Jonathan Leger – SEO And Internet Marketing Blog Internet Marketing Blog


CASE STUDY: Links from unique vs. duplicate content.

(UPDATE) As I suspected might happen, some malicious individuals have reported the ranking blog, and the blog home page is no longer indexed ( C'est la Google! Hopefully you saw the proof before it disappeared. I don't usually give out the domain names in my case studies for this very reason, but in this case I felt it was important for you to see it. I guess they were afraid of the truth. ;)

I frequent a few popular Internet Marketing forums to keep track of discussions concerning my products and services. It's always good to see what people are saying, where any weak points might be, what people like, etc.

However, in reading lately on one very popular forum, I am seeing over and over again a certain set of highly respected users spouting seriously false information regarding the importance of getting links from unique content.

Their argument is that you can use article marketing to distribute the exact same articles all over the place and get rankings that are just as good as if you get links from unique content on each site.

The sad part is that they have a lot of people at that very popular forum convinced that they are right. There are, of course, many people who are chiming in to say that it's just not true, but those individuals don't have the same level of respect on the forum and are often dismissed as not knowing what they're talking about.

So I decided to setup a little case study to show that it really, really does matter what kind of content your links appear on. I wrote a blog post recently explaining why getting links from unique content is important, but with all of the misinformation flying around I felt the need to give you a real-world example of the truth of my words.

To prove this to you, I setup a little case study with two sites:



Both sites are WordPress blogs with one well written article about walking as a weight loss method. I set in motion an identical link-building campaign for both blogs to rank the sites for the long-tail phrase "best walking program for weight loss." A phrase like that would be easy and fast to rank for, which is why I chose it. My goal wasn't to rank for something with a lot of traffic, just to demonstrate that the kind of content you get links from really matters.

The .COM blog was setup to get links from duplicate content. One article distributed to a bunch of places that was exactly the same.

The .NET blog was setup to get links from highly unique content (using Super Spun content from Article Builder).

It only took a few hours after the blogs were created for both to be fully indexed. You can check that in Google for yourself.

The results?

By the end of DAY ONE of the link building campaign, the .NET (links from unique content) blog was already on the first page of Google for the keywords. In addition to that, the pages that linked to the blog were also beginning to show up in the search results for the keywords (since they contained the exact phrase).

What about the .COM (links from duplicate content) blog? It was nowhere to be found in the results.

Day two? The same thing.

Day three? More of the same.

Now, a few weeks later, the .NET is still on page one of Google's results for the target keywords, and the .COM is nowhere to be seen.

This is with both blogs having equal quality content on page, using the same type of site (WordPress) with the same theme, and getting the same number of links from the same link network.

The only difference between these two blogs is that the .NET has its links on pages of unique content, and the .COM has its links on pages of duplicate content.

I created this little case study in case you frequent any forums where people spout off about how it's just as effective to syndicate the same articles over and over again as it is to spin content to get links from unique pages. One thing those individuals will never do is provide evidence that what they're saying is true.

Now you've seen the evidence of what's really true: links from unique content wins hands-down.

In fact, Google Webmaster Tools tells me that it is aware of about 75 links more for the .COM site than the .NET site, and yet the .NET site is the one that's ranking. Why? Because Google values links from unique content much more than links from duplicate content.

And don't forget the added benefit of getting links from unique content pages: Google has made it clear that it will filter duplicate content from the search results for the same set of keywords. That means you've got no chance of having your linking pages rank for a lot of different keywords, driving even more traffic to your site. That was certainly the case in this little test.

Can you rank pages using duplicate content? Yes, but it's a lot harder, and if there are any other sites getting their links from unique content for the same keywords, well, sorry, but they're going to leave your site in the dust.

As I said before, the unique content I used for this case study came from Article Builder. As of my writing this there are still some memberships available if you're interested.

Please add your thoughts and questions in a comment below.