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How to survive a writing website closure: Change it up

Duplicate copy is an online no-no. It happens all the time, but it’s not a smart strategy. From content pirates to the original copyright holders, web users all too often republish articles, blog posts, and other works word-for-word.

Oh, no!

Why is a verbatim repeat a bad idea online?

Besides the plagiarism problem, which we have addressed in other posts (like this one), the reposting of previously published materials dilutes a work’s potency in internet search engine results. 

The search robots (or spiders, as they may be tagged) identify the duplication. That sends most of the matching content plummeting in search results.

That means potential readers may never find the duplicate version.

In the very least, these internet users are not likely to see the title links to the most recent publication of previously posted material until the original links (perhaps still cached by search engines) have vanished.

How can web writers work their way past this problem? 

First, it is essential that one only publish materials within his or her right to do so. Original copy, permission-granted items, and public domain works are fair game. Anything else risks copyright infringement and can result in a search engine ban and possible legal action. 

Here’s an aside: Public domain works are free to reuse, republish, recycle, and recirculate. But that’s another story altogether.

Next, it’s always a good idea to edit, revise, and update old pieces before publishing them in a new spot on the web. Even if their original site of publication no longer actually exists, this is a prudent practice. 

Internet search engines love fresh, new content.

  • Tweak the title.
  • Write new subtitles.
  • Play around with the first and last paragraphs. 
  • Rearrange sentence structures, and swap in some suitable synonyms.

OK, copy that.

But only if you have the rights to do so, and you’ve changed it up a bit first.

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