2nd May 2018
Common Search Marketing Myths – Part 8: Online Collaborations, Duplicate Content and When to Start SEO
Collaborating with other websites weakens your site’s SEO
When it comes to online collaborations (authority links, social mentions, guest blog posts), it’s not always clear whether such activity is actually beneficial or detrimental to your website’s SEO efforts. Digital collaborations can potentially take visitors away from your site – but can it have a negative impact on your overall SEO? And, most importantly, is it really worth it?
As is true with Search Engine Optimisation in general, your top priority should always be to provide your online audience with high quality, relevant, useful information. As Google’s algorithms evolve, the importance of search intent only increases. If ensuring your visitors have the best information available means that you need to either invite a credible guest to post on your site or link out to an authority site, then do so.
Whilst buying backlinks online is very much frowned upon, naturally acquiring backlinks from quality websites will actually help with your SEO. If you create original, engaging content then other sites will be more inclined to link to your posts / pages. This in turn not only helps generate additional referral traffic but also signals to Google and similar search engines that highly regarded sites are linking back to yours – demonstrating the relevance of your content.
Duplicate content will kill your website
It’s well known within the SEO industry that having duplicate content within your website can result in penalisation – in some cases, Google will remove your site entirely from search if it breaks their duplicate content guidelines. However, having duplicate content within a site is sometimes necessary – for example, if you’ve written an article which has been republished across several different websites or your own site contains several pages with very similar copy (common practice within e-commerce sites with product variations).
So how can you ensure that your website performs to the best of its ability, without being killed by duplicate content? First and foremost, we strongly suggest you take a look at Google’s guidelines. They make it very clear that your website shouldn’t be at risk of penalisation as long as your duplicate content isn’t an attempt to manipulate search; “Duplicate content on a site is not grounds for action on that site unless it appears that the intent of the duplicate content is to be deceptive and manipulate search engine results.”
In short, the solution is to ensure that your content has a valuable purpose. Why is it being duplicated in the first place, and is such duplication necessary? If so, simply follow Google’s guidelines on content duplication in order to make sure your site is as search friendly as possible. If it’s not necessary, don’t publish it. Simple.
SEO should start the moment your website goes live
Many web design and development companies (and even some SEO professionals) often recommend that your SEO should start as soon as your website goes live. Whilst this sounds sensible, we strongly disagree. SEO should actually start the second you begin planning your new site. A strong, well-rounded SEO strategy begins at the concept phase of a new website – which could be months, even years prior to its launch.
It’s increasingly important that you understand search intent when creating a new site – whether that intent is informational, navigation or transactional (including potential visitors carrying out commercial investigation). Once you’ve identified your potential online audience and their search intent, you’ll be much better equipped to design and create a website which fulfils the need of this audience – allowing your site to perform better in the long run.
If you’re not sure when to start your SEO or would like help uncovering your target audience and their search intent, the search professionals at Varn are here to help.
That’s it for another mythical blog and another three common SEO misconceptions busted!
If you have any questions regarding the topics listed above or would like more information on anything else search marketing related, please do not hesitate to get in touch. We’d also love to hear your thoughts regarding Search Marketing myths for upcoming blogs within this series! Remember to take a peek at our last myth-busting post: Part 7: Can Click Through Rates, Domain Age and XML Sitemaps Impact Your Rankings? Or start from the beginning: Part 1: Exact Match Domains, Backlinks, and Google.