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    Preference ranking for duplicate content across domains


    If I publish content on my website, is there a time frame that I want to avoid it being published elsewhere, if possible, in order to secure the best SERP ranking for the page on my site vs the other sites? Or does Google not care about the original?

    I'm rebuilding a niche site where invited users will be able to submit their own articles. I was considering requiring that their article is not published elsewhere on the web for 6 months, but I came up with that arbitrarily. I don't want them posting it elsewhere right away if it's going to hurt the exposure of the one on my site. And if there's no way to avoid it being ranked higher on another site, I at least want to try to have it as exclusive content for a while before the party's over.

    Thoughts?
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    Hi Squeebo,
    Anytime you post duplicate content and articles on other places across the web, Google will be able to find it and it can always affect your rankings, even if you were the original poster of the content; just look at all the websites affected by Panda.

    I wouldn't recommend duplicating the content at all, if possible. But if you can't avoid it, at least put a date stamp on each article and use rel="publisher" markup on any content owned by your site and use rel="author" on any content owned by the users writing it.
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    I agree with Karina and would add to her comment that you should add canonical tags to your pages if you allow people to post the content elsewhere. The canonical tag suggests to Google that it's the original, though it's only a suggestion and Google may ignore it. Having the people wait to post it elsewhere is good, too...though not as good as them never posting it elsewhere.

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    • karina.b agrees
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    Folks who try to help in the forum, that's good, but please read the posters' questions carefully. The original poster wasn't asking whether it's OK to have duplicate content on the site, but a completely different question.

    Originally Posted by Squeebo
    If I publish content on my website, is there a time frame that I want to avoid it being published elsewhere, if possible, in order to secure the best SERP ranking for the page on my site vs the other sites? Or does Google not care about the original?

    I'm rebuilding a niche site where invited users will be able to submit their own articles. I was considering requiring that their article is not published elsewhere on the web for 6 months, but I came up with that arbitrarily. I don't want them posting it elsewhere right away if it's going to hurt the exposure of the one on my site. And if there's no way to avoid it being ranked higher on another site, I at least want to try to have it as exclusive content for a while before the party's over.

    Thoughts?
    If your site is important, your content may be getting scraped automatically the moment you post it. But this isn't common. Ideally, you want your post to be indexed before the scraped or republished post.

    In this recent video, Matt Cutts boasts that Google is great at knowing which site is the article's owner, but in practice we see duplicate content rank above the original all the time.

    If you can make any contract you like with your writers, that they agree to. You can even altogether own the copyright to their pieces if they agree to it. Asking them to wait for 1-2 months is reasonable and sufficient from the search point of view, I don't think waiting for 6 months improves anything.

    One of the best things you can do it include a statement somewhere in the piece similar to this one:
    When quoting from this piece, please refer to the original.
    Note: use the absolue path in the link, like here, not a relative path.
    That will ensure that when you article is scraped automatically, it will include a link to your site, telling Google that you are the original publisher.

    I once saw a sticky I wrote for SEOchat plagiarized on another forum. The stolen was ranking, and the SEOchat URL was not. I tries asking the mods there to remove it, but there was hardly any moderation and nothing happened. I then posted a comment under the plagiarized version, including a link to the original. The correct ranking returned on the same day!

    I hope this helps.

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