A couple days ago Google rolled out a new algorithm update aimed at filtering out “spam” and duplicate content, and favoring original content. This comes in the wake of much criticism that Google was allowing spammy blogs and other sites who scrape content from other sources to rank, in many instances, higher for said content than the original sources.
Who will this change affect? Well, most directly, those sites that have been scraping content from others – sites without unique, original content should expect to see their rankings plummet, based on this new algorithm which will favor the original source of the content and “weed out” the duplicate. This will also obviously have positive affect on any reputable site that had once fallen victim to content theft, as they’ll now no longer have to fight for their rightful place on the SERP (search engine results page) amongst shifty competition.
To a certain extent, this is also just a good PR move for Google, who has been taking heat as of late for the vast number of spammy sites it’s been allowing in its top results – from searchers and site owners alike. I had one client who experienced this sort of “content jacking” first hand; to say that he was frustrated that another fly-by-night blog was getting credit for his hard work would be a serious understatement. Many authors like him will be glad to know that content theft is now not just a nuisance, but a sure recipe for landing on Google’s black list.
This also underscores the need to make sure your site is not committing any of the “duplicte content sins.” Now would be a good time to fix broken links, get rid of duplicate content across multiple platforms, and make sure your domain uses solid 301 redirects to ensure you continue to get full credit for all your on and off-site SEO efforts. (Shameless plug: you can contact Webhead if you want us to do a free audit of your site…just saying…)
While this tweak is welcome news to most, it really shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to anyone who practices above-the-board SEO and has been even mildly paying attention to the super power search engine over the years. Ultimately, this algorithm change is just another step Google is taking to combat “cheaters” in the vastly evolving and over-saturated online landscape. As long as Google has been the dominant search engine, there have always been those who try to circumvent the hard work and investment that it can take to get natural, long term top rankings. Remember keyword stuffing? Or link farms? There’s not a reputable SEO on the planet today that would recommend either of those strategies, but they were at one point widely used “tricks” to getting top rankings.
What’s the big lesson here: in good SEO, there really is no way around good, original content, and hard work over time. Always be wary of any company or individual who promises top organic rankings in an unrealistic time frame or for a too-low-to-be-true price point. If you put in the time and effort it takes to work your way up the ranks in a natural and above-the-board way, ultimately, Google will reward you.