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Article Marketing and How to Avoid the Duplicate Content Penalty

Posting articles on article directories is one of the latest methods that web site owners and search engine optimisation practitioners employ to get more and better quality traffic. Articles allow you to get multiple quality one-way links with a lost less effort and better results than link exchanges. The trouble is if you submit exactly the same article to multiple sites, Google and some other search engines will ignore a lot of the articles due to a filter often called the duplicate content penalty. Nobody really knows how this filter works, but based on what I’ve seen, work it does. Here’s some tips to overcome this penalty.

Mix up the elements
Your typical article directory article consists of a title, a summary, a body, an author/resource box and article keywords. The theory is if you have multiple versions of each element and combine those elements differently each time you post your article, there is less chance the search engines will see the article as a duplicate and give the article it’s rightful place in the main index. Let’s say you have four different versions of each of the four major elements (assuming the keywords stay the same), that means for a little extra effort you can have 4 x 4 x 4 x 4 = 256 versions of basically the same article reducing the chances of the articles being ignored.

Article Titles
The article title is very important from a reader point of view as well as a duplicate penalty point of view. Many article directories use the title of the article as the basis for creating the url to that articles page. By varying the article title there is less chance of the search engines believing they have already indexed that page.

Article Summary
In forum posts discussing the duplicate content penalty a consistent theme is that the article summary, or snippet as it is often called, is examined very closely by the search engines for existing duplicates. As with the title, it is useful to have numerous and very different versions of the summary.

Article Body
The best tip with the article body is to structure the text into blocks that can be rearranged at will and still make sense. The filter will not be able to identify duplicate content as easily as exact copies. This approach also makes writing the article far easier than trying to create a 500 word block of text. Another tip when dealing with the body copy is to replace words and phrases with meaningful, but different equivalents. For example, in writing this article I can substitute the term SEO practitioner, for search engine marketer, webmaster, web site owner, online marketer or even Google guru. The article still makes sense, but it is textually different to other versions. In other words the article still has the same tone and meaning but has a large proportion of different words.

Article resource box
As most SEO practitioners realise, the resource box is a very important element, if not the most important element, of the article. It is in the resource box that article authors get the opportunity to link to the most appropriate pages in their web site. As with the other elements it can be beneficial to change the text in this section so as to avoid the duplicate content penalty. Just by rearranging the order of links and anchor text can produce excellent results.

In Summary
Article marketing is a popular technique of promoting your web site, getting links and building online credibility. The trouble is if you submit exactly the same article to multiple article directories, you run the risk of Google ignoring your article and those all important links due to the duplicate content penalty. By following the steps above you will reduce the risk and generate more traffic and better rankings for less work. For other articles in this series, visit Search Tempo dot com.

Search Tempo is an Australian SEO company. For article marketing and Google SEO contact the author today.

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