Duplicating, Re-Publishing & Re-Purposing Content: What are the Issues? [Part I]

There are plenty of arguments that digital marketers and SEOs have made in the past against re-publishing or cross-posting the same content on multiple publishing channels.

Namely, it’s so that you aren’t penalized in the search engines for duplicate content. (For many of us, the fear is that Google will slam us for something like spam guest blogging.)

So…what’s the difference between duplicating, re-publishing, and repurposing your content? And what should you be doing?

Duplicating Your Content

What is duplicate content?

Duplicate content is the exact same content published on multiple places online. It could be on your own website (with copies of pages) or it could be on multiple different website (e.g. press releases).

Do you get penalized for duplicate content?

I’ve been weary of duplicate content for years…which is exactly why I’ve never recommended clients proactively cross-post content on multiple publishing platforms outside of their own. In the past, Google has gone so far as to suggest penalties for those websites publishing duplicate content.

Luckily, this is not true. Google will not penalize you for publishing duplicate content. In other words, you can quote another blogpost, publish updates to old content, or publish on multiple platforms without penalty.

In fact, as Matt Cutts describes in this video, there is as much as 25-30% of online content that is duplicate content. If Google treated it all as spam, then many of us wouldn’t be in good standing.

Instead, what Google will do is choose the original version (if possible) of that content to show in the search results. (That’s where we get into re-publishing content.)

One caveat to duplicate content penalties: if a website is quite literally trying to play the system (e.g. creating a page with the same content for each state in the United States to attempt to rank for each one specifically), this could be seen as spam and you could receive a penalty for it.

So duplicate content isn’t necessarily all we feared it to be. By working towards creating value for your web visitors over strategically spamming them (AKA black hat SEO), you’ll never need to worry about duplicate content issues.

Next time, we’ll dive into re-publishing and re-purposing your content: the differences and what it means for your digital content creation methods.

Ready to start showing up higher in Google results?