The duplicate content myth busted!

Dino Dogan is Mythbusting the Blogosphere

If you search Huffington Post for the phrase “This article originally appeared in”, you get over 11 thousand results. That’s 11 thousand pieces of duplicate content.

Of course, this is one of million examples I could have listed. Every big site, from Forbes, to Mashable, to RWW, to you name it…says they’re doing us a favor when they syndicate our content.

Clearly, these big sites are not getting punished by Google for duplicating content, so there has to be something deeper going on.

What We’ll Cover

There are 3 things I want to cover in this post.

  1. What “duplicate content” rule is designed to do
  2. How it works when big blogs duplicate your content
  3. How Google handles Triberr Reblog

But first…

In case you just fell off a turnip truck, duplicate content is when someone takes your writing and posts it on their site.

This is often done maliciously, because we’ve all been force-fed the golden rule. Content is King.

Here’s the thing about that…

  1. Content is King because without it Google has nothing to index.
  2. If there is nothing to index, there is nothing to show in search results.
  3. If there is nothing to show in search results, Google is not making any money. But also, no one is coming to your site, and consequently, you’re not making any money.

Or so the conventional wisdom goes…

Notice however, that “Content is King” has nothing to do with the quality of content.

Google has incentivised the quantity of content, NOT quality. This is because Google makes money with our content. For a very elegant explanation of how that particular hat-trick works,watch Dan Cristo in this video.

So, nefarious types figure they need content, and stealing it is an easy way to obtain it.

Note: Even tho I keep saying “google”, same rules apply for all search engines.

The Rule

Google has created the Duplicate content rule to thwart nefarious types who are stealing our writing.

The fact that some bad people may re-publish my content is not really a bad thing. It’s just more of my work being displayed in other places.

We all want as many people as possible to see our work, right?

So, it’s important to understand that republishing in and of itself is not a bad thing. It’s the attribution that creates the problem. Specifically, when no attribution is given to the original author. THAT is bad.

So Google, in its infinite wisdom, has created a rule.

Duped Content Rule

Whenever Google crawls any content, the content gets a timestamp. All things being equal, content with an older timestamp wins.

So, it shakes down like this….

  1. You publish a piece of content
  2. Google indexes it, and assigns it a timestamp.
  3. Content thief copies your content
  4. Google indexes stolen content
  5. Google runs side-by-side comparison, and finds 2 pages with same content
  6. Page with an older timestamp wins search placement

So, if Google does its job right, you win the search placement.

Note: Content thieves try to sidestep side-by-side comparison by using applications called  “article spinners”, which substitute certain words with synonyms hoping to make stolen content different enough.

Bottom line, Google has pretty weel solved the duplicate content issue. Unless we’re talking about your content being republished on big sites.

Republishing with Permission

Sometimes, however, duplicate content is taken from your blog and re-published (syndicated) with your permission. This usually means that the authorship is carried over as well.

On an interesting psychological side note, we’re not so protective of our audio and video content since the author can be seen and heard. In fact, we WANT people to embed our podcasts and videos.

Also, the newest form of content, Infographics, is designed to be republished. Something to keep in mind, since we’re discussing the evolution of content distribution. Anyways…

Many popular blogs “steal”, and have in fact built their empires on republished content.

For example. If you search Huffington Post for the phrase “This article originally appeared in”, you get over 11 thousand results. That’s 11 thousand pieces of duplicate content.

Of course, this is one of million examples I could have listed. Every big site, from Forbes, to Mashable, to RWW, to you name it…sais they’re doing us a favor when they syndicate our content.

Clearly, these big sites are not getting punished by Google for duplicating content, so there has to be something deeper going on.

Let’s crack open the hood, and see what’s underneath.

Problem Right Now

The problem is, even when your content is republished (with attribution) on a site like Huffington Post, it’s NOT you who gets better placement in search results.

This is because giant sites like HuffPost have a greater authority (in Google’s eyes) than your tiny little blog.

Think about that for a second.

  1. You write an awesome post.
  2. It gets syndicated to a big blog
  3. Google gives preferential treatment to the big blog
  4. You lose traffic that was meant for you

That sucks in my book.

Now, many writers see this as a trade off. The logic goes that if you’re syndicated to a big site, you’ll get more exposure. But, here’s the thing.

You will NOT get more exposure. Your content might. But not you.

This is because big blogs (like HuffPost, to stay with the example) have an overpowering brand identity.

Readers don’t go to HuffPost because of 1 specific author. They go there because it’s HuffPost.

Ask yourself, out of all the articles you’ve ever read on big blogs, how many authors can you actually name?

Syndication Done Right

Triberr decided to fix these pesky little problems once and for all.

Triberr plugin enables you to syndicate|reblog|republish (article spinner? ;-) ) posts you find in your tribal stream.

I’ve written an extensive how-to guide on the reblog process here, so I won’t be repeating those details in this post.

So, what happens when your tribemate reblogs your post?

Let’s use you and I as an example:

  1. You publish a post
  2. Google crawls it and timestamps it
  3. I reblog it with a single click
  4. Google crawls the same post on my blog and timestamps it
  5. Since both our blogs are of similar authority, YOUR post gets higher ranking in Google
  6. You get the traffic you deserve

Authorship is carried with the post, no matter how many times it’s reblogged. The Author box is tied to the content. Neither author, nor “re-blogger” need to worry about this. Triberr takes care of it.

But, here’s the real kicker. Here is something you and I have that HuffPost does NOT have. ZERO loss of engagement.

ZERO Loss of Engagement

When your post gets syndicated to HuffPost, the comment systems are completely disjointed.

Comments on your blog are not visible on HuffPost, and vice versa.

With Triberr plugin, comments are “mirrored” across every instance of the post.

This means that if I reblog a post that already has 20 comments, those comments will be visible on my blog as well.

Also, this means that any comments left on my blog, will be visible on the original blog as well.

MAGIC! :-)

Here, try it for yourself.

Three blogs, one post. Check it out. Note the comment section. It is identical. :-)


What did I tell you? ZERO loss of engagement. BAM!

Editor in Chief

Big blogs have another advantage. They have a full time staff.

It takes time to coordinate guest posts. Edit them. Create author bios. And bunch of other tedious nonsense.

Reblog takes care of it all.

Oprah Approved

When Reblog feature was still in the skunkworks phase, we called it Project Oprah, because it was truly inspired by her.

You see, Oprah tapes her show in Chicago. But then, that show gets syndicated across 100s of TV stations across the world.

Does Oprah care her content is not shown on “her” TV station? Nope. She only cares that you see her content, and that you know that it’s her who created that content.

There, It’s Done

People have been asking me for months to write a post specifically addressing the duplicate content issue.

I hope this covers it. And I hope you Reblog this post. :-)


The original article, “The Duplicate Content Myth. Busted!” by Dino Dogan appeared on the DIYBlogger site.

Original article


Dino Dogan
Chief Gardener in Charge at Triberr
  • Frank Woodman Jr

    Thanks for the single most informative post on duplicate content I’ve seen. This issue is so misreported and poorly covered as to leave most of us totally at a loss to understand just what is going on with duplicate content. You article has cleared up much of the confusion for me and I’m much more able to understand just how it all works. And double thanks for discussing the Triberr plugin. I can see now a major reason for using Triberr that I really didn’t understand… comments and authorship staying with our posts when we use Triberr. Looks like I’ll be joining Triberr sooner rather than later.

    • Dino Dogan

      Thnx for your comment, Frank. Happy I could shed some light :-)

  • Nat Bovair

    This was an eye-opener for me, Dino. I especially love that the Triberr plug-in mirrors all comments back to the original blogger. Is the plug-in being widely used at this point?

    • Dino Dogan

      Thnx Nat,

      This particular posts didnt use Triberr ReBlog, so the comments are not mirrored. However,if you check out those links in the ZERO Loss of Engagement section above, you can totally see mirrored comments in action :-)

      • jimdougherty

        Thanks Dino for pointing out my failings! Sorry for that Nat!

  • Serena Star Leonard

    Umm I have been away and totally missed the reblog plugin! Where can I find out more? Thanks for this awesome post!

  • Patricia Ross

    I have always been leery of syndication with the big blogs for that reason. Great article!

  • Jacob Curtis

    Hey Dino!

    Will syndicating my blog (dedicated to sm tutorials) on a site like business2community do more harm (in regards to traffic and search ranking) than good?

    make sure that my original post is indexed ASAP prior to the
    business2community site picking it up from my RSS, however will my posts
    on B2C outrank my originals on my own site because B2C has higher

    Though syndicating allows my work to reach a brand new
    audience which may bring traffic back to my site, am I shooting myself
    in the foot here?

    Thoughts? Or let me know if I need to clarify!

  • Sander van der Heide

    But what if I am running a webite like the Huffington Post. Do I need to ask all the bloggers I work with to join Triberr and have their site set-up for it, or can I make life easy for them and just have some arrangements on my site?

    • jimdougherty

      Hi Sander, I’m not sure if Dino will respond but the premise of Triberr is that there is reciprocal sharing within the network. For HuffPo to integrate into Triberr, they would have to convince a bunch of people to opt-in to sharing their content. To you point, there are people who write for HuffPo and Forbes who participate on Triberr, but they reciprocally share other people’s posts through their social sites. It’s a pretty neat animal. Cheers!

  • Bill Dorman

    Triberr, huh? I think I’ve heard of that…….

    Hey Dino, somebody in my office shared this post with me and of course I had to break out ‘I know that dude’ AND include our picture together.

    Small social world…….hola.