Whether you have been around the internet for 10 years or 10 minutes, as a marketer you probably know that duplicate content is a definite no-no online. However, unique content is inextricably linked to this issue; in fact, while the entire internet “universe” is very familiar with the term “unique content,” it’s likely that this came about as a result of the whole issue of duplicate content, and what exactly that means. Chances are that if you read about the definition of duplicate content on a forum, blog and website, you would get three different definitions. This seems to be an area that is a bit “gray,” so to speak, as it doesn’t seem that anyone is 100% positive regarding what duplicate content actually is.
What is clear is that when you take website copy straight from another site and place it on your own, it is duplicate content (and plagiarism, in fact). For years, marketers have argued back and forth about article directories, and how placing a single article on several article directories results in duplicate content. In fact, this is NOT duplicate content – it is syndication. Other webmasters use article directories as a source of content for their own websites, however they will not be penalized for duplicate content. Duplicate content actually applies more to your own website than others. If you put a page of content on your own site twice, and those pages are exactly the same, it is considered duplicate content.
Now, on to unique content and its importance. Many marketers feel that if a piece of content (article, web page, etc.) passes CopyScape or other plagiarism software, they have unique content. And this is true, to a point. However, an article can be “spun” in a way that while it says exactly the same thing, the words are simply switched around or synonyms used so that the text passes CopyScape. Is this unique content? That’s questionable.
In our view, unique content is pure content, text that is truly original and that has been written from scratch rather than spun from other content. Many marketers may visit several different websites, take a paragraph here and a paragraph there from each, then put their own “spin” on it. Is this unique content? It’s hard to say, but it seems that in the true sense of the word, unique content would be content that offers a perspective, opinion or fact that has not been already discussed to excess online. Regardless of the true meaning, unique content is what helps websites rank well in the search engine results.
In all honesty, unique content is likely a comfortable medium in between two extremes; a new perspective that is freshly written by a real person, even though it may cover ground that has been discussed before (this is particularly true in competitive or popular niches, where it’s hard to find a subject that hasn’t already been covered thoroughly). Content that is well written, informational and written from a fresh perspective vs. rehashed content that is the “same old thing” every other website in your niche offers is highly recommended if you want to succeed online.