Last week I published a blog post about common plagiarism mistakes various professionals make. If you didn’t read it, here’s the link to What You NEED to Know About Plagiarized Copy. In that blog post, I told you not to use duplicate website copy on your site. But how about websites that make a point of curating copy from other blogs within their industry? TheBrokerList, for the commercial real estate industry, is a great example of someone who uses lots of duplicate website copy for curating purposes. They regularly include identical blog posts in their own blog. As a matter of fact, you may even end up reading this blog post on TheBrokerList blog. How do they do it? How do they produce duplicate copy and still rank well on Google? Perhaps more importantly, why and how can you curate good blog content?
First, Why Would You Want to Use Copy from Someone Else?
Curating copy is a great way to boost the value of your website. Maybe it’s okay for you to publish content once a month, every other week or even on a weekly basis. But, what if you want to publish content every single day? When you have regular content, you provide value to your community. I guarantee you, MANY people have come across theBrokerList because of their blog. I know that’s how I found them. They put out at least one blog post a day, and because of that blog, people discover them. If you want more traffic to your website, publish more content. That gives more reason for people to visit your website. If you want to publish five blog posts a day, but only have enough time to write three posts a week, then curate the other two. By curating, you are able to boost your blog posting frequency, while at the same time, you don’t have to do as much of the work. Also, you may make friends with the authors of the blog posts you’re sharing. That’s the value of duplicating website copy from someone else and sharing it on your own website. Make sure you ask permission from the original author, before you share their blog posts. That’s the respectful thing to do, and it’s also a good way to make friends with them.
Second, How to Avoid Getting Penalized by Google for Using Duplicate Website Copy?
Now you know why people like to duplicate other blog posts, but now you need to know how to do it without getting in trouble with Google. What you need to do is use the “canonical tag.” This is a little snippet of HTML code that means “I don’t deserve any SEO credit for this duplicate website copy. Everything you are reading here should be credited to www.[original website].com.” Adding that little bit of HTML code will instantly tell the search engines that your duplicate copy shouldn’t be considered plagiarism. It’s a way of citing the original source in a way that Google understands. As long as you add the canonical tag, you can get away with publishing as much duplicate copy as you want, without getting in trouble by Google.
How to Add Canonical Tags?
I have a few different answers. It depends on your situation. With that in mind, here are the best answers I can give you:
- If you have full access to the HTML files on your blog posts, then you will simply add the following code to the post you are sharing.
<link rel=“canonical” href=“http://original source/” />
- If you have a WordPress website, find a plugin that will let you add a canonical tag to your blog posts. Then, use that plugin to tell Google the link of the original blog post you are citing. Yoast SEO is a super popular plugin. If you have that on your website, click the advanced option when editing your blog post. After doing that, you’ll see a spot to include a canonical link.
- If you don’t have access to the backend of your website, tell the person managing your website what pages are duplicate website copy because you shared the blog post. Ask that person to include the canonical tag and give them the link for the original source.
Another Option for Sharing Duplicate Content
Take a screenshot! You can always save any copy on the internet as an image. If you do that, you can then upload that image into your blog post or web page, and then you can have the copy, without really having any actual copy for Google to read. All Google sees is an image. This isn’t always the best option, but if it’s just a small portion of copy, it can be easier than giving ALL of the SEO credit for your page or post to another website. But still, you will want to give credit to the original source. You would probably want to add a caption that says “Copy excerpted from [Example]” and give a link to the original source. You could also give the credit in the body of your blog post or webpage.
I may be hounding on this too much, but it’s worth repeating, over and over again. Do NOT have any duplicate website copy on your site. If you do, Google will think poorly of you. That’s not something you want. If you decide to use duplicate copy, that’s fine, as long as you are using the canonical tag. Just make sure you actually use that canonical tag. If for some reason you can’t use the canonical tag, then don’t use the duplicate copy. Write your own copy and play it safe. I highly recommend reading my blog post about plagiarized copy, if you haven’t already.