Saturday, May 16, 2009

Rewrite, At Least Revise

Content - Reuse or Rewrite?
By Alan Eggleston, writer, editor, SEO

Someone asked on Twitter about the advisability of taking posts from one blog and posting them on a new blog. Was it cheating? Was it bad for SEO?

My quick answer (140-character limit) was that you should rewrite some of it as a service to your reader, and search engines might penalize you for simply reusing the same content.

Here is my longer answer:
First, authors reuse and repurpose their content all the time. It doesn’t hurt as long as the readership is different and the information is valuable. However, you won’t gain many readers and you will gain a bad reputation if the readers you do have see that you’re simply repeating used material.

Second, search engines penalize for creating duplicate content to make it look like new. However, they realize there are times when duplicate content makes sense. The easy way to reuse existing information is to reorganize it or write down the most salient points and then rewrite the piece around those points. That all said, one or two pages of reused content isn’t going to kill you – it’s the more-you-do-it-the-more-it’s-going-to-cost-you effect you have to worry about.

Third, don’t forget the value of inbound links to your SEO effort. If you have a lot of duplicate content, other sites may not see a value to linking to your new site, whereas if you have new content they may link to both the old and the new. Simply repeating content, you may be shorting yourself an opportunity simply to save some effort or time.

The question of whether it is cheating depends on your audience and whether they were expecting something new and different. How did you set their expectations?

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