Dumb SEO Questions

(Entry was posted by Makis Cris on this post in the Dumb SEO Questions community on Facebook, Thursday, April 11, 2019).

Mixing up content

Here is my situation. I own a news site. Lets say I have an old (yesterday) article B. I write a new article A TODAY but because I don’t have enough content I copy paste a relevant article b in the end of the new article A (I include ofc proper internal links. I do this every time and in every new article.I write one new paragraph but in order to increase content when I have little to say I copy the exact text from another recent relevant article and place it in the end. Is this bad for seo? From user experience perceptive is good though.
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Selected answers from the Dumb SEO Questions G+ community.

  • Jayasanker Jayakrishnan: that will create a duplicate content issue, actually this was the focus of one of the primary Google panda update around 2011
  • Kortni Remer: You could perhaps use a canonical tag here to avoid confusion/duplicate content by Google.
  • John Bosworth: Your best bet is to not create the new article if you have nothing to say.

    What you should do, is add the new minimal content to the original article - search engines will see it being updated and show it as more relevant / recent
  • Charles Lomotey: It will hurt your conversion rate now if you are talking about ranking content plays the less part but if it’s duplicated content you could end up with a manual penalty one day
  • Michael Martinez: Common, perhaps standard practice today (and one that I as a user absolutely hate) among large, well-established sites is to go back into the original article, add more content to the top with an "updated" time stamp, and then refresh the page`s meta data and position in the news XML feed. Forcing users to reread the same content over and over again has NEVER (in my experience and/or opinion) been "a good user experience".
  • Makis Cris: yes but most of the time people haven`t read the previous relevant information about actor A since they visited the site to read about the new hot gossip about actor A that happened today.So I pass them more information for actor A that they might not be aware of.
  • Stockbridge Truslow: This is the "correct" way to do it. And Google likes this way of doing it too. You can also ease some of the issues Michael is describing as follows...

    At the top of each article do an "updated on/at" link that drops down to each updated <section> of the <article> as a named anchor. This way - if they looked this morning, they can hit the link for the first update of the afternoon and drop right down to the new stuff.

    Out front, you should be able to allow the user to sort by "first published" and "last updated" too. Wordpress (if you`re using that) doesn`t do this out of the box, but there should be a plugin - and if not, it wouldn`t take but a few lines of code in the theme config file to create this ability.

    Adding "new" articles and updating them with old information is NOT the way to go.


    That said, if you tend to have your "Gossip Column" with new bits all the time and they are often just short bits - I`d consider embracing that. Again - I`m assuming Wordpress here, but... the concept should work with any blog/news software...

    Create a new Custom Post type - like "Gossip Quickies" or whatever. "Categorize" them by the various types of Gossip that people may be interested in like "Romance" "Casting News" "Trouble with the Law" or whatever. Plan on adding "Tags" for all the famous people mentioned in each of these quickies.

    On the "browsing" archive pages, show the entire content of the post rather than the normal "blurb" bit. So now, I can browse for the latest Casting News (or whatever) in general, or I can go by the "celebrity name" tags and see all the latest bits related to them. Don`t link to the full articles, and tell Google not to index the individual article pages either - just let it index each celebrity`s tagged results page and/or the category page(s). Don`t worry about duplicate content unless all the stuff you have in one category happens to only be about one actor - because then it IS actually duplicate.

    In your "full stories" where you talk about an actor, end it with a link to their "Gossip Quickies" page. And if you create a new full story - add a corresponding "quickie" that links to that full story.

    There are other ways to handle this, too - the above is just one idea that came to mind. You could just create a quickie section, tell the bots not to index the pages in there (but to follow links) and just let it send people to the archive pages.

    If there are ongoing story threads which are likely to run for a while - like an ongoing scandal or something - create hashtags or something similar that can be searched for and bring up every article and blurb related to that specific scandal/ongoing story.

    etc. etc. It`s hard to get specific in what I`d do without seeing the site and how it`s organized now. (And if I saw that, I`d probably want to re-organize the whole damned thing - which you almost certainly don`t want to do - so don`t send me in there lol)

    Basically, though - the idea is to not try to fit your habits into a "box" designed for a specific way of doing things. What you need to do is look at your habits and try to build a box around it so that it works, it`s organized, and makes it so everyone can get what they want out of it.
  • Neil Cheesman: From my perspective and working in an industry where there is a lot of `duplicate content` - I would say that IF the website is solid, with a large amount of unique content, then the duplicate content won`t matter.
    BUT... the duplicate content when added, MUST be related to the additional unique content.
    Perhaps rather than adding too much of the previous content or going back to it - link to it.. then, IF the user is interested, they will click on it.
  • Stockbridge Truslow: An additional thought strikes me here based upon Neil`s answer too. IF you go this route as opposed to the one in Michael`s thread above... here`s a handy little trick...

    If you`re grabbing content from another article - blockquote-cite it.

    This is a way to sort of "canonicalize" just a section of a page rather than the whole thing. You`re saying "Everything within this <blockquote> is quoted from "this" original page. It`s not exactly like a canonical in that it doesn`t say to just index the other page, but it is a clear signal to Google that that block of content is the same as elsewhere, and that the one on the other page is the original. Depending upon the search term, Google will decide which page to send the person to. (If everything in the term is from within that quoted section, it`s more likely to refer them to the original - if some of the terms are outside the quote, or the content outside reinforces the content inside, then it will likely send them to the new. This is something I`m perfectly fine with letting Google decide - especially if I`ve set up a proper roadmap to help Google make an informed decision on the matter).

    I probably wouldn`t quote the entire original article either - probably just quote the parts that are of key relevance to the new info.

    I still prefer my above advice over this since this doesn`t help the user experience all that much. This keeps the articles somewhat isolated whereas my advice above creates a path forward so people can find "more" about various topics, find "all" about a specific person, and so on. This solution just reinforces the "get the article, learn the info, and get out again" model.
  • Neil Cheesman: I do this with reviews - a block quote from the review as an example - and a link to the full review.

View original question in the Dumb SEO Questions community on Facebook, Thursday, April 11, 2019).

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