Duplicate content has a bad rep online. I’m not sure how it started, but there’s a myth that is still perpetuated today about a duplicate content penalty. The myth stems from the fact that the search engines – primarily Google – limit a result of a search query to only so many pages with the same content. In other words, if 100 websites feature the exact same article and the that article is optimized for the key phrase “banana butter” then Google doesn’t want to show all 100 pages with that one article because it doesn’t really add value to the searcher who has to filter through all the articles to find original content. Therefore, Google omits some of those pages from the search result for the search query to prevent searcher frustration.
So how does Google decide which ones to omit? That’s a good question. I’m not sure I have all the answers, but one thing that is considered is originality. Google makes a very good attempt to include on the search results page at least the site that originally published that content. Whether Google succeeds at this perfectly is up for debate, but I believe they are making good efforts.
So what does this have to do with article marketing? Well, if you are submitting articles for mass distribution, it helps to be aware of how the search engines are receiving those articles. After an article has been published in so many directories and picked up by so many publishers, it really isn’t going to help you much in the search engines. You’ll still get the link credit every time someone uses the article, but don’t expect all of those thousands of articles to appear in the SERPs when someone searches for a key phrase that is important to them.
This isn’t to say you should ditch article marketing. Far from it. But I would add that another type of article marketing – one that doesn’t rely on mass distribution – can be useful in your efforts as well. If you’ll write an original article and submit it to one blog or website owner for review then you can build a reputation as someone who writes great articles and delivers quality while giving yourself quality back links and someone else quality, original content. No duplication.
As I said, I wouldn’t ditch mass distribution, but I would add the single distribution model of article marketing to your efforts. Just a suggestion.