In our recent survey on marketing trends for channel partners and ISVs, most indicated coming up with consistent, original content was one of their biggest marketing challenges. At the same time, 67% of B2B buyers rely more on content to research and make purchasing decisions than they did a year ago (1).
Faced with a growing demand for content, but limited resources to produce it, what’s a marketer to do? For many clients we talk to, using duplicate content from software publishers seems like an easy path. Whether it’s blogs, page content or thought leadership pieces, readymade content can seem like a lifesaver for a drowning marketer.
But, is it? If ranking in search engines is important to you, then it may not be a lifesaver at all. Before we look at the various types of content and how to use them, let’s look at the bigger question…
Are you penalized by Google for using duplicate content?
You might be surprised to find the answer is no, not typically. Here’s an interesting blog by Kissmetrics that debunks some of the myths around duplicate content: 3 Myths About Duplicate Content.
Unless you are using content maliciously—to manipulate search engines—you likely will not be penalized. Google references wholesale duplication of pages across multiple domains as one example of “manipulation.” As long as you are using content as intended—as a single blog or page—you should be fine. HOWEVER, you will also not be rewarded for this content. In general, search engines will simply ignore this content when it’s ranking you. So if you’re investing in inbound marketing and expecting software publisher content to help you rank higher, it won’t happen.
Does that mean as a reseller you shouldn’t use any content provided by software publishers? No. It depends largely on the type of content, what you do with it and what you want to get from it. If the content is supplementing your original content, and you’re not expecting it to help with your search engine optimization, go for it.
What about using syndicated content?
Many software publishers today also provide what is called syndicated content, meaning is is not duplicate content from software publishers. Syndication is a great way to keep your site updated with the latest information on solutions. You don’t need to worry about updating content every time a version changes and you’re always using the latest branding and messaging. Although syndicated content is technically duplicate content, the benefits of using it may outweigh the downsides. The best way to use syndicated content is by using the “noindex” meta tag when pulling the content in. This stops Google from indexing it so there are no duplication penalties. Although syndication will usually not be considered manipulation, better safe than sorry.
If you’re reading this and your first thought is to rush off and grab every piece of vendor content available—STOP! Although you won’t be penalized, you will also not be rewarded. That means no inbound traffic and, maybe more important, no conversions. Ultimately, you are writing for people. You want to show them how you solve their problems. A site made up largely of content from others will do little to differentiate your company or engage a visitor.
While publisher content can help you fill gaps, the more original, high-value content you produce, the better your results for both inbound and outbound strategies. If you can’t create all the content you need in-house, agencies like The Partner Marketing Group can help you create original content AND the content marketing strategies that will maximize your content investment.
(1)Source: 2015 Content Preferences Survey, Demand Gen Report.