I recently posted a home staging blog and website dilemma from a reader about whether it’s ok to use the same content on Facebook and Active Rain or Blogspot at the same time. Four home stagers weighed in with their thoughts which were split between it being OK, not OK, or not sure.
This is why I love the Staging Diva community: you get involved, share opinions, experiences and challenges, and ask me questions! My mission is helping you create your ideal business and lifestyle as home stagers so this participation really helps me stay in touch with what you want to learn about.
The crux of the matter is worrying about whether Google will penalize you for duplicate content, while trying to balance a desire to spend less time/effort keeping up with everything you might do online to support your home staging business.
The first thing to accept is that no one truly knows all the factors that go into a search engine algorithm (the formulas that determine what shows up— and in what order— in a search result for any given phrase).
Thousands of SEO “experts” will tell you different things and the black hat ones will even claim to have all the answers as they sell you an expensive plan to guarantee first page Google results (which will actually get you banned fairly quickly).
Google (and the other search engines) make money by selling advertising on their search result pages.
They know that people will stop using their search engine if they don’t deliver relevant and speedy results to searchers. Their algorithms are like their secret formula, the foundation of their business. If everyone knew how they worked, they’d be open to abuse. It would be impossible for anyone, besides the biggest and most well-funded companies, to land at the top of search engine results. And then, what good would Google and the others be as indexes of what we’re searching for?
My best advice (keeping in mind the above) is to ask yourself what factors would be logical for search engines to favor in their algorithms and what would they likely frown upon?
The problem with putting the exact same content on a bunch of pages is that Google will not index all of them or consider them all equally important. Most SEO experts agree that being the first location where the content appears is the most important. The idea is that Google will index the original source and then ignore (or give less importance to) the rest.
This makes sense logically, but personally I suspect that if a larger/more important site has your duplicate content it will likely rank higher than your smaller/less important site. My fear is that you might actually lose that “published here first” advantage.
Active Rain and Blogspot are HUGE because they have hundreds of thousands of members generating content. I don’t want Google to decide that my content there is more important, or more original than my content here on this blog. That’s why I would not write a post on this blog, Home Staging Business Report, and then duplicate it exactly on my Active Rain The Business of Home Staging or Blogspot blog.
Keeping up multiple blogs is hugely time consuming of course!
I get around the duplicate content challenge by posting first on this blog, and then writing a variation of the post and submitting it to Active Rain or other sites. I change the headline and first paragraph completely and then re-phrase the rest. After listening to dozens of people discuss this topic the consensus seems to be that this is the best approach and overall, the content should be at least 30% different to avoid the duplicate content penalty.
Don’t assume from this that you can rip off another home stager’s content for your own website! Aside from being an illegal copyright infringement, it’s really bad karma and NOT the way to build a successful business that you can be proud of! See Copying Web Content Isn’t Flattery – It’s Plagiarism for more info on this.
If you have an email newsletter, you can totally duplicate your own blog posts there, which saves a lot of time.
In my next post on this duplicate content dilemma, I’ll discuss how Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites factor into this discussion and the best ways to handle these. After that, I’ll continue the series with a discussion of Article Marketing for Home Stagers which is related to this topic of spreading your content across the Internet.
Did you find this post helpful? Do you have any related questions, challenges or concerns? Please share your comments so I can continue to deliver the information you’ll find most helpful in starting and building your home staging business!
Debra Gould, The Staging Diva®
President, Voice of Possibility Group Inc.
Debra Gould has been an entrepreneur since 1989 and knows how to make money as a home stager. She developed the Staging Diva Training Program to teach others how to earn a living doing something they love. There are now more than 7,000 students in over 20 countries learning from her many products and services for home stagers.