Article Marketing and the Duplicate Content Penalty Myth

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I have long held the belief that most SEO Myths can be tracked back to someone who was benefiting financially from getting people to believe the myth.

Of course, you can read this article and suppose that I am simply calling something a myth, because I want you to believe the opposite point of view. I don’t have a problem with you viewing me as a biased spokesperson, because… well… I am… I am biased to my point of view.

Although I readily admit my own bias, I do encourage you to follow up my story with a bit of your own research. I believe that if you weigh my version of the story against the opposing viewpoint, more readers will agree that the “Duplicate Content Penalty” is a myth that needs to die.

Article Marketers have been told that they should not put the same article on more than one website. They have been told that doing so would generate a “Duplicate Content Penalty” from Google.

I am in good company calling the “Duplicate Content Penalty” a myth:

But let’s not just listen to SEO Professionals. Let’s also consider what Google staff members have said:

Article Marketers Should Understand What Article Syndication Means…

Article Syndication is no different than News Syndication, except one is informational in nature and the other is a News story.

News typically has a lifespan of just a few weeks. If you think about it – it is no longer news that Michael Jackson died this summer. The lifespan of that news story has passed. Now we are talking about the investigation into his death, and those stories are new “news”.

Article Marketing should include information that has an evergreen nature – meaning that it will be as useful five years from now as it is today. Article Marketing can include seasonal information or news information, but the evergreen article will typically produce more results for the time and money invested into its development.

Article Syndication is simply the process of making article content available to other publishers. It is not at all different from News Syndication, except that News Syndication requires fees to be paid to the creator of the content.

The AP (Associated Press) and UPI (United Press International) are News Syndication services. They gather and write the news, and they sell the news stories to newspapers, radio stations, and television stations around the world. Media outlets, including websites, buy stories, photos and video from the AP and UPI news syndication services.

Article Marketers also syndicate their stories, but they syndicate the content for free, in exchange for a link back to the writer’s website.

Do News Sites Get Punished By Google For Duplicate Content?

They do not.

To validate this point of view, I hopped on over to and clicked on one of their news stories. I selected the story titled, “General Motors To Offer A Money-Back Guarantee“. That click carried me to the story on one of their hosted sites here.

If you click that link, you will find a story written by AP Marketing Writer, Emily Fredrix.

Since some editors choose to change the titles of articles they picked up on syndication, I searched for the first sentence of the article in Google. Although the news story was issued about 3 hours ago, there were 8 results in Google for that article – 5 of which turned out to be exact copies of the article – click the links to see for yourself:

If instead you choose to search Google for the Title of the article, Google will show you one copy of the article on Google News in its News Results, and they will provide a link that shows 900 additional search results about the same topic – which does include the same article on other sites.

If you look below the News Listings into their regular search results, you will find 50 results for the article title in Google.

Do Articles Get The Short End Of The Stick, While News Sites Are Excused?

Absolutely not!

I pulled one of my articles as an example. Perhaps it is not an article that shows you the “Best Of Bill Platt”, but it will help me tell my story. The article in question is titled, “Masters Of The Google Universe: How To Achieve Top Google Rankings” and can be read on my site here.

To demonstrate this article, I will be including a description and some straight links to Google. This article was written and syndicated in April of 2009.

Since one can never turn to a single search engine to find out where an article has been published, I pulled the results from Google and Yahoo for the title of this article in quotes. Google will always show a low count of the article’s reprints, and Yahoo will always show a high count of reprints, since Yahoo typically includes more RSS feeds and the Yahoo Groups distribution in its results. I have always held that to get an idea where an article is published, one should look at Google, then Yahoo, and understand the real number is somewhere in the middle.

Google shows 44 results for this article. Yahoo shows 911 results for the article. But, if you try to drill down in the Yahoo results, they will only show 121 of the 911 references.

(Since websites die every month and every year, the results may have been better in April when the article was released, but as sites shut down, links disappear.)

Now the actual numbers shown by the search engines for this article are kind of pointless to this discussion, other than to point out that the article was published in a few places.

What is interesting about this article is when you do searches for keywords in the title, that do not include the full title.

On the first search, I tackled “Masters of the Google Universe” (without the quotes in the search), only because that was a really unique phrase, which actually contributed to the reason I chose that title. 4 of the top 5 listings in Google are my article.

Then I did same search in Yahoo. 6 of the top 6 results are my article.

Then I adjusted the search phrase to “Achieve Top Google Rankings” (again without the quotes in the search). The 5th and 12th listings in Google is my article. In Yahoo, 5 of the top 6 listings – excluding #5 – are my article.

Again, I adjusted the search phrase to “Top Google Rankings”, this time keeping the quotes since it is a really competitive term. On Google, my article was by itself at #12. But in Yahoo, my article held #12, #15 and #18 for that search phrase.

Like I said, this article is probably not the best one to use as an example, but it clearly shows that neither Google or Yahoo completely filter out duplicate copies of an article in their search results.

Syndicated In Any Format Does Not Get Penalized By Google or Yahoo

I started this article talking about how I believe that the “Duplicate Content Penalty” is a myth.

I also offered that I expect you to review my research material used in this article and to make your own decision as to whether this is a myth or I am simply too biased to see the truth of the matter.

What I have presented here is not just an opinion. It is an opinion backed by credible SEO Professionals. It is also a statement that is congruent with the opinions of Google employees.

Finally, I presented a case for Syndicated News Content not receiving a penalty from Google. And I was also presented one article that I wrote and syndicated, through the process of Article Marketing and distributed through my article distribution company at

It Is My Hope That We Have Finally Put the Duplicate Content Penalty Myth To Bed

Now that I have come to the end of this story, ask yourself two questions:

  1. Do you agree with me that the Duplicate Content Penalty is a Myth?
  2. Who benefits most from you believing that the myth is the truth?

If you disagree with me, feel free to slap me around for being a biased fool.

If on the other hand you do agree with me, figure out who the con-men are in this story and slap them down. As far as I am concerned, that slap-down is long overdue.

Bill Platt – owner of Article Distribution Service

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Related posts:

  1. Article Marketing Is More Than Just Search Engine Marketing
  2. Article Marketing for Links
  3. Did Google Finally Kill Article Marketing Forever?
  4. Understanding How To Be Successful With Article Marketing
  5. Early Indications Are That Google Farmer Update Loves Quality Syndicated Content

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