SEO, Content Duplication and Ministry Blogging

I was conversing with a friend in the ministry space the other day and we were discussing online strategies for the release of an organization-wide blog. The launch was coming up soon so I was asking him how the content generation was coming. He responded that he wasn’t worried about it because he already had so much content on his own blog that there wouldn’t be a need to write new material for a while.

Translation: I’m going to copy my existing content to the new blog.

We started discussing how this would be less than optimal because duplicate content will negatively affect either one or both parties if it is live in both locations.

Bottom line: Copying someone’s blog post and putting it on your own, even if you give attribution, can have a negative impact on SEO for both parties.

An excellent article that supports this is on SEO by the Sea. It also goes much deeper if you so desire!

The danger is not attribution but originality. For example, if you search for “ministry marketing” and the top hits are the exact same articles but on different blogs, that wouldn’t reflect well on the search engine nor would it be of value to you. As a result, the search engine will either show one of the posts and ignore the other or both posts might lose potential organic rankings.

Since SEO is ever-changing, there is always some trial and error involved. However, in the area of content duplication, err on the side of safety and keep your content completely original.

Happy blogging!

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7 thoughts on “SEO, Content Duplication and Ministry Blogging

  1. Never really thought about the negative consequences of duplicate content on multiple sites. Thanks for the info!

    Is the same true about having the same bio about yourself on multiple sites or business description? or is that better for continuity?

    • Cody, sure thing. It's a good question. In my opinion, duplicate content is duplicate content. I would suggest writing slightly altered bios as a precaution. DISCLAIMER: Fabrications are not recommended ;)

  2. The way Google says they deal with things like this is that their algorythm makes it's best guess as to which is the original and then removes all others from it's listings. No penalties occur unless you consider the secondary postings of the content being removed a penalty. The trick, of course, for Google (or any other search engine) is figuring out which was the original content. I also often see duplicate articles listed, so their process for removing duplicate content is no where near perfect. So, I wouldn't be afraid of duplicate content, but understand it may all just get filtered out of the search results.

    In the case of your situation above, I'd recommend not just duplicating the content. From an SEO standpoint, you're much better off with fresh content as duplicate content may just get filtered and do you no good. From a visitor perspective, are there going to be people who have already read the articles on your friend's blog? If so, they'd probably appreciate some fresh content too. If you really think the old content is good and is valuable for the people who would be visiting the new blog, then there's nothing wrong with duplicating some of the articles, but mix them in with fresh content and try to modify the old content a bit. Chances are the old content could use some updating anyway.

    New content may take a little more work to produce, it's worth it in the end for both the search engines and website visitors.

    • Kurt,

      Thank you for your in-depth comment!

      I completely agree that the algorithms to prevent the listing of duplicate content are not perfected but the risk of monopolizing on that could come back and bite you as the process improves.

      From a non-SEO perspective, I can attest to the fact that the other danger associated with duplicating content is that it quickly makes you lazy and generating fresh content becomes harder because it's no longer seen as necessary.

      Really appreciate the insight, Kurt!

  3. Wow,
    I must admit i thought the total oppisite. Actually i had found a blog post that i was going to copy and paste and then comment on, but this has got me thinking. thanks