Free content articles are provided to publishers with the only price being asked that the article include a bio or comment about the author and a link back to the authorís website. Both publisher and author generally consider this to be a fair trade. The writer gets published, and the publisher can boost their site content without handing over a small fortune for the privilege of publication.
All is well and good with this relationship except for one thing, and that has to do with the publisherís desire to add content to the search engine to develop incoming traffic. Search engines will index everything on the website, but reprinted articles may not carry the same weight as if they were an original publication.
Search Engines and Duplicate Filters
Most search engines include what are referred to as ďduplicate content filtersĒ. The purpose of a duplicate content filter is to prevent 1000ís of the same article from showing up for the same search. While most freebie articles arenít a huge problem, other articles such as those provided through syndication sources like UPI and AP can be replicated 10ís of thousands of times in a given day.
Free articles manage to get caught up in this mix and often do not help to bring in traffic. Google will often index this as duplicate content, and the page will not show up well in search results. However, changing the authorís article is simply not an option. By agreement, you are required to keep it as written.
Getting Around Search Engine Duplicate Filters
There are three ways around this depending upon which direction you want to go and how your site is laid out. Each of these will either directly or indirectly get your articles indexed and help build your traffic:
The Summary Page method Ė I happened to recently stumble along this method quite accidentally, and in fact it happens to be the easiest way there is to avoid the duplicate content penalty. Some may also consider this to be the most ethical approach.
While leaving the actual article alone and accepting the duplicate filterís results, you can create a preceding contents page for a group of articles that will not trip the duplicate filters. So if you had five articles on developing a business plan, a contents page about business plans would list and link to each article and provide a keyword heavy sentence or two about each of the articles. It adds one more click to the readerís task, but the ability to scan for the exact nature of each article can more than make up for the minor inconvenience.
The content splitter method Ė This only works with long articles, but it really does work well. Letís assume that you have a free article that is 4500 characters in length. In anyoneís book this is a good size article and one that well qualifies for the content splitter method.
There is no such thing as ďan average page of contentĒ, but a reasonable one is about 1000 characters long. For the purposes of comparison, this page is 4694, characters, counting spaces. With that in mind, take the 1500 characters and split it up into 2-3 pages and link the three together with an into sentence in italics indicating that the content has been split. When this is done, search engines only see part of the text and it does not accurately compare with an indexed full version of the original. Sometimes the first page might catch the duplicate filter, but it is rare that any of the subsequent pages will.
The editorís note method Ė While keeping the article the same, if a publisher adds about two paragraphs of his own comment ahead of the article in a different font and titled ďEditorís NoteĒ, this is often enough to turn the article into an original where search engines are concerned. You can add comment about what the reader will find in the article and summarize it. A minimum of two paragraphs seems to be required.
The warning here is that you should not publish the article until you have provided the editorís note. Otherwise, the article may initially trigger the duplicate filter and it will never go away.
The editorís note method also gives you the opportunity to add paragraphs that are particularly heavy with keywords and thus increase your chances of being found. For those that are willing to write a bit, this is an ideal method for increasing your traffic.
Each of these methods have been fully tested and found to be very effective in getting new articles indexed in a way that brings readers in.
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