Overlapping content happens when two or more article are addressing exactly the same keyword(s). Obviously that happens easily on a multi-author site like Wizzley, but it also can happen on your own site. Overlapping content is sometimes also called duplicate content, but that is not completely correct in my not so humble opinion ;-) For me duplicate content is content that is largely identical, either on the same website or across the whole internet, whilst overlapping content is content that tries to address the same keyword / topic on the same site, but with unique content. Mind you, unique as far as the words and word combinations go, the information itself will be very similar. And the worst case scenario would be obviously when duplicate and overlapping content meet in one article. That marriage would result in what is called web spam!
Overlapping Content – What that is, why it is bad and how to avoid it!
Overlapping Content Example
I just came across >this article< on eHow. If you look at the screenshot below, you see the problem. And yes, I had to combine two screenshots I took to fit everything together ;-) On the site itself the red marked parts are not so close to each other, but yes, they are on the same page.
For the record, I know that, copyright-wise, I am in a gray area here, as the copyright of that text and the images don't belong to me. But I claim 'fair use' for the editorial prospect of documenting a common problem amongst multi-author platforms and if they would listen to that eHow would profit from this also. So, if you hold the copyright to some of the content in the screenshot, just drop me a note in a comment and I remove it asap ;-) All this out of the way? Great, now to my main point with this article:
Why Overlapping Content is Bad
The whole point is here that it devalues the internal linking efforts. Instead of telling readers, Google, and other search engines, which article is the right one, it offers several articles that all target the same keyword and that in the end makes them compete with each other on the same site. There is no indication on the site which one is the best, most useful one of these.
Overlapping Content was a big part of the Panda Update!
Many of us that write now here on Wizzley, used to write on Hubpages. Now we all know what happened with Hubpages during the last Google update! There were two major reasons why Hubpages was tanked by Google: Content farming and link farming.
Enters, again, overlapping content, directly from the horse's own mouth
That one makes for an interesting read, note especially this quote:
“Does the site have duplicate, overlapping, or redundant articles on the same or similar topics
with slightly different keyword variations?”
If that happens, chances are that Google will call the site in question sooner or later out, label it as content farm and devalue it in the SERPentines. Meaning less traffic and subsequently less earnings for all involved.
You might also want to read this blog post by Fraser from Keyword Strategy
In case you don't know who Fraser is, he runs an astronomy web site called >Universe Today< which has a staggering >100,000 visitors per DAY and a PR7. He is also the co-founder of >Keyword Strategy<, the Keyword research and management tool that I am using for my own websites and my other online ventures like Wizzley. And yes, he is an overall nice guy from Canada that simply knows his stuff ;-) But back to the topic in question!
How to Avoid Overlapping Content
If you have an inspiration for an article, take a few seconds out of your busy online writer life and check if, gasp, this article idea has already been written about here on Wizzley. If not, great, go ahead and write an unique article about it, the best you can and include as many unique points, media etc in it.
If yes, tough love, believe it or not, there are literally millions of keywords out there worth writing about, I am sure one or two of these will tackle your fancy.
Seriously, I do live in Prague (Czech Republic), I have seen the 'Dancing House', I have unique photos of it but I will never write about it here on Wizzley! Why? Because there is already a great article about it by somebody else here on Wizzley!
Looky, look, here it is: Prague Dancing House and Celeste Restaurant!
Really, there is so much to write about, do yourself and Wizzley a favor and try to avoid publishing overlapping content here! The editorial team here on Wizzley can't monitor each single article in depth, so we, the authors, have to monitor ourselves. Google loves Wizzley and it is our, the authors, responsibility that it stays that way! We don't want to have another Hubpages fiasco that affects our online earnings, don't we?
To avoid publishing overlapping content on Wizzley and elsewhere follow these simple steps:
- Check if there is already an article on Wizzley that you would have to compete with.
- If yes, write about gluten free cup cakes instead of writing about gluten free chocolate cookies ;-)
- Write the best possible answer to what the human being that is typing the keywords into the search engine is actually asking.
- Make your article unique, useful for real people, don't just re-hash what you have found in the top ten results in Google for >keyword<.
- Never link to 'bad neighborhoods' in your Wizzley articles. Never, ever!
- And yes, help to fight spam, scam, cons and spun content by flagging them for review by the Wizzley team. That is not mean, it helps those that don't know what quality guidelines are good for to learn the ropes – hopefully!
My follow up article
about how to find unique topics
Best Keyword research tool, that includes overlapping content detection and that I use for my own websites and content creation here on Wizzley, drumroll please .... Keyword Strategy, see discrete affiliate banner below ;-)
My blog about making money online the friendly way and what I have to say about article writing, start here with my blog post about >How to write a blog post, or any online article for that matter<.