You get an email from a PR firm, brand, or affiliate complimenting you on your blog and requesting you publish an article written by their team on your blog. You think, “Wow! This brand, affiliate company and/or PR firm likes my blog!” It might be prudent, however, to ask why they chose your blog and if will it hurt your blog in the long run, before replying with an affirmative and agreeing to post it. Because 99.9% of the time, unless it is an original article specially written for your blog, it will hurt your long term organic rankings.
Professional and seasoned bloggers know that if there is one thing that will hurt a blog, it’s duplicate content.
Publishing duplicate content, or articles posted on more than one site, could have been lucrative for bloggers five or ten years ago. But a few years ago in February 2011, Google put their very large foot down and released the spam-fighting Panda algorithm. One major feature of Panda is dinging websites with duplicate content.
Despite being well aware of duplicate content being a big no-go, PR firms, brands and affiliate companies are happy to continue sending out hundreds of copies of articles asking bloggers to copy, paste, and publish them word for word. Smart bloggers delete the emails or, if it’s interesting, take the content and rewrite the articles in their own words.
Those bloggers who do fall for this trap are shooting themselves in the foot and should brush up on the dos and don’ts of Google so as to rank well.
Here’s a summary from Panda’s wikipedia page describing the algorithm:
“Google says it only takes a few poor quality, or duplicate content, pages to hold down traffic on an otherwise solid site. Google recommends either removing those pages, blocking them from being indexed by Google, or re-writing them. However, Matt Cutts, head of webspam at Google, warns that re-writing duplicate content so that it is original may not be enough to recover from Panda—the re-writes must be of sufficient high quality.”
Unfortunately the PR firm or affiliate asking bloggers to publish duplicate content aren’t doing their clients any favors. This is because they articles will be posted on low-ranking sites struggling to climb upwards due to duplicate content penalties. The clients of these companies should reconsider who they’re working with and what strategies are being used.
For the bloggers unaware of these ideas: if you are serious about having a successful blog, write your own content. If you still are considering publishing stuff sent from PR firms, brands or affiliates, think about the advice of experienced bloggers. Ask the sender if the article has been published elsewhere. Even if they say no, check and use a service CopyScape.com to see if it was published elsewhere, or do a simple google search and make sure the article hasn’t been published before. If it pops up, scan the content and decide if it’s worth writing something original, then move the article and the email to the trash.
For now happy blogging!