Website Content: Don't be a Copy-Cat

Have you ever published something on your website that was taken from another website?  Or have you put something on your website that an industry source allowed you (and everyone else) the option to use the content they created?  

Let me tell you how Google views this information when they index your site.

Google ignores it.  Google ignores the whole page and probably won’t list it in search results.

You may have just added a page of content, and while it may be useful information for your readers, it is worthless to you from a Google standpoint. Google’s job is to provide the best result based on the searcher’s query.  If 10 pages have the same content, then Google does not want to show all 10 pages, because we as the searcher only need to see it once.  So Google will choose either the website who published the content first, or they will choose the website they think is more important in the eyes of searchers.

It is fairly common for franchises, industry organizations and government online resources to permit users to copy text that is printed on their site.  It is a huge time-saver for the business owner because, hey, the hard work is already done!  But you would be far better off taking that content and rewriting it in your voice and directly to your readers.

When is it okay to use shared content?

If you have some really great content that you want your readers to see and don’t want to write something yourself (and you have permission) use it.  But keep in mind that while it is useful info for your customers it will not help you at all with the search engines.  

The Value of Original Content

  • Original content sets you up as an industry leader.  People searching for you will be able to see that you know your industry well, and that you care enough to share your expertise.
  • If a person searches for something you have the answer for in your blog, they are often searching for a provider of the services you offer.  Blogging on a regular basis can offer you more website visitors converting to sales.
  • Original material adds content to your site that Google then uses to decide where that blog should be located in search results - which means more chances of your business being found on the search engines.

You are different from all of your competitors for a reason - - what is it?  Blogging gives you the perfect opportunity to show how you are different.  I'm not saying you should always blog about yourself.  What I mean is that the tone you set in your blog will tell a potential customer whether or not you are educated and if you will talk down to them as a client or be respectful.  It shows the client a little about the culture of your company.  This is a great chance for you to develop a relationship with this person before they ever call you on the phone or walk in to your store.  

Want to see if someone else has used your content on the web?  Check out CopyScape.   It’s free and easy to use.