across several websites. And yet they all pop up on search results and aren’t “punished” by Google in any way.
There was one case where duplicate content caused Google to smack the crap out of a company, and this is where it seems much of the scary info about duplicate content came to be. It was an extreme case, and honestly, is nothing like what you’re doing if you’re using pre-written blog posts or graphics or something. This was a PR firm who thought it was a good idea to take a brand new website’s home page and copy it word for word into a press release and then put it out into wire services, essentially creating HUNDREDS of exact copies of their home page in a matter of hours. THAT is what triggered Google to punish the website and flag it as spam; because it was basically spam. You’re not doing that sort of thing when you copy and paste in some done-for-you content that you’re paying for.
So don’t let someone scare you by saying that duplicate content, or done-for-you content, is going to hurt your website. It’s not.
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