Q: Everyone heralds the effectiveness of data feeds, but what about the fallout – duplicate content? Search engines (most notably Google) are known to penalize web pages – and sometimes entire websites – that contain “substantially duplicate content” (Google’s own words). Is it worth the risk of having your entire retail site dip in the organic serp’s because hundreds of affiliates share the same content as your site?
A: You bring up a good point. When numerous people are serving up duplicate content, nobody really benefits.
The search engine algorithms consider a number of factors when determining the relevancy of a given site. One of those is the duplication of content.
Plainly speaking, Google doesn’t want to serve up a results page that is dominated by the a list of sites that feature duplicate content. It takes away from the integrity of their results and provides the end user with a lousy experience.
I certainly don’t think it’s worth risking the placement of your organic listing in exchange for the hope that hundreds of affiliates with duplicate copy will provide an incremental benefit.
You are bound to see diminishing returns if you open the flood gates and make your data feeds publicly available without any sort of gatekeeping.
I would suggest having your data feed(s) password protected and work with affiliates that will bring some sort of unique approach to the way your data feeds ae displayed.
When you provide the data feed to the affiliates, you are giving them raw material. It’s a blank canvas that requires their creative display, extraction and enhancement.
It’s all about adding value to the user, because that’s the reason Google is indexing the sites of your affiliates in the first place.