Have you ever been really impressed with an article or a blog post you’ve read online? Did you link to the article? Or did you copy and paste the content into your own blog, blockquote it, then add your own commentary?
Syndicated content can be a nightmare for SEO, for several reasons. First, there are so many different ways to give author attribution. Some may pass link juice to the author, some may not. Many times, it’s the home page of the author’s blog or company site that receives the juice, rather than the source article. Secondly, multiple copies of the same article can result in duplicate content which, in turn, may confuse the spiders and disperse the ability for an author’s article to rank well. In my interview with Matt Cutts, I asked the famed Google engineer and head of the Webspam team at Google whether it is better to have the syndicated copies linked to the original article on the author’s site, or is it just as good if it links to the home page of the author? Matt answers…
I would recommend the linking to the original article on the authorâ€™s site. The reason is: imagine if you have written a good article and it is so nice that you have decided to syndicate it out. Well, there is a slight chance that the syndicated article could get a few links as well, and could get some PageRank. And so, whenever Google bot or Googleâ€™s crawl and indexing system see two copies of that article, a lot of the times it helps to know which one came first; which one has higher PageRank.
So if the syndicated article has a link to the original source of that article, then it is pretty much guaranteed the original home of that article will always have the higher PageRank, compared to all the syndicated copies. And that just makes it that much easier for us to do duplicate content detection and say: “You know what, this is the original article; this is the good one, so go with that.”
Sounds like common sense, doesn’t it? Well, in this case, it’s a little more than that. By intentionally linking to the author’s source article (rather than the generic home page), you are telling the bots that that is the “true” original author of the article. So, like Matt Cutts suggested, if other articles pop up elsewhere, the bots can easily determine what the “authoritative” source is, passing the authority on to the author and helping them get the credit they deserve.
For more great tips from my interview, you can listen to the audio podcast with Matt Cutts. The interview is a little over thirty minutes long.
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