Duplicate Content

Duplicate Content 

This section has two parts - An explanation of exactly what Duplicate Content is and when you have to worry about it, and an explanation of what you have to do to make a replicated website unique.

The Duplicate Content Argument

Search engines DO penalize for duplicate content. But it isn't as simple as using the words “duplicate content” because there are “acceptable uses” and “unacceptable uses”.

Now, some of the sellers of Replicated sites will tell you that there is nothing to be concerned about. They quote a Google official who stated that “honest” website owners did not need to be concerned about duplicate content. They try to use this as a means of justifying the sale of multiple copies of identical sites.

Here's the problem – the buyer of a replicated website may be an honest person trying to earn an honest buck. But the person who sold them a replicated site without warning them about the real issues with duplicate content is NOT honest. And their dishonesty means the buyer will get the blame, and the consequences!

Google and other search engines penalize duplicate content to prevent three situations:

1.Something called “scraping”, where someone uses a computer to spider the web and actually duplicate website content from the ground up. They may actually replicate your entire site. This is a violation of copyrights, so Google bans sites that do this, giving the search engine traffic to the site that is the oldest.

2.Precisely to prevent people from using replicated sites. You see, a replicated site does not just have identical content, it has identical EVERYTHING. Filenames, page tags, colors, layout, content, everything! Top to bottom the page code is identical. And when Google talks about not having to worry too much about duplicate content, this is NOT what they are telling you not to worry about. This is EXACTLY what they are trying to prevent! This is a shortcut, it provides nothing new to the information archives online, and they will penalize you and ban the site, if they even index it in the first place. Anyone who has used one will confirm this (except those who are selling them, who insist on touting them as a shortcut that will take all the work out of it). I actually sell some of these, but they have FULL instructions for customizing them, and I NEVER tell a client that they are not work because they ARE.

3.Use of unaltered PLR articles for lazy site content. Again, they add nothing new to the substance of the web, except copyright confusion.

So, what are the legitimate uses of duplicate content that Google IS telling you not to worry about?

1.Printer friendly and standard site pages for the same item.

2.Similar product listings on two different sites that you own that overlap in content.

3.Reprinting items that you have the rights to reprint with author credits.

4.The odd duplicated page in your site that happens for unusual reasons.

5.A replicated site that has been well customized, so that it has “value added” features on each page. This DOES add something new to the information online.

6.Honest reasons for duplicate content, or honest mistakes in having duplicate content. This is not the same as deliberate use of duplicate content, which replicate sites are classed as.

So, when they tell you to go ahead and buy their site and upload it and don't worry about duplicate content, they are lying. And yes, there is no other conclusion but that they are doing so knowingly, because they have heard the complaints, and seen it first hand.

It is NOT dishonest to sell a replicated site, but to do so while telling you that it will work without problems IS dishonest. Replicated Sites require a systematic and consistent step-by-step process to take them from duplicate, to completely original. It CAN be done, and in less time that it would take you to build the site from scratch, BUT, you really need instructions to do it, and you need to know which things matter.

Taking the lazy way out won’t help you earn money, it will just kill your chances of earning. So if your intent is to upload a site that will work to earn you money over the long term, then you'll want to avoid the duplicate content trap, and get started right.

Replicated Websites

Replicated websites are everywhere now, generally sold under the title of "Instant AdSense Sites" or "Instant Affiliate Sites", or "Complete Ready-to-Earn Website".

Ah, if only it were that easy! Even if you COULD just change the Google and Affiliate IDs and upload it, it would not be that easy!

At best, a replicated website can provide you with a shortcut. A framework around which to create a site much faster and easier than you could do yourself, especially if you are a newbie.

At worst, a replicated website can entangle you in legal problems, waste your time, and cost you money that you'll never get back.

The truth is that Search Engines recognize Replicated sites. They usually just cancel out any duplicates, giving priority to the first of the sites to get registered. And usually the original owner of the site has already done that.

So in order to make it work right, you have to customize the site. There are a series of strategies which can be used to do that. It takes a bit of time and work, but even a rank newbie can prep a replicated site in a week of part time work, and make it unique enough to upload and register. The software to do it is mostly free, or extremely low cost if you want really good stuff.

Besides Search Engine issues, there are other issues with a replicated site. If someone is selling the same site to hundreds of other people, then you know you are going to have to make it unique to compete anyway. Many of them come with resale rights, which are ONLY good if you can make the site unique before you sell it, so you have something different to offer.

Another problem is links. You see, one of the reasons website owners can sell replicated websites cheaply, or even give them away, is for viral linking. They put their site links on each page of your replicated site, and that increases their pagerank when your site begins to get traffic. Some businesses may require that you leave their links on it as a term of the use conditions. That is ok, as long as they have put high quality site links on the page, but sometimes this tactic is used by site owners who are selling things that would give YOU a bad reputation if you leave them there.

Replicated Websites use one of four basic tactics for content.

  • The first is PLR articles. If you get one of these, you HAVE to rewrite the articles! By HAND! I cannot stress that enough!   
  • The second is reprintable articles from article databases. This is usually higher quality than PLR, BUT, you have to make sure the articles are actually good quality, and that the links are to sites that are not shady. You CANNOT rewrite these articles, you must customize the page by adding commentary.   
  • The third is extremely rare, but a few site designers do actually write their own content and replicate it. These are harder to find, and are most suited to someone who wants to expand the site long term. Reprint rights, and the right to alter the pages or content varies widely from one to the other, so they may fall under the same umbrella as PLR (without some of the risks), or under the same umbrella as reprint articles in that you cannot edit them and have to leave credits intact.   
  • Dynamic Feeds or self updating sites. These are a php script that updates the site automatically. They can have a HUGE range of problems, from being totally ineffective for AdSense income generation (if people click out to use news feeds, they won't click on your ads), to low quality content over which you have no control, or at worst, insecure php code that will get you charged with spamming or phishing when someone cracks your site and installs malicious pages on your server. My advice is to unequivocally stay away from these!   

The last major problem is coding. The best replicated sites use simple coding so that any web designer of any level of experience can make changes. Some do not though, and you may find that you have bought a site that you cannot edit because you don't have the software, or that you don't have the experience to edit. If you have ever modified a web template, then you will be better prepared for the potential issues with a replicated website.

These are not absolute reasons to not purchase a replicated website. Merely reasons to know ahead of time what it is that you are getting, and what the actual work is involved in getting one to function like the seller says it will. Because 9 times out of 10, it CAN, and WILL earn for you, IF you are willing to put in a bit more time to get it that way, and if you understand that you will have to learn to edit a website.

It really is not that hard. I prepped a replicated website for a client recently, and it was one with multiple problems that had to be repaired. It was nowhere near as simple as it should have been, and it only took me about an hour and a half to do the preliminary prep. He will now take the site and go through it page by page in his free time and make each page unique, and add a few more pages to differentiate it. The site had no images, so he will add a couple to make it more vibrant. He will then register it with the search engines, and begin link marketing. His site will be up and running within about two weeks (and it is a large site). It would have been faster but he had no software, and he got sick in the middle of the work. If he had built the site from scratch with his level of experience, it would have taken him about two or three months, and it would have had mistakes in it that most newbies make.

Replicated websites are not the magic solution that they are being sold as. But they CAN help you get your foot in the door more quickly, and they can be an inexpensive way for you to test your ability to edit web pages, and to learn enough to eventually build your own. They can provide major shortcuts which save you large amounts of time over creating a site from scratch.

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