Article marketing is a great way to promote your sites: for every article you submit to an article directory, you typically get to place two or three links back to your own site(s), using anchor text of your choice. This results in link juice and referral traffic from the directory, and also any third party sites who pick up the article and republish it. However, many internet marketers are confused about the issue of duplicate content and what it means in practical terms for their submissions.
Basically, search engines are not too keen on returning listings with multiple copies of the same content, and not surprisingly, since this does not provide web searchers with a good user experience. So they tend to try and identify one copy of an article as the original, or preferred version, and devalue the rest in the listings. That doesn’t necessarily mean the other copies will not be listed at all, but just that they will appear lower down the rankings.
A common question that gets asked by article marketers is: is it OK to submit that same article to more than one directory? Personally I don’t see a problem with it – even if the versions that are identified as duplicates are suppressed in the search engine listings, there’s still a chance of getting referral traffic from the directories themselves, as well as any third-party reprints, and as long as they are not de-indexed completely by the search engines, you should still get the additional SEO benefits too.
Also, don’t forget that a large part of the article marketing strategy relies on your content being picked up and republished by website and ezine owners – so you’re going to have duplicate content “issues” anyway. And even if the worst happens and only one copy ends up in the search engine index, you haven’t lost anything. So there’s really no point in holding back – get your articles published as widely as possible to maximise the benefits that you may get from them!