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.

Related Internet Marketing Q&A

Comments (165) Trackbacks (0)
  1. Jon I am confused.

    This will probably be boring as hell for you and if you’ve already got as good response just send me to it but…

    I’m just starting. I think Article Writing is smart and sensible. I think duplicate content is not (for all the usual reasons).

    I have your Article Spinner.. I have not used it or written articles yet b/c I was concentrating on getting my new and first blog up.

    I have only about 20 posts so far (some of which, of course, can be turned into articles). I am about to start writing articles

    My question is, will the Spinner handle Google’s duplicate problem stance.

    If so, should we do perhaps only 4-5 vacations of an article and submit them to various directories or sites? Rather than, say 10, 20 or whatever number that people used to do before Google’s recent unhappiness?

    And what is your advice re people who are entering as field as an “authority” or “expert”(as opposed to an affiliate or even a general marketer).

    Is it crazy to undercut your reputation an an “authority” with many varieties of articles?

    Would that dilute a reputation (not that I have one yet; it’s the principle I’m getting at!)

    Would that appear (to Google) that you are creating these variations only for linking purposes and not to serve the reader?Which would make you seem less an:”authority” than a general marketer?

    Not that there is anything wrong with being a marketer but some people are Marketers and other USE marketing.

    Google wants original content. If you publish posts or articles (or whatever) of excellent quality, Google is saying that it will find that material. There is no need to complicate matters by writing (using spinning or not) variations on the theme.

    (Am I wrong about that?)

    For example, if a person writes a solid piece in a newspaper or magazine and people like it and circulate it, everyone is taken to the same original article, not variations.
    Same with a joke or a video.

    Is Google not saying it will do the same thing on the Internet? That it will direct people to the original piece to avoid clutter and too similar variations of articles? In order to better serve the reader?

    I can see crafting several variations of an article for specialty site or readerships but beyond that, I’m lost about how to handle this.

    I apologize if this question is too basic but I am truly confused.

    I could use some guidance!

    Thank you.

    Frank Daley

    PS I’m aware, of course, that you sell a spinning program! I’m just trying to determine the best way to use it.

  2. While I agree that linking from unique content is more likely to get your site on the first page of Google. Is it important that each unique article, if spun, is grammatically correct. Many spun articles are unreadable, they simple make no sense. Which is why I do not use them very often. Any one reading such an article would definitely not click through to your site. So what I am asking is. Will linking from unreadable junk unique content still rank your site high with Google?

    • Whether it will or not is immaterial. You should always treat the content you create as an advertisement for your business. That means high quality paragraph and/or sentence level spinning peppered with good word and phrase level spins so the output is grammatically correct.

  3. I love when you do these experiments and prove or disprove a theory. You make them easy to follow and with out a doubt you provide the correct answer, no matter which way it turns out. They are great, thanks for the information.

  4. Hi Jonathan, Thanks for your post anyway. I have subscribe to, but how many days it will help to indexing the link?

  5. I actually never thought about it. But is make sence in my opinion that i site with unique contens is better in the searchengine machin.

    Sorry if you dont get me, Enligsh is not my main language.

  6. Another great article Jonathan. I think your case study puts the old unique vs. duplicate content debate to rest.

    One of the things I really like about your blog is that not only do you post really good information but you also get some really great comments that also offer good information. I didn’t know about the content protector plugins before reading this article.

  7. HI Jonathan,

    Another great and valuable post. I like the case study and believe that unique content will always be the way to go. Having Article builder makes it all that much easy for me. Thanks again.

  8. hi jonathan. im chilean and a few months ago I’m participating Internet positioning several keywords with your advice, I would like to know when you have a version in Spanish of article builder, am very interested in this program

  9. Interesting article. I have a query though. Your search link to best walking program for weight loss keyword actually has the .COM on page one and the .NET isnt in the top ten pages.

    When searching for weightlosstricksandtips to confirm the .net hadnt been removed it came up as number one with .COM nowhere to be seen.

    Im not advocating using the same articles, far from it, I think new and unique content is the only way forward, I am just intrigued as to how this may have come about when your original results differed.

  10. Hi Jonathan,
    I agree 100% with your statement to use unique content. I am also a user of your Article Builder and it works great.

    However, I just checked the position of both test websites “weightlosstipsandtricks” and found the “.com” website on the first page of google and not the “.net” website. You mentioned that the “.net” website is linked to from unique content and on the first Google page. In my browser it was the “.com” website.

    Did you make a mistake and you interchanged both sides or what happened?
    Why is the “.com” website with links from duplicate content on the first page of Google (position 5 when I checked it) and not the “.net” website with links from unique content? This is my big question at the moment. Maybe you have the answer.

  11. Thanks Jonathan for this eye opening post. It demonstrates how careful we should be when looking for advice on the internet, unless from a trusted source :)

  12. Hi Jonathan,
    Many thanks for you article. Original article generate most backlinks. I write my posts in Czech language and my site are in first page in Google

  13. A lot of people just don’t get why you would spin an article. They don’t seem to understand that it can be a highly effective way of building backlinks.

  14. Jonathan, this is one of the best duplicate content vs unique content evidence i had ever seen! Thanks so much for providing this case study. Now i can save up all my strength trying to explain to those non believers by just directing them to this post. Wonder what will their face expression be like after knowing the truth. Haha…

    Best Regards,
    James Tan

    P/S: You have the best spinner software (The Best Spinner) and the best article creation software (Article Builder) in the entire internet, when are you going to create the best article submitter? :)

  15. I have read on quite a few blogs and forums where the experts claim that it is ok to have duplicate content if it is on different domains and not on the same domain. I am not sure how true it is but I would prefer and recommend to play safe and use unique content on your websites. I would also like to thank you for doing the case study as it clears a lot of doubts.

  16. This is a great tool, I just bought it and love it.
    thank you

    Also working with some people on my team and wanted to know if you would share your link building campaign strategies??

  17. I bought the Best Spinner and it the best software I even seen in terms of generating articles.. but when you email about the Article Builder I didn’t think twice and bought it already and I love it! it’s the best cool service that you ever created :) saves lots of time :)

  18. Interseting stuff – I must admit that although I have mainly written my own articles to date and have always spun them – it is very tedious work and I have heard the theory that it’s just as good to spend the same ammount of time sending out 3 duplicate articles as 1 spun unique article and I have tried this once with no obvious downturn in ranking. I do however prefer to continue spinning.

  19. Jon,

    Perfect example and confirms what those of us that use AB.

    There are those that “talk the talk” and those that “walk the walk”.

    Happy travels.

  20. I just bought your article builder it is soooo freakin awesome saves me so much time and it can’t thank you enough. Sorry for my article writer he will be getting way way less business from me. Thanks so much John you freakin ROCK!!!

    Can you also let me know what you do for your link building campaign? Do you out source? Do you do it yourself? I have a team in EN and we need link building for newbies done. Thanks for your help!!

  21. I couldn’t agree the more with you Jonathan. Duplicate content submission to article directories will not generate backlink juice as they used to be but more importantly it is annoying to readership. Google main objective is to provide value content to the end user and that includes not returning the same contents from the search engine result list.

  22. Thank you so much Jon once again for setting up the case study. It sure clears many doubts for many newbies like us. Cheers!

  23. Hi Jon,
    Thanks a lot for the conclusive experiment.
    Could you tell us whether you have used 1waylinks to build the links or another solution? I remember your other post on how to get backlinks to be indexed fast and I am using this method now.

  24. Hi Jonathan. It seem hot topic, your post get more than 100′s respond in a day and I’m one of them. I agree with you, my own experience told me that unique content faster indexed by Mr G, since that I must use article spinner for build backlinks purpose.

  25. An excellent study – I just wish the AB was a monthly subscription.

  26. Hi Jon,

    This is true. I used to send my article without rewriting it all other the place, but I changed that now after loosing rankings. My site in the “Language” niche went from 5000 visitors a month to 1000 visitors a month after panda.


  27. Jonathan, did you have the two different sites hosted on different c-class IPs???

    For several years now Ive had 3 sites in the same niche, which are all EXACT domains to their keyword, have done identical link building to all, they all had the exact same content (except keywords switched out), and very quickly out of the gate it was very clear that only one of those sites was getting ranked higher and higher in Google, the rest have all languished between position 100-300, even though according to all SEO competition stats they shouldve been alot easier to rank for than my “winning” site

    I started these sites back when I didnt know about the importance of hosting sites on different c-class IPs… and pretty much everything else is the same or even favorable to the “losing” sites

    where your two sites hosted on different c-classes?

  28. Hi Jonathan,

    It would have been better if you had used unique IPs. Both domains are on the same IP telling Google to pick one only. You may want to move the .COM to another IP just to see what transpires in time.

    But, i do agree that having unique content is vital to rank.


    • It doesn’t matter. What matters is that Google chose the winner, and it was the .NET site with links from unique content. That was the point and purpose of this case study.

  29. Hi Jonathan,

    This is a really interesting study.. I for one have always spun articles and I have always spent the time to make everything different, as I was convinced that one day the use of duplicate content would not continue to work. It did work about 10 years ago, but as enhancements to search engines occurred I saw the writing on the wall and stopped using duplicate content..

    Now you have proven the need to go the extra mile.

    Great work…

  30. Hi Mark,

    I own several of your products and I have to say I really appreciate this post. It goes straight to the heart of the matter. I own many autoblogs and am struggling to get them ranked because of the duplicate content issue. As a result I am purchasing Article Builder to start dripping unique content to the blogs. I was really excited when I saw Forex Markets as one of your categories. Maybe you could add dating and dancing too? :) Great work.


    • Hi Glenn
      Can you share us the method you are using in dripping article from Article Builder to your blogs? Did you post it manually?


  31. Jonathan,

    Great that you confirm this. Having unique article / highly spun articles for link building is essential.


  32. I’m interested in what backlinking campaign you used Jon? This has a large bearing on how your sites will rank. You have about 150 links to the .net site, according to SEO Spyglass, what are the sites with your link on? Are they from your own networks?


  33. Hello Jonathan, I am not a pro when it comes to ranking on search results. However, I have never doubted the power of good quality unique content for search engine indexing and ranking. I am very pleased you carried out this case study to proof to those spreading false techniques and perhaps extorting money from less informed marketers who are really struggling to make things work out well for them online. Please do keep up the good work, we all rely on you so much.

  34. Thanks for speaking out on this. Some of those blowhard self proclaimed forum experts can cost the newbies a lot of time and money.

    the other jon

  35. Thank You Jon.
    I was still not sure why you always had to spin authentic original articles. Now I see why. Seeing they take a lot longer to rank. but will rank later on would it not be a good idea to present them as well as the spun article.

  36. I’ve just got the super spun artlcle software and I think it’s absolutely brilliant for creating articles for links .. i even will add a ‘ wow’! . The only thing is I do find it hard to believe you can get on page one of google in a single day..bit sceptical about that and there IS no real proof either!..never mind that though the product is first class

  37. Nice study Jon

    You’re a freak if you don’t go unique. It’s a waste of time to syndicate the same content over the web.

    I’m curious tool you use to find long tail keywords that will integrate with the niches in ‘Article Builder’?

  38. Jonathan,

    What if only one paragraph of the article is duplicate (a call to action) – should it be spun too, or will that make a difference?

  39. Nice experiment Jon. And right now, I know how to do the right way to build the backlinks to my blog.

    Thanks for this good information.

  40. Jonathan is most likely correct; but unless the on page is exactly the same, (which it really couldn’t be because of Panda) it could skew the results. And one test on 2 sites does not lend enough evidence to make an assumption.

  41. Hi Jonathan
    Thank you for publishing this case study. The proof of the pudding is in the eating as they say and you’ve proved that here. This is my first visit to your site. Came via a link in an email from Mike and Troy and I’m pleased I clicked the link.

    Personally I have an aversion to duplicate content, article spinning and automated schemes for getting backlinks so thus far have left them alone. Doing these things manually is obviously time consuming but I prefer to be in control rather than at the mercy of some software that could jeopardize my sites in the SERPS.

    As for forums like Warriors I seldom visit and anyone persistently sending emails promoting the latest magic WSO gets the unsubscribe treatment.

    Going off topic if I may I have a question regarding adding rel=”nofollow” to affiliate links. I’ve been looking around for an answer and the community appears divided 50/50 so I wondered what your advice might be. You may have already written on the topic so I’m off now to scroll through your previous posts to see what else I can learn.

    I have also just subscribed to your list so look forward to your future advice.

    Have a fantastic 2012

  42. hallelujah Jon!

    I have also been disturbed about how this miss-information has been spread on that popular forum by a handful of influential members, and how they have never presented any real data or facts to back up their claims. SO kudos to you for taking up this experiment, and putting the facts on the table. Having used tons of spun articles for link building over the past year, I clearly know how effective they can be, but it is awesome to see a split test settle the score :-)


  43. Too bad you had to go to the trouble of this little experiment to prove “those folks” at the popular forum wrong. If you think about what Google wants from in-pointing links, it doesn’t make any sense that one article, syndicated to a bazillions places would have the same ranking impact as links from many unique articles. When it comes to links from duplicate content, I bet Google allots a tiny bit of value to the first one, and then nothing for the remainder…

  44. Hello Jonathan,
    I’m a member of Article Builder and have this question for you.
    When I create a super spun article and pass it through best spinner then I have a unique article.

    If I submit 50 of the same article with some variations(changing similar words) it still would be more of the same article to google but not exact duplicate.

    Since I’m the author of the article and all article links are going to the same main web page, If I submit these 50 articles(similar but not exact duplicate) to different authority sites would I benefit from getting ranked or I’m wasting my time?

    Thank you.

  45. Always enjoy your reality-based articles, and the assurance that what you propose, in cases like this, will work.

  46. Hi Jon,

    Great experiment, could you enlighten us a bit more on the source of your backlinks?

    Did you post the two types of content to article directories or private blogs?



  47. If anything, you’ve proven the links have little to do with it. You said you the .net ranked on page one by the end of day one of link building. There’s no way google would have found, indexed, and credited your site with those new links in less than one day. And considering the links are on crappy domains, it’s even less likely that Google would have done that.

    I have no dog in this hunt one way or the other, and in fact, the smart thing to do is use unique content, because you never know what will happen down the road. But I know from 7 years of personal experience that your conclusions presented here are wrong.

    • Hi Earl,
      I think you’ve got to do more than just say that ‘Google couldn’t have found, indexed and credited the site with those links’, based on your own experience. A stong argument needs to be empirical rather than anecdotal.

    • Then you don’t know much about the way Google works when it comes to long tail keywords. And I use an indexer that gets my links found and indexed in as little as a few minutes. I’m surprised you’ve been at this for 7 years and aren’t doing the same.

  48. Good to see your research. Thanks for taking the time and effort.

    What amazes me is that your site is sitting in place #6 against a raft of sites that have 10s of thousands of backlinks to the site and hundreds or thousands to the page. And Traffic Travis at least finds no links to yours at all.

    I take it you attribute this to targeted anchor text is that right? I always wonder just how to guage what you can do with targeted backlinks. You used to sell a backlink analyzer. Do you anticipate putting it back on the market?

  49. Great post Johnathan. Thanks.

  50. Really cool experiment thanks, for the info i’ll make sure to make all my content unique

  51. The only fly in the ointment is that the study was run by someone with a vested interest in the outcome. We need more case studies from third parties.

    • That’s true, I do have a vested interest. But how does that affect the clear and obvious results, plus the affirmations from others who are saying the same thing about their own tests? Should we pull every drug on the market because they are tested by the people who manufacture them? Verifiable truth is truth, whatever its source.

      • Thanks for taking the time to do this comparison even if you have a vested interest. I would place more reliance on this test than the drug companies. :(
        Surely duplicate content is one of the reasons why article directories got knocked last year, so this result makes perfect sense.

      • Jonathan,

        Very good case study and I as many I was glad to see that you used the unique content on the .net site (very good insight on that choice). In the long run education on the subject is the key and over the last few years you have truly given and educated the industry on the subject of content even though you are the supplier of a product (which actually makes you a subject matter expert as it is…). So thank you for taking the time to dispel this commonly distributed wives tale once and for all!

  52. Hi Jon, excellent and very informative case study. We need more like this I think. You’ve just validated what I do for people, so thank you! I’m curious though: do you know of a good (preferably free) copy protect plugin for WP? One of your posters got me thinking it might be a good idea…

  53. Thankyou Jonathon for the example test, I have understood in the past that it did not matter about duplicate articles.
    I shall only use unique content in future.
    As a newbie I need advice like this from my peers.

  54. Thanks for doing the research, Jon. It’s great to have concrete evidence to show what really works.

  55. I like the way you gave the unique content to the .net, and not the .com. If it had been the other way round some would have said it was the TLD that made the difference.

  56. This level of commitment to your customers and this business of internet marketing is exactly why you have the following you do. Excellent work as usual.

  57. Hey Jonathan,Thanks for sharing such a valuable information.

    What kind link network did you use?Articleranks,uaw,buildmypage rank or any other to create links.

  58. What mainstream article directories or blog networks will even allow you to distribute duplicate content? I have joined a few ‘flash in the pan plans’ that have no filters at all …and they’re a dime a dozen. I will say that directories like UAW concern me since all they do is merely randomize 15 paragraphs around or so to give you 3. But it’s still duplicate content.

  59. As far as I know, you can now only get one link per article, as the duplicate ones are not counted.

  60. Dear Jonathan,

    This is one of the best case studies I have ever read about SEO. Thanks very much for sharing this information. It’s common sense that uniqueness in SEO is the way to go. I have been always following that path (for both content and anchor text) and now you have proved it.

    Regarding Article Builder I must say that I have seriously considered it but it looks to me that the niche list doesn’t match very well with the content of my sites (and projects). In addition, it would be easier to decide if you could offer short time subscriptions (like 2 or 3 months) at a reduced price (limited to your current customers).

    All the best

  61. Hi Jon, thanks for setting up this little test. I don’t believe everything that is written in forums, but like most people I read what everyone writes. I am very pleased with TBS and all your video tutorials which have helped me so much.

  62. Great post Jon. It makes intuitive Google sense anyway, which is what mostly we need to think about, rather than the usual tricking of the system etc. But to see it so clearly is very good. I wonder if you could do a study like this with more sites…with the same stringent criteria…anyway, I believe you :)

  63. I’ve heard occasionally on some forums the same arguments about duplicate content, and I’ve also seen the more usual “Unique content is king” argument. It’s nice to see some evidence to support improving page ranking, and link weight using unique content.

    How “unique” does content need to be though? I’ve checked both spun articles, and super spun articles on copyscape, they can come back as being 15% to 25% of content found in posted articles. Is 75% to 85% unique, unique enough for Google?


  64. Thanks for sharing this case study with us and debunking another myth. I guess you should always conduct your own experiments to prove them right (or wrong)

  65. Thanks Jon, It just proved what most people said about duplicate contents. It made sense Google and other search engines will give top position for the original content. Although duplicate contents will still offer some value to visitors. Of course they might get a little tick off when they see the same on other people’s sites.

  66. It’s funny to hear people in forums make the claim like it’s 1999 that you can simply syndicate the same thing over and over and expect a rankings boost. I’ve been there and tried it myself, having started with a popular AdSense-based program (the micro-niche AdSense site formula)…

    And the only thing taught me to build links was to syndicate the same article to 3 (or more) article directories. It got me started, sure: but not ranking very well. I only ever got to page 2 or 3, then I just got frustrated…

    So that’s when everyone and their grandma told me about TBS, and then my freelance clients started asking if I spun articles on Elance (when I used to freelance) – and wouldn’t you know it?

    Article spinning and submitting, and syndicating unique articles, has gotten me to #1 in G and retired from any J-O-B. Go figure I don’t put much stock into the Johnny-come-lately nonsense about using the same articles again and again…

    I mean: it’s SMART for freelance writers to make that claim: because then your clients need to keep hiring you for MORE articles, right? With the diminishing returns on link-building that way, of course they’d just need MORE articles…rather than simply spinning and submitting a few.

    But hey: writers gotta eat, too. I get it. Been there, done that, but it’s hogwash all the same.

  67. Jon, I love it when you do case studies. Theory means nothing without evidence to back it up, and you did a great job.

  68. Nice work Jonathan, the .net one had bettere results even if it had the .net extension, which in my experience it’s harder to rank due to cheaper price, this is the perfect case study. Congrats finally you cleared up about this myth.

  69. Jon – Nothing beats a case study. Logic dictates that over time Google and other search engines will keep working to reward the original writer verses the copy cat. It’s like radar detectors though, when the Cops come up with better radar guns the makers of detectors create a fix. So there will always be tricksters or those who “cheat” but original verses duplicate just logically makes the most sense.

  70. Hi Jon
    Thanks for the article. I agree with you . With my experience in providing the link building service , I totally agree with you . Your article will help me to help my clients to follow the right direction. I m going add the article link to my site.

  71. The question is where did you put the “best walking program for weight loss.” keyword phrase in the article? I think you have to put it in the article at least twice.

    Did you change the Title to “best walking program for weight loss.” from what AB generated?

    • The keywords are only in the anchor text of the link in the articles.

      • So in the blog post you have a link with the Long Tail Keyword Phase as the anchor text. Is 1 or 2 links with the same Long Tail Keyword Phase better?

        What is a good place to link to?

        • You’re not understanding me. The exact phrase doesn’t appear on the ranking blog at all. Only in the anchor text of the pages linking to the ranking blog. However, combinations of the terms in the keyword phrase do appear on the blogs, so they are semantically related.

          • Hi Jon,

            First of all a wonderful article.

            I am Surprised from your above lines that “The exact phrase doesn’t appear on the ranking blog at all ..” . Because so far my understanding is that if you want to rank for any keyword then you need to mention that Keyword a few times with good Keyword density.

            I agree that your page which is ranking on PAGE 1 of google doesn’t have the Keyword in the Content, except in Blog Title and Blog Footer. Not sure about the way you have built links and the quality of those blogs apart form the Unique content value.

            Can we actually do this in our blogs where the Keyword i want to rank for is only used in the Hyperlink text that i use to link from other blogs.

          • Sorry, I meant to say that the phrase doesn’t appear in the ranking blog POST at all. It does appear on the site. It’s important that your targeted phrases appear on the site somewhere (as mine does in the primary title). You can still rank for things that you don’t have on the page because Google associates the words semantically, but you get a bigger boost if the exact phrase is on the page somewhere.

            In the pages that link to the blog, however, the phrase only appears in the anchor text of the link.

          • Hi Jonathan,

            Can you clear something up for me?

            When I syndicate my spun article from AB. It’s a 500-600 word article with my primary keyword phrase scattered 6-7 times throughout my article.

            Then using Article Samurai and other syndication software I am adding 1 link in my spun article. This link is hyperlinked with my primary Keyword phrase going to the page on my blog that is SEO optimized for that keyword phrase (is mentioned 5-6 times throughout the post, 500 – 600 word article post.

            Then in my Resource /Bio box I have 2 Keyword hyperlinks, one links to my home page, the other links to a deeper page on my blog.

            Hope I have been clear here.

            Am I doing this right?

            I ask this as you say “The exact phrase doesn’t appear on the ranking blog at all”.

            As I say above I have been hyperlinking in my spun article back to 3 pages on my blog that are SEO’ed for that specific Keyword phrase.

            Your thought would be much appreciated Jon.


  72. Jon this is another good post! As I said on the forum:
    I very recently discovered that on my writing site, using AB’s auto posting ability, and the Ezine auto posting option from my writing site, not only did a particular article appear on the front page it was also accepted by Ezine and is listed on my Ezine approved articles which is showing as the last page of this particular site.

    This helped to bring the ‘G’ rankings up to #2 for the keywords article writer! **I have never ranked above #7 for the keywords article writer!

    Therefore I can see why you would say that original content ranks far better than duplicate content sites.

    See below screen-cast: articlewriter4u ranks #2 I attribute the ranking to AB!!!


  73. Hi,

    I listened to the all crap about write a unique article, post in on your Blog, and once it is indexed distribute it to article directories, and guess what?

    After Panda, in August 2011 my site dropped out of sight on Google.

    Every article on my site was written by me, the only mistake I made was not copy protecting my Blog (with a plug-in, not a copyscape warning), and then posting the same content on ezinearticle and articlebase…why?

    Note – even if you use a copy protect plug-in make sure you set your RSS feed to just snippets because the scrapers will steal your content through the RSS feeds if it is set to full post.

    When the same content is on a PR 5 site and a PR 2 site (mine) Google doesn’t care who wrote it, they rank the site they think will give the visitor the most value.

    I helped ezine and articlebase kick my a$$.

    Not anymore!

    The only place you will see my content is on my site.

    But I would like to superspin it, and use that for backlinks.

    Jonathan, I have quite a few of your products, but I need a relationship category on article builder before I can make the investment.

    Thanks for bringing this up. I was mislead for years, and my income suffers from it now.

    But learning the hard way is better than never learning at all, right?

    I hope my post helps someone avoid the mess I am in now.


    • Sorry to hear that Scott. It just shows you the danger of misinformation.

    • Hi Scott,

      Thanks for your post. Can you mention the name of the plugin – can it be used in wordpress? Thanks!

      • Sure, glad to help.

        It is a free plug-in called Blog Protector by PCdrome.

        It is not listed in the WP plug-in directory for some reason, but it has been working great for me.

        Here is the link:

        Remember to adjust your RSS settings too, or this will be a waste of time.

        I learned that the hard way too, after I installed the plug-in I was still finding copies on the internet, and then I researched and found out about the RSS feeds.

        Take Care,


        • I’ve used PC Drome Blog Protector for a while now. It’s great. Well worth donating to the plugin producer.

          Ashamed to say I’d missed the RSS advice though – corrected now.

          As someone said earlier, we’re all learning continually.



        • Thanks for a really useful tip, and I added the plugin.

          But pls could you spell out for a “learner” what to do with the RSS settings:-)

          These posts are very helpful to me.


          • Hi Joy,

            In your WP dashboard go to your “Settings” and then to “Reading” settings, and then look for:

            “For each article in a feed, show”

            And then tick the radio button named “summary”.

            I am glad I could help.

            Take Care,


        • Thanks for sharing this plugin Scott. I’ve been using WP Copyright Pro which is also free and located in the WP plugin directory.

          WP Copyright Pro looks like it address just a couple more items:

          “WP-CopyRightPro is a plug-in that prevents the copying of texts and images from your blog, if you install this plug-in, your content of wordpress will be protected.”

          Disable right click on your WordPress.
          Disable selection of text.
          Protects from iframes.
          Protects from drag and drop images.

          I’ve been using snippets but I need to check my feed settings on all my blogs.

          • Hi,

            This plug-in does the same thing, and it has been working great for me.

            You can’t right click, or select texts or images on your WP Blog after you install and activate it.

            It was a pain at first, because I used to copy/paste stuff when I was answering readers comments, now I just log into the dashboard and handle comments from there.

            Thanks for the tip, if I have any problems with my current plug-in I will check out this one.

            Another plug-in people should really consider is “Limit Login Attempts”. This plug-in limits the amount of times a person can try to figure out your login details. It locks them out and sends you an email with their ip address.

            It seems like ip’s from Russia like to try and hack your Blog, well mine anyways.

            Take Care,


    • Hi Scott,

      Most seo plugins for WordPress (like wp seo) nowadays automatically input the canonical tag to your articles so that Google will know that it is the original. This way it shouldn’t be possible to be slapped but if someone has other experience it will be interesting to know.

      • Hi,

        You’re not getting the point.

        Google doesn’t care which one is the original, they will send the visitor to the site “they deem” to have the most “authority”.

        Ezine articles has 100′s of thousands articles, my site has a little over 100.

        If they send the visitor to Ezine they will get the best experience (in Google’s opinion anyways).

        This has to be true, because I Google my Blog post titles, and they show up under Ezine, or articlebase, but my Blog is nowhere to be found.

        My empty looking click bank account attests to that as well…lol

        I think they (the visitor) would be better off on my site because I teach something that no one else does, but Google knows best, right?

        I don’t worry about it too much, I learned something valuable, and I am making up for it.

        Like Arnold said: “I’ll be back.”

        And that is all that matters.

        Take Care,


  74. Thanks Jonathan for the great post! I have been a long time user of TBS. I’ve been able to get two of my blogs to the first page of Google and one to position one, mostly through article marketing in the very competitive make money online niche.

    I’m now looking into syndicating much of my content for the traffic and not necessarily for rankings… (hint – Kindle) Any thoughts?

  75. Never doubt that the unique article is the best way to go with.

    And more than that, for now maybe you can rank with some duplications content, but in time for sure Google is changing the algorithm and guarantee they will give more credits to unique content than duplicate articles.

    If you have unique content – you are safe for life and sleep well
    if you have duplicate content – risk of heart attack and nightmares .


  76. Always good to see case studies. Hard to argue with good data. However, it is a rather limited sample size.

  77. I highly respect your work, Jon. I look to you for the latest tips and advice in regards to internet marketing, and especially SEO. Thank you. However, I have been waiting for you to make enhancements to your 1waylinks network so that we are not submitting “duplicate content” for backlinks. I think it is a great concept, but it became outdated since you launched it in 2009 (I was a prototype buyer). I still belong to the network, but I just deleted 25 donor blogs as I just cannot use this network reliably because it could be hurting now more than helping, and this article proves it.

    • 1waylinks supports nested spinning. I use it to rank a lot of my sites, especially the inner pages. I’m not sure what you think the issue is?

      • I have been using 1waylinks from the beginning as well, and find that is still works. I also use UAW, but 1waylinks gives me better ranking results. When I first started I was much too lazy to spin my articles, and I did get great results, then came TBS and now I spin all of my articles in 1waylinks and have seen improvements. The newest improvement I have found though is using the backlink indexer you recommended, I use that on all my backlinks and even on a brand new site I will use the indexer once just to get google crawling the site right away.

  78. You show it men! thanks for the information, I always though that unique content with the backlinks would be better and now I am sure, I really appreciated.
    PD: great preselling btw

  79. I appreciate your contribution to IM. I just purchased Article Builder and am totally impressed. In 10 minutes, I posted a unique article on 4 different sites. I may even resume my UAW, now that I have access to many pre super-spun super unique articles. Best investment I made all year. :D .. or ever.

  80. I really appreciate your efforts on this Jonathon, I know that some respected SEO experts in the home business niche are also saying duplicate content is equal. Logic should tell people that unique is better. But if you are just adding another layer of links somewhere and don’t want spun content, I have seen duplicate content help.

  81. Hi Jonathan,

    Very good case study and you have done everything exactly as it should be in order to make the point. You see, most people when they do case studies, they pick completely different domains and then compare those. But, it is impossible to get comparable results, even if the only difference is a domain name. In this case, you have done an excellent SEO case study.


    P.S. About which forum you were talking about… :)

  82. Another interesting test would be duplicate content (the body of the article) but with all different titles.

  83. I agree with you Jon. I tried a similar thing a while ago. My discovery was similar to yours too with one exception, the links from duplicate articles did not even show in my Google Webmaster tolls.

    I guess these people saying such things may be deliberately misguiding others in order to reduce competition for their products.

    • I just want to add to this in order to support what Jon has posted about. Yesterday, after posting this comment I did a little research about a wordpress plugin that pulls content from other blogs. The author claims his site ranked on the first pages of Google and even showed screen shots (if those are actually his sites?).

      He shot a video and claimed the content are DUPLICATE. He tried to sell the pluging (I will not mention it for obvious reasons). When I navigated to the sites both where he was selling the plugin and the sites he claimed to have ranked, the sites were nowhere! They have been taken down. My searches on Google such as “site:domain” returned not found. Why? It is anybody’s guess but I think we all know the reason. They may have been disregarded by Google after the Panda update.

  84. Thanks for doing this experiment, although it was, of course, a foregone conclusion.

    The technical reason is that Google recognizes only the first article it indexes as being of value. Subsequent duplicates, though not penalized directly, are given no value as far as “link juice” is concerned. Therefore, submitting duplicate articles, or even those that are spun carelessly, is a waste of time. For article spinning to be effective, the text must be spun section by section first, then paragraph by paragraph, working down through sentences, clauses, phrases, and, finally, words, in as many variations as make human-readable sense.

  85. Thanks for providing the evidence in this case study. Great way to disprove the naysayers. And one more reminder that I need to step up my spinning and backlinking efforts. Thanks!

  86. I know what forum you are talking about since I almost stopped using TBS because of the posts going on there. They talk about using your articles via syndication (post on your blog and once indexed blast them out to article sites as syndicated content). At the same time they say that spinning unique content is a waste of time since “Google recognizes and ranks syndicated content”.

    I have a couple of niche sites and while I think there is some validity to their claim, using TBS along with other products works without a doubt. Not only that, a couple of niches have multiple spots on the first page since it is unique content that is spread to various article directories and web 2.0 properties. That couldn’t possibly happen with syndicated articles since Google says (actual quote):

    “Syndicate carefully: If you syndicate your content on other sites, Google will always show the version we think is most appropriate for users in each given search, which may or may not be the version you’d prefer. However, it is helpful to ensure that each site on which your content is syndicated includes a link back to your original article. You can also ask those who use your syndicated material to use the noindex meta tag to prevent search engines from indexing their version of the content.”

    They will only show one version of the content and it may not even be the one that you want shown!

    Anyway, Jonathan, you have a customer for life, especially after this latest post.

    • What’s that got to do with anything? We’re talking about links here, not the actual content. If the article is already indexed on your website then Google will already know that it’s the original (of course).

  87. Wow, that’s really interesting. I’m amazed how quickly and highly you ranked the .net! I’ve always heard that unique content is king, so I’m surprised that some respected internet marketers are advising otherwise.

    Do you advise to have one big article per post, such as you’ve done? If so, how would you monetize?


  88. What you are stating here makes more sense than the others’ claim. I see erroneous statements all the time by well respected marketers. Actually, it’s kind of neat when you think about it: me, mostly at the learning stage, has learned enough to know when something is not right. Knowing when some things are not right has made me jaded to a lot of stuff going around on the internet. I’m not tempted to buy from just anyone.

    But, thanks for the example of what happens when you do it their way. Interesting.

  89. I love the way you are rapping up this article to sell your article builder.. you have a great concept.. thanks for your help.. but it’s expensive for me to purchase even though i love it..

  90. I wonder if this would apply to re-purposed content? It’s likely you could turn your content into a video, change the title and google would consider it unique.

    But what about say publishing the same content as a pdf and submitting to pdf sites like issu?

    Then theres always the .exe file you can use to repurpose the content to download sites.

    Any ideas?

  91. As you say, there is a lot of bunk in the forums and many times people are trying to profit by espousing it. Thanks for making the effort to test this, Jonathan. Another myth busted!

  92. This makes sense John. I think this is pretty common knowledge by now, but maybe people are still fighting against this. It might also not work in all situations but when you use 2 equal sites to compare it against it shows that googles obviously going to give more respect to a site with links coming from unique content. This is about trust, google trusts that the sites that have unique content on them, and therefore gives links from those pages more respect/power or whatever you want to call it to the receiving website.

    Anyway nice case study.

  93. hey Jonathan.
    Great to actually see some real data on this once and for all. I’ve always wondered which is the right way to go. Some gurus say ‘x’ the others say ‘y’…. now i know that my purchase of the The Best Spinner was a winner. Thanks for all your great work!

  94. Love it, Jon. It’s one thing to “say” something and quite another to proven it in the real world. Thanks for putting this test together. I, too, have been preaching no duplicate content for years but have always sorta wondered if it was really necessary. That this cements the deal. By the way, Article Builder is awesome and I’m confident it will help change many lives this next year if they get in and use it.

  95. Hi Jonathan

    Thanks for this post, I know exactly the forum, discussions and users you are talking about – however, I think in fairness the main thrust of their argument is that if you write well crafted original content and submit it to just a few popular sources for article syndication purposes, the actual real visitor traffic you get will increase (not just your rankings for those phrases).

    Having said that, I’ve tried both article marketing with spun content submitted to services such as Unique Article Wizard, and article syndication with longer, unique articles submitted to Ezine Articles and Go Articles – and the results in both rankings and real visitors are always higher with the spun article UAW approach.

    I can see the logic in the ‘high quality syndication’ argument – and it makes sense in many ways – but if your articles are spun well there is definitely a case for spinning too. By the way, none of this stuff should be rubbish or you can’t expect good results.

    Perhaps the answer is we should all be doing both ‘article marketing’ with spun content PLUS ‘article syndication’ with unique original content?!

    I guess this debate will run and run…

  96. I’ve heard people say that too. Nice case study that proves a point. Market Samurai is reporting 2 PR3 and 1 PR4 for the dotcom as well yet the dotnet still ranks higher. Which network did you use for the backlinking campaign?

  97. I have actually seen this claim recently on popular forums, and I was very very skeptical of the claims. It’s nice to have some solid case-study proof showing real results. Thanks again for your great research and products!

  98. Jonathan, I truly agree with your theories. Duplicate content doesn’t make you any different than anyone else… just adds more to that pile of sites that are the same.

    Can you share with us what link building campaigns you used, and how you received your unique content?

    The reason I ask, is because it would take me so much time just to think of writing this unique content to a few of the sites that I have.

    I own your Best Spinner, but I am still not that sure of it’s use! My main question would be. Once you create an article and spin text it with all the different variations, do you upload all those different variations of articles to your site, and drip feed it?
    What is your link building method….it must be automated to work soooo fast?

    Sorry for all these questions, but this is my feed back!

    Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

    Regards, Randa K.

  99. Awesome case study. It proves 1 other major thing. Never believe everything you read on the Internet especially when it’s about the Internet. Case studies always trump chatter.

  100. Man, the difference is night and day. You are ranking for multple keywords on first page of Google for the .net site and no rankings on the .com site.

    Message here… be careful on what you take in as advice form these marketing forums and some of the SEO advice blogs out there. If it sounds too good to be true do your own testing before going wide.

  101. I think the highly respected users lost some respect with those claims. I’m surprised anyone would think (especially post Panda) that mass syndicating duplicate articles still works?!

  102. This study is true, but all this propaganda you’ve been propping up about “promoting quality content” is the only way to rank post-Panda is rubbish.

    I’ve ranked sites using straight duplicate content Paragraph spins and it works fine, still even til this day.

    Also I use other techniques that you claim “Don’t work”, such as non-relevant link building…

    Out of the 100+ websites I own…

    95% of my sites are in the top 10.
    100% of my sites are in the top 20.

    Just goes to show that “post-Panda” didn’t change anything with Backlinks.

    • I dont know what exactly Jons point is, but it seems that he’s trying to show that links from unique content provide better results when comparing apples to apples. In that case it is true, but you can definitely rank for non unique content, witch is results also shows, its just to a lessor extent. I know for a fact as you do apparently that you can rank pages with spin/dupe content links but I would still think your going to get better results from unique. However if its so much easier to get links from spun/dup content that it might outweigh the advantages of spending time to produce quality content, then it might still be worth going the dupe content way because its more automated.

      Bottom line, if you have domains with AGE/AUTHORITY and enough backlinks it doesn’t matter what content those other sites have, but apples to apples your going to get better results if all when all site factors are the same except 1 gets links from unique content and 1 gets links from dupe/spun content..

      • Jon’s case study is fine and dandy. In fact the results he sees I verified for myself a long time ago.

        However Jon has also been pushing “post-Panda” high quality content requirements, and it’s just simply not true.

        The reviewers at 1waylinks deny posts for saying “your” instead of “you’re” … Imagine how much productivity you lose from such little mistakes, and it doesn’t matter 1 bit for SEO.

        • I’m sorry you’re bitter that your low quality content wasn’t getting posted to the network. My experience has shown that post-Panda you better not spread garbage or your rankings will suffer. If you feel that’s not correct, why not create a case study and post it on your blog and rank it as proof?

          Even if garbage DID rank sites (and I don’t believe it does), I’m not letting that junk into my network. My goal isn’t to pollute the web with trash. It’s to get good rankings while providing a beneficial service. I’m tightening up all of my products and services to better serve that purpose going forward. I’m sorry if you got hit by that with 1WL, but that’s the direction I’m going now.

          • Content is still quality even if “your” is misspelled one time in an article Jon.

            You are limiting people by such silly little errors. Luckily I have found a replacement for 1WL that works in the exact same way that allows my style of backlinking.

            I am a $400/day+ earner on Clickbank and trust me I know what works and what doesn’t.

            You’ve taken it too far, and quite frankly it made me lose a bit of respect for you as a fellow SEO.

            Good luck, I know you’re doing it for the right reasons… I guess I have a bit of a grudge because 1waylinks was my favorite network out of all… And now I can’t stand to use it because it kills my productivity.

  103. Jon,

    Pretty interesting little study. So what’s the reason for this? At this moment,

    The .net site ranks #6 in Google … but is unranked by Yahoo and Bing


    The .com site ranks #31 in Google, #6 in Yahoo, & #5 in Bing.

    Does duplicate content matter to Google, but not to the others? And why would the .net site be totally unranked in Yahoo & Bing?

    I appreciate you, Jon. Thanks,


  104. Nice Jonathan, now can you help me with detailing what you did with the backlinks (meaning what source or sources). You said that you linked to unique content, so what are those sources? This will help me get my sites ranked.



    • Not sure that Jon will choose to reply directly — but it is easy to guess what he might have done.

      Jon has two products that are perfect for this test — (source of content) and (publishes content for backlinking). You can easily use the combination of those tools to get lots of backlinks from unique content.

      Another tool worth considering would be an Article Directory submitter. Jon does not make one of those (yet).


  105. Thats fine but the last time I was a member article builder it had only general keyword articles, noy keyword specific.

    • As long as the content is in the same topic, it doesn’t have to be super specific. My links came from the Article Builder’s “fitness” category. Nothing specific to walking for fitness. Just get your anchor text right and keep the linking pages in the same general topic and you’re good to go.

  106. Interesting case study. So I guess its better to give a good spin to your article spinning at the sentence and paragraph level than just spinning few words.

    That goes to show why you are adding the new stuff to thebestspinner :-) .

  107. I have backed this argument for a long time and continuously test it. I love how you used the .com for the duplicate article. If you did it the other way you would of probably had the .com lovers claim that the .com ranked better because it is a .com. Now you eliminated that equation in your test. Good work.

    • That was exactly why I gave the .COM the duplicate content links. I didn’t want those same people spouting off about how that’s why it turned out the way it did. You know they would, too… when evidence is non-existent, they’ll grasp at whatever straws they can.

  108. Thanks for clearing this up John! I’ve been confused about this for a while. I bought The Best Spinner a few weeks ago – and now after learning this I’m going to continue using it even more in my article marketing. Thanks for the neat case study to prove your point! Also a quick question, when you mention “link network” can you share some ideas or do a post on how to create a link network, which links work best etc.? Thanks!

  109. John

    i know exactly the people on {snip: my goal wasn’t to bad-mouth that forum :) } you are talking about including one inflentual female. She tells everyone the same BS and as evidence points to another blogger who has the same opinion but with no emperical evidence to back it up.

    No doubt your experiment will not count in their eyes as you have something to sell!

    If any of the people concerned want to go head to head with me on a similair experiment I would be delighted to prove them wrong.

    Well done and thanks for all the recent improvements to TBS.

  110. Jonathan, not be a naysayer, but I think I disagree with you. For years the reviews posted to my site ranked well for respective product names mentioned in my reviews. Eventually, after establishing mass within various niches, I decided to create niche specific review sites using the same content. Net result, I frequently found my duplicate reviews competing against each other for prominence on page one. For me duplicate content was never an issue. I’m not saying this will work for everyone, but my experience would prove it can work. In fact. some of my dupe reviews actually improved over time. Kind of whacky.

    • I’m not talking about the on-site content being the same, I’m talking about the content of the linking pages in this case study.

      • Jonathan, I’m very interested in your distinction between onsite content and content on the linking pages. I can see the value of the distinction.

        I have an attorney client who offers the same services in 5 cities. He would like to duplicated one site to each of 5 cities and get the sites ranked there –,,, etc.

        I’ve been reticent to do this post-Panda. It sounds as though you’re saying that this could work fine if we use unique content on the external linking pages. Is that right?

  111. I tried this technique on two similar sites of mine and had the same results.

  112. Come on, spill the beans: which site is claiming this?

    • My goal isn’t to bash that forum or its members. My purpose is to establish the truth from my own experience and that of others.

      • The forum is not important — all the popular forums have this debate from time to time. People want to believe it’s true because good spun content is hard to get.

        Well, it used to be hard to get….LOL

    • I hear this argument all the time on Warrior forum, usually in WSO’s promoting products that produce duplicate content.

      It is patently false. I know from my own results as well as Jon’s test results above.

  113. I think it is a good test. That is why TBS,AB,UAW are so popular.

    • Hi Jonathan.
      Thank you for that post.
      I’ve seem similar results on my sites, and glad you brought it up so elegantly,
      Do you link those spun articles directly to your main site, or do you suggest using them to link to another site ( web 2.0 ) that links to your main site?

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