Hank hill, king of the hill, asian, asian brother, japanThere’s a lot of talk about duplicate content in the SEO world. Most of it revolves around what exactly constitutes duplicate content, and when it actually results in penalties.

A better conversation to be having is how duplicate content hurts companies.

Think of it from a branding perspective. Imagine if two soda brands had the exact same name. Imagine if they had the exact same advertising tagline. Now, imagine that they described their product benefits with the exact same language.

How would you differentiate between the two sodas?

How would you know which brand was better, or which brand to buy? Or, if you did buy one, how would you know which one you had purchased?

Duplicate content causes this exact same confusion for search engines. Search engines are like store owners who have to decide which products to put front and center in their stores. Store-owners want shoppers to see the best products they carry. They want their customers to know that they carry quality merchandise. So, they make their best brands very visible in store.

Search engines behave the exact same way.

Search engines scour the internet deciding which products (web pages) are the most valuable one for their customers. Then, they put those products front and center, at the top of the search results.

So, if you’re just another soda, with the exact same brand name, exact some tagline and the exact same description as your competitor, why would the store put you in the prime real estate?

They wouldn’t, the same way Google won’t rank your content if they think it’s a duplication.

Although there are many forms of duplicate content that relate to site architecture, URLs, tags, and HTML, one of the most common, and easily fixed forms of duplicate content relates to blog posts.

It used to be a common practice to upload blog posts to multiple article directories. The thought was that the directories provided added exposure for the content as well as an inbound like for the blog.

However, these days this practice could damage your blog more than it helps. Now when a search engine looks for information on the topic of your post, it has to choose between each of the places it finds your post. The site with the highest overall ranking will win out.

And that might not be your website.

So if your goal is to expand the reach of the topic you’re writing about consider finding ways to re-purpose the content. Here are a few suggestions:

> Create a Slideshare presentation: A well-crafted post can often be easily translated into a presentation deck. Upload the presentation with a link to your original post.

> Create an Infographic: Infographics are among the most shared types of content online. Turn your post into an Infographic including a link to your post, and share it on social media.

> Get social: Share a “tweetable” line from the post, or pin or post to a quote over an appropriate graphic to Facebook, Pinterest or Instagram. Don’t forget to include a link back to your original post.

With any content you create, your goal is to get it seen by the widest possible audience. Keep in mind that sometimes to do that, to get placed front and center, requires you to be unique as well as valuable.