Category Archives: Freelance Writing

Can Duplicate Content Hurt Your Blog’s Rankings?

Photoxpress_10205037This is a question many bloggers ask. Search engines typically reward websites that publish unique, fresh content with higher rankings, so conventional wisdom should lead you to believe that duplicate content will have the opposite effect. If you rely on organic search engine traffic, you should read the following post about duplicate content.

How Duplicate Content Occurs on Blogs

Even if you don’t manually create two or more pages with the same content, it may still show up in several locations. WordPress, for instance, is the world’s leading content management system (CMS), powering millions of blogs and websites. While its arguably the best all-around blogging CMS, it comes with a dark side: the potential for duplicate content. By default, WordPress publishes content to the actual page or post URL, archives page, author page and tag page. So while you may assume your content is being published in a single location, it’s actually showing up in four locations.

Of course, there’s an easy solution to dealing with duplicate content on WordPress blogs: use an SEO plugin. Yoast SEO plugin allows WordPress users to specify which locations (e.g. archives, tag, author, etc.) they want to noindex. The content will still be published to these locations, but neither Google nor any other search engine will be able to index it.

Video: Matt Cutts Takes on Duplicate Content

Watch the video above for a closer look at duplicate content. Matt Cutts, head of Google’s anti-spam team, published this Q&A video back in December 2013. While it’s over a year old now, it offers some invaluable insight into duplicate content.

As Cutts points out in the video, nearly a third (25-30%) of the Internet is comprised of duplicate content. With such a massive chunk of the WWW featuring the same content, it’s virtually impossible for Google to penalize each and every site on which it is published. But there’s a fine line you must not cross when publishing duplicate content. According to Cutts, things like excerpts, terms and conditions, privacy policies, and other boilerplate content shouldn’t trigger any filters within Google’s ranking algorithm — meaning it won’t bring down your website’s search ranking. However, building the bulk of your blog’s content around content that’s published elsewhere may result in lower search rankings, or in severe cases, your blog being deindexed.

How To Manage Duplicate Content on Your Blog:

  • If your blog runs WordPress, download and install an SEO plugin such as Yoast’s SEO plugin.
  • Consolidate posts and pages with similar content together.
  • Adding the rel=canonical tag will guide search engines to the original source of duplicate content.
  • Create backlinks to your blog using a single domain format (e.g yoursite.com or www.yoursite.com).

How do you manage duplicate content on your blog? Let us know in the comments section below!

Creating a Connection With Your Readers

Having been a blog writer for several years, I have come to understand a thing or two about blogs, writers and his or her readers.  While a background and understanding of proper grammar, spelling, and punctuation create an atmosphere that draws readers in, writing a blog is more than just a splash of words on a page in order to drive traffic to your site. Rather, I’ve learned that a blog can become a connection. It can be a hub that brings thousands of people together to discuss something that is ultimately emotional and meaningful to each and every reader present. If your readers can relate to a post on an emotional level, you can bet your bottom dollar that they’ll be more than willing to bookmark your page and come back another day, thus increasing your traffic and boosting your SEO.

How can you make this connection with your readers? It’s not simple, and countless blogs throughout the Internet can attest to that. However, I have thought of several tips and pointers that have helped me connect with my readers. Check these tips out below and figure out which ones can best be implemented on your site!

1 – Keep Things Relevant

First and foremost, make sure that you’re writing about something relevant. Too many times have I been surfing a site and stumbled across something that felt out of place and forced in. While it’s necessary for a company looking to expand to push the limits on topics and content, it can certainly be tamed. For example, if a reader hops on to a video game website, he or she likely wants to read about video games, not wildlife. While this is a far-fetched situation, it does happen, and it turns people off.

2 – Provide Examples

A good way to keep readers entertained and engaged is by providing examples. Short stories (notice I say short – too long of stories will bore) help your reader understand what they’re learning and help them feel involved.  With that being said, make sure that each story you share is relatable. People read because they want to learn, and hearing stories of others success, fame and fortune is hardly the motivation they’re looking for.

3 – Ask a Question 

Whether it’s at the beginning of your post or at the very end, just ask a simple question for your readers to ponder as you pour out your thoughts. As readers browse your blog, they’ll keep this question at the back of their minds, allowing you entry to their train of thought and promote your business, website, or anything in-between. If your topic could be argued, invite your readers to share their thoughts or answers in the comments section, providing a reason for them to engage with you. Others will see this and follow along.

4 – Find Your Mood

Each blog, each article, and each post is tailored to a certain audience. Find that audience, and adjust your writing in order to best serve them. Keep your writing consistent, as well. There’s nothing more uncomfortable than finding a failed attempt at a joke within a serious article detailing the seriousness of breast cancer, for example. It just doesn’t fit, and it can quickly turn your readers off. Finding the right mood, however, and adjusting according to your audience and topic will provide a following that will last for years to come.

5 – Offer Something No One Else Can

Anyone can create a blog about cats. In fact, almost everyone has, and that’s why it’s simply not popular! You need to write about something that makes readers say, “I need to come to this site to get this type of information.” With that, they’ll keep coming back for more! You don’t necessarily need to be writing about something no one else has thought of, but you need to make it feel like you are the one and only expert on the subject.

With these tips, you can easily engage your readers and provide an experience that will keep them coming back for more. Re-read them all and pick out the ones you’ve done well, along with those you could improve on. Can you think of some other pointers that you’ve found to be useful? Let me know in the comments section (refer to tip #3)!