Curated vs. Duplicate Content and How It Affects Your SEO

Digital Strategy

Curated vs. Duplicate Content and How It Affects Your SEO

May 29, 2016 Curated vs. Duplicate Content and How It Affects Your SEO Katelyn Waara

Do you think curated content is just another name for duplicate content? Have you been putting off content curation because you’re afraid of being frowned upon by search engines? If your answer to both questions is yes, this post is for you.   

Let’s begin by saying curated content and duplicate content are not the same thing.  And, unlike duplicate content, curated content won’t hurt your SEO rankings (more on that later…) First let’s discuss what makes curated and duplicate content different.    

Duplicate content is… when the same content is present on two or more URLs. This can happen in one of two ways. The first happens when someone copies the content from your site and adds it to another site without giving you proper credit or providing a link back to your site. That’s plagiarism — the kind of non-original content that’ll get you into trouble.

Alternatively, duplicate content may exist on your own site if your content management system (CMS) isn’t configured properly and creates different URLs for the same content. You can fix this with canonical URLs.

Curated content is… when content is copied, but credit is given to the original creator via a hyperlink to the source author or site.

Publishing fresh, relevant content frequently is essential to earn the top spots on search engines, but creating a steady stream of high quality content can be time-consuming and expensive. Plus, every year, businesses and marketers are producing more content than they have previously, and when we’re bombarded with so much content daily, it’s hard to consume it all. It’s even harder to sift through a sea of information to find what’s most relevant to us. Content curation helps address both problems.  

Instead of adding more content to the online space, curation helps to discover, organize, and present the most relevant content in one place in a way that’s useful to your audience.

Now the big question — is content curation good or bad from an SEO standpoint?

Curated content is often seen as an easy bet for lazy marketers. But Google doesn’t necessarily agree. For instance, sites like Upworthy and Brain Pickings show that it’s possible to build both large audiences and search engine success entirely on curation. In another way, this research by Bruce Clay shows how curated content can add to your SEO benefits if it includes original commentary and links to the original source. So how do you curate content in a way that Google loves? Here are some tips.

Curate but be original.  While there’s no standard rule as to how much is too much when curating materials from other sources, it’s safest to have original content equal to or longer than the curated piece. Simply put, you need to maintain a balance between curated and original content.

Always look for high quality sources.  Avoid picking sources for your curated content randomly, just from anywhere. Choosing a source that’s well-known and trusted is critical to the whole objective of curation — adding value for your audience.

Quoting is the way to go.  Methods like abstracting (posting an excerpt of the source content) and summarizing are ineffective. The first one is still basically copy-pasting and can get you penalized by Google, while the second option is just plain useless because many readers would prefer going to the original article to get in-depth information. Plus, both these methods offer little or no SEO value. Quoting — where you place an excerpt from the source article within quotes and create original content around it — offers a unique perspective to the readers as well as provides you much higher SEO value.

When done right, content curation can ease the burden of content production without skimping on value-creation — overall, a great way to keep the wheels of your content strategy turning smoothly. 



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