Wednesday, February 4, 2009

2 easy, time-consuming steps to edit articles and avoid duplicate content penalties

(photo credit: tanakawho)

2 Easy steps to Non-Duplicate your Articles and posts
(warning this takes time - lots of it)

As I do some freelance web design (mostly rebuilding others' botched attempts), I infrequently run into having to convert text and make it non-duplicative to avoid Google penalties.

Last week, I spent most of a day trying to find decent programs for this. The usual approach is to semi-automate it, so that you wind up with trashy text that makes no sense. The reason this survives is because there are a percentage of people who believe in "get rich quick" type of actions. Their problem is that they want to submit articles to a bunch of article directories all at once, but have these each be different so they all show up in Google.

Their method is to use a few synonyms for common modifiers and nouns. When you crank these out on automatic with no editing, people won't click through on these and the editors of those article directories will reject them (and all the good directories are still human-reviewed.) Not to mention the problem is that the real reason you are putting up articles so people click through to your site - not just to get search engines to find you. You want quality content every single time, just not the same identical content.

Here's the real solution: WordFlood 1.2 In this, you can go through and edit each word with multiple possibilities - and even add your own modifiers or nouns, and also edit the text completely if you want. The video on that linked page shows you how to do it. And if you like version 1.2, you can always buy 2.0 - which is even better.

The trick is to save your modified version as a second copy.

Here's the non-duplicative recipe:
  1. Separate each paragraph in the original with an empty line in between.
  2. Make two versions in addition to the original, as mentioned above.
  3. Open all three up on your desktop (helps if you have more than one monitor), plus a blank fourth one. Use a simple text editor, not a resource-heavy word processor - you want straight text output.
  4. Take the first paragraph from the original version, the second paragraph from the second version, the third one from the third - and then go on down the page, copy and pasting paragraphs in original order from the different versions, all into that blank fourth document.
  5. When you end up, give it a completely new title.
  6. Now that fourth one is a completely new version based on the first three.
You have to keep the paragraph structure the same, but you can add or take out sentences to make those versions each flow and make sense. (And if you want, you can mix up the paragraph sequence on that final copy - it just has to still make sense and invite reader action.)

At this point, you have the original and three other versions of that article - and none should give you penalties (Google, by report, won't penalize if you have 40% of the original changed.) I've seen the exact same article show up on various article directories as long as the template was changed. (Of course this is a great solution for PLR articles.)

But our use isn't article submission, it's making good web page copy. That's why I showed you this system.

If you do want to automate it further, I'd suggest a free program which is just a spreadsheet, actually. But it works right there at your own computer with nothing better than OpenOffice or (shudder) MSWord. And the unlocked version allows you to see the code so you can modify it anyway you want (just one formula runs the whole spreadsheet). It's not all that pretty, but it works - and is very fast.

Example -
I've been working as freelance for a guy who wrote his own CMS system on the idea of taking on a lot of basement repair franchises. (This quickly expanded into all sorts of sites, however. Nothing succeeds like success.)

The basic layout of these basement sites generally have just a few subjects: wet basements, cracked walls, sagging floors, mold, bowed walls, crawl spaces. So after we've done a few of these, I have quite a set of old and new content which tends to repeat itself. Most of these guys are using the same products, so that makes it even more redundant.

To make myself a speed demon at execution ( I get paid by the site, not by the hour), I'll set up a set of folders with these various articles in them - according to type.
  1. Now, copy that spreadsheet and all over your original article versions into each of these folders - according to subject.
  2. Then make your three versions above - using Word Flood - and copy each paragraph of those three versions into that spreadsheet.
  3. The spreadsheet uses a random function to take these paragraphs from each, just like you manually did above.
  4. Just copy the output into your text editor, give it a final look-over, change the title - and then copy/paste it into your web editor and add some images. Format to taste, rinse and repeat.

Once you've done all the hard work once, you can then reap the rewards of a speed-demon setup thereafter. Time invested isn't time wasted - as long as you aren't doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

It doesn't mean you shortcut anything else, but if you are stretched for copy, this is a simple way to do it. And once you've spent all that time getting it set up, don't re-invent the wheel every time you need more copy... been there, done that.

Of course, this builds as you go. So make sure you back everything up against hard-drive failure.

Good luck with this...
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