Google’s head of webspam, Matt Cutts, released a video
recently about websites reposting content from other sites. Essentially, he explains why it isn’t beneficial to aggregate content that originates elsewhere, despite it being a common practice. Instead, it is better to focus on creating original, relevant content.
Not only is his feedback important for search marketers, but also key for public relations professionals that manage site content. Sites with blogs, RSS, or keyword aggregators or press rooms—that might, for example, repost press releases to their sites—with the goal of yielding a high amount of traffic to those sections may be doing more damage than good to their search rank.
Before we get to Cutts’ feedback, let’s take a quick step back and discuss what we know about how Google assigns value to content.
Google’s algorithm ultimately aims to rank results in the order it believes will be most meaningful to a user. Specifically, the following questions are asked in determining if content is worthy of a high search ranking.
• Is this content unique or authentic? Google rewards the original webpage that houses a particular piece of content or article.
• Do users like this content? This helps determine popularity of the site or source.
• Is it coming from a trusted source? This is measured primarily in the way of links pointing to it, +1s, as well as the age, and history of the website’s domain.
Long ago, in an effort to combat spam, Google created penalties for sites that submit redundant content or content that’s already in Google’s databases. Google is more stringent than ever around evaluating the value of a piece of content and whether it’s a duplicate.
Ultimately, Cutts recommends against reposting content because it won’t rank well in search or get solid traffic to your site or blog. Instead, he recommends the following:
Post original content
There’s a reason many news sites like The New York Times
rank well in search in particular around major news events. They create their own content and have a strong following attributed to their unique perspective. Being the trusted source increases authenticity value in Google’s eyes, and in turn, results in higher search engine rankings.
Instead of reposting their content, link to other sites and give your own perspective
Instead of building a site or blog built entirely on pulling in RSS feeds or articles relating to a keyword, choose instead to offer a comment, post, or some other unique piece of perspective and then link to the original article. It’s a better way to become a trusted source for finding relevant information and avoid becoming just another distribution system for content owned by others.
The goal is to be helpful, providing context while giving your audience a reason to explore something that originates elsewhere.
Use your email and social networks to promote your point of view
This is kind of a no-brainer, but is often overlooked. We also mention doing this in our SEO for PR article a few months back
. Cutts didn’t mention this during the video, but I believe it should be prescribed. Remind your network of new content or points of view you publish. Whether it’s in an email, social media status update, press release, or from your blog, this strategy will help the health of your site.
Google wants to deliver unique, authoritative, and trustworthy content to users. Reposting content may have other merits, but generating search traffic is unlikely to be one of them. Keep this in mind if your goal is to increase views or shares of your content and keep visitors coming to your site.
Nick Papagiannis is director of interactive/search for independent marketing and communications firm Cramer-Krasselt.