Now, I usually enjoy Search Engine Journal’s articles quite a bit. However, I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw their article 9 Ways To Get Banned by Search Engines.
The 6th point:
6. Duplicate Content or WebsitesSetting up multiple websites with the same content or having several pages on a site with essentially the same information but different keywords inserted here and there. You see the duplicate content method a lot with travel-oriented sites. A â€œtemplate scriptâ€ is written then regional terms, such as state or city names, are swapped out on each page.
Of course, someone may have copied the content on your site and put it on their site. The search engines do not make any distinction on who had the content first. Make sure no other site is using your content. You can do this by performing a search using some of your text with quotation marks (â€) around it. If you do find someone is using your original copy visit here to learn more about copyright infringement: http://www.google.com/dmca.html.
Let me get this straight… the search engines DO NOT make any distinction on who had the content first? Last I recall if your site has the content up and indexed by the SEs before anyone else (or any other site) copies it, you’re pretty much in the clear. Not to mention, in my experience, the site with the duplicate content is the one that gets dropped from the index, NOT the site who’s content was duplicated. I’m not wrong on this one am I?
As if that weren’t enough, I disagree with their next point as well.
Code swappingSubmitting a text-only version of a web page to the search engines in an effort to gain high rankings for that page. Once the desired positions within the search engines are achieved the search-engine friendly text page is swapped out for a content page designed for human visitors. This will only work for a limited time as the search engine spiders will eventually return to that page and find its content has changed.
This is just insane. Making whole sale code changes will NOT get your site banned in any SE that I’ve ever used. That’s basically what this would amount to. You’ve got the content up, indexed and ranking, and then you go change the design of the page, but keep all the content the same. Sure your rankings might drop (depending on how you do things), but there is no way that you’ll be banned by the SEs. I’ve done a few pages like this (unintentionally but have done it non the less) and suffered NO ill effects for going in and adding the design around the already spidered and indexed content. Using this logic, a complete redesign of your site would get you banned from the Search Engines! Anyone here ever redesigned a site? Yeah? Was your site banned from the SEs? Nope, neither was mine.
I was quite shocked to see these two points in their list. I mean, this is Search Engine Journal for crying out loud. They are supposed to be authorities in the field! At best, this was an uncharacteristically poorly written article and I misunderstood these two points. At worst, they are flat out wrong and have just spread another fallacy through the SEO community. Search Engine Journal, please explain these two points to me…. please!
I’ve left a comment on this article over at SEJ asking Loren to comment on these two issues. I’ll update if the comment is noticed.
EDIT: Well, it seems my voice was heard. The title of the article is now 7.5 Ways to Get Banned (or Penalized) in the Search Engines. They also crossed out the part about search engines not giving credit to the site where they first discover content. All in all, I agree with the article now (although I wish they’d give us credit for the correction hehe). Thanks Loren!