1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

SEO Questions - Duplicate Content

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by zooki, Apr 18, 2013.

  1. zooki

    zooki Active Member

    Hi guys!

    I have a forum which has an articles section. The section is split into several categories. I would post there my content, and in the past using Vbadvanced I would display it at the front of my site. The website had menus on the sides, using columns to help users navigate to the sections.

    I have always wanted a proper CMS for the articles. Wordpress is a proven blogging platform, with great SEO and ease of use. Recently I have been testing xenscripts bridge with Wordpress. It is not well maintained, and I never liked the idea of being dependent on a bridge, alas, I did not have many alternatives.

    I have articles in the forum, those have good backlinks, and many comments, often 100s of comments. I was wondering if it was Ok to copy them over into separate Wordpress articles? The purpose of which is to keep the relevant content neatly together. Should I delete them, or leave them?

    Is there a way to make certain threads canonical and some not? So that the search engine favours one over the other? I guess if the WP article is canonical and the "matching" one in the forum is not, the search engine will understand what to take. The WP plugin can makes copies of the articles and put them in the forum, or just excerpts with comments copied over.

    As is the nature of forums, a lot of the content is copy and pasted from around the web. Members are often enthusiastic to share articles from various places, i.e news sites, other blogs etc. 10% of our content is like so. I believe I was "hit" a bit by the Panda updates due to this, although my traffic is recovering. I have also kept Wordpress blog, I noticed that google favours wordpress over other CMS. Perhaps the SEO is good, but I have a small voice in my head that tells me there is some few lines of code inside their algorithm which does check what type of platform the content is on, giving less ranking favour to forums. (might be wrong). Is it harder for a forum to gain search engine "trust."

    In an ideal world, I would just want to go through the forum, Copy and Paste - articles into relevant WP categories! And also let users add content they would usually place in the forum into WP.. - with the plugin making a copy into the forum for comments. Is this a bad idea?

    I plan also on buying the RM in the future, how good is the SEO on that? I was thinking to make blog posts about any new RM item also (using different descriptive text), with a link to the item in the RM. It increases content circulation, as with WP we have greater ability to "sex up" content. i.e. adding photos, videos etc, and making items featured. (something we can not do easily in a forum)
  2. Anthony Parsons

    Anthony Parsons Well-Known Member

    I would not recommend moving established content if it has lots of replies. The original content could be worthless, and it is the replies giving that information Google love.

    You would be better writing something close, but unique, and less off, then pointing it to the discussion thread about a similar subject. That is the better solution.

    If you had to, then do a manual 301 redirect in your htaccess pointing the thread at the new article.

    Too many factors to assess... because it comes down to your overall traffic volume. If your forum is fairly new, still getting its roots, then you obviously need that established thread doing its job. If you have quarter a million or more posts, moving a single thread into an article isn't going to change a whole lot.

    Now... here is my take on this type of approach, overall.

    People love to have an article repository. Ok... the first and foremost question is always, are users using a single signin solution? If they have to have two accounts, one forum, one CMS, just to comment on articles, then you're committing discussion suicide. If not, and a user can just login and post in the forum or comment on articles, no worries.

    There is nothing wrong with shaping a portal to deliver only news articles from your forum, either automatically or manually promoted. Style the news articles and suddenly you have a collection of articles in one place, linking to the thread for discussion. Just get rid of all else, sidebars, so forth, thus making your homepage look like an article system.

    Running one software is much better for users than running two.

    A CMS system if often only needed when building business sites, where you need a fronted, standalone website that integrates with your community, but is unique from it. Then your community sits with it as a forum. Unless you're writing hundreds upon thousands of articles over time, they have no real purpose other than a toy, a novelty, for the admin to play with and create headaches for yourself.
    zooki likes this.
  3. Jason

    Jason Well-Known Member

    You're not going to get penalized for duplicate content simply by copying over your threads to an article system of some sort. That's not exactly a deceptive practice. It's perfectly okay to make content available via different URLs, and many sites and discussion forums do this (e.g., printer-friendly pages, stripped down pages targeted at mobile devices, etc.). Google, for instance, will determine what it thinks is the best version, if it can't find a canonical URL.

    I haven't used WordPress in years, but I'm sure there are plenty of sitemap plugins available, where you can specify your canonical URL. You can also use 301 redirects (as mentioned above, though not really needed in this case), specify a canonical link in your HTTP headers, or by using a link element in the <head> section of your non-canonical threads. More info http://goo.gl/jRwfn
    zooki likes this.
  4. zooki

    zooki Active Member

    Hi Anthony, some great suggestions! I was thinking to do that. - I wonder the scope of Google's algorithms to assess the amount an article is similar. Will rewrite sentences, remake titles I guess, or have completely new articles too. It is going to be hardwork, but I will gather my team around to do it. Plus need to jazz up the pages with images anyway. Afterall, hardwork is what it's all about!

    True, although I don't think any of my posts come into that much of a preservative link need. I think I will leave them as they are.

    Its a few years old and has half a million posts.

    Yes they do. I am planning on using Xenscripts WP bridge. It is ok, my gripe with it is that it does not save the users in both databases. Xenforo is used as the master, and the posts are linked to the xenforo member. If the bridge was to break in future, there would be a disconnect between all members and their posts / comments in WP. - I can continue using Xenforo - wait for another solution or the other option is to not use Xenforo at all. Wordpress has bbpress, which supposedly integrates perfectly with wordpress. However, as a forum solution Xenforo does beat it.

    True, but does require a lot of custom work. - Wordpress has a multitude of benefits (ranging from SEO plugins, multilingual pages to theming) that can not easily be replicated by hacking at Xenforo.

    Thank you for your advice, some good points made!

    Yes, this is exactly what I have been worried about. I was worried due to dropping a level in pagerank since Google Panda last year.

    Thank you Jason this will come in useful!
  5. Anthony Parsons

    Anthony Parsons Well-Known Member

    Forget all that nonsense about pagerank and such... all total rubbish today. Read a recent publication I wrote which answers these such issues: http://www.anthonyparsons.com/blog/7-seo-that-old-dog.html
    zooki likes this.
  6. Jason

    Jason Well-Known Member

    If you're going to move the articles over to WordPress, for example, and leave up the old threads intact, then you're better off doing it verbatim. Slightly rewording articles to avoid "duplicate content", is more likely to be flagged as duplicate content and weighted as such.

    Link building, as you describe, is essentially PageRank, a probability distribution that measures the relative importance of a link within a set. That is, they're one in the same. The more quality (organic) links you have to your site, the greater weight the site is given. It's certainly not the most important metric, and not something people necessarily need to focus a lot on. It's one of hundreds of signals (such as Panda, which isn't a singular entity itself) that determines your site's ranking in results.
    Anthony Parsons likes this.
  7. Anthony Parsons

    Anthony Parsons Well-Known Member

    Jason, I want to first outline that I've been involved in online marketing since the early 90's... so this subject is my experience base... and link building and pagerank are not the same thing.

    Pagerank was introduced eons ago as Googles measure of 'page' quality based on what linked into that page. As a result, we all (I say we, as in all those marketers in those years) abused the hell out of this, along with many other techniques that have come and gone. When it launched, page rank literally was nearly all based on links.

    Lets separate, 'then' versus 'now'.

    Today, and for some years now, Pagerank actually has nothing to do with your pages ranking ability, nor do Google continue to assign trust via links as they used to. Their algorithm today is nothing like it was when Pagerank was launched. Google keep Pagerank around, purely today, to amuse themselves and people who are still falling over it as though it means something. It doesn't mean a single iota of anything in link trust today... trust me.

    You can game PR still, yet not have the rankings to back up the value. That was the opposite when it was introduced.

    People continue to perpetuate techniques and aspects of ranking pages today, that 'were' techniques years ago, yet have no influence today. When I say influence, I talk about value. I can put a page in the top 5 without issue, still today, and links and pagerank have nothing to do with how its done. Saying that, I also cannot beat Google for longevity today, as used to be done to stack pages for years. Googles algorithm today is just too fast, too advanced, and catches even the cheekiest of techniques quite quickly, literally burning domain after domain in the process.
  8. Jason

    Jason Well-Known Member

    I work for Google, though not on the search team. Their work continues to fascinate me, so I like to "pick their brains" any chance I get. So, I respect that you have knowledge here, but I too know a little about how this stuff works as well.

    What you described as link building is very much what PageRank is in its current form (and as far back as 2009). That is, it is a probability distribution that weighs those "links finding your site naturally", as you put it. Interesting tidbit, the original algorithm was never fully implemented, likewise, it has continued to change over the years. I believe you're mistaking the PageRank indicator (the value you can query, which isn't updated with any frequency), from how the actual weighting is performed and used. It's not a very important metric on its own (many aren't), and the PageRank indicator value certainly isn't something people should concern themselves with (I agree with you there), but PageRank calculations are one of hundreds of signals used today.
    Anthony Parsons likes this.
  9. Anthony Parsons

    Anthony Parsons Well-Known Member

    That must be pretty cool working at Google... as I've seen the work environment offered, and it seems very social and nurturing to excel.
  10. zooki

    zooki Active Member

    content is king.png

    Hi Anthony, thank you for the article! I have never put much thought into SEO until now. I was happy just making great content and having people link back to me. What I meant by "Pagerank" was Google's trust in my site. To a point SEO is only as powerful and important as the content that you produce. It will not be just search spiders who read what you put out there. Nevertheless, it does not hurt to optimise the reach and uptake of our content.

    Wow! Is there anything in Google about this? Also does "link juice" exist? Afterall, if someone has two "copies" of an article and people link back to either, potentially they ruin their chances at a higher Google ranking. I presume this is where 301 (which I can't do for forum posts) or canonical comes into use.

    Another question: Apart from gaining traffic, do any incoming "no follow" links to a site have benefit?
  11. Anthony Parsons

    Anthony Parsons Well-Known Member

    No follow is just that, it parses nothing as a vote of anything from the linking site to the destination.


    Zooki, search Google because they provide most answers today. You can even read a list of over one hundred factors they look at as part of their algorithm, howerver; at last count I believe there was over a thousand factors the algorithm reviews per page, per ranking.

    You don't need to game Google nowadays... those days are gone. Localisation killed that old mentality. You don't need to employ old techniques to get ranked locally... it's easier than that. Countries and global are significantly more difficult, and expensive, to achieve today. If you want to be global, you need to have deep pockets, because you're going to need $$$ to do it.

    Send Google a well written page, a descriptive page title and one or two links into the page... get the page above the 90 mark if possible on their page speed test, and use responsive / mobile layout as well. Comments are the best thing on pages now, using the nofollow. As above... people write something, try and hookup their web promotion at the same time, yet aren't affecting you negatively, or them positively, as a result. You win though with recent content being added to your pages.
    Jason and zooki like this.
  12. Jason

    Jason Well-Known Member

    I find it interesting, insightful, inspiring, fun, etc. Despite the perks everyone hears about, the people here at what truly makes working for Google great. It's definitely a step up from my previous job.

    Google (I'm not too knowledgeable Bing & Co.), takes into account that content may be accessible via different URLs. There's legit reasons for it. However, if it finds several pages that are nearly identical except for a few words or sentences changed here and there, it may decide you're trying to be deceptive (i.e., you're trying to fool into thinking it's original content) and that's where you get dinged for duplicate content. It's a little more complex than what I just described, but that's the jist of it.

    Google Search will always choose what it believes to be the best version of a page; however, canonical URLs allow you to hint towards what versions you prefer. A 301 redirect is really only needed if you want Google to always use your preferred version, and, eventually, drop the old version completely from the (public) index.

    "Link juice" exists, but only gradually, collectively and approximately. It's not something you can measure or even rely upon, so it's not worth really stressing over.
    Anthony Parsons and zooki like this.

Share This Page