Rewriting Articles to Avoid Duplicate Content Issues

SEO CopywritingThis is a going to be a cool post. One of my favorite clients has written HUNDREDS of articles about what he does… he’s an international motivational & keynote speaker, and pretty darn successful at it too! He works well with me as a client because he *get’s it*. He understands the hard work that goes into search engine optimization and asks ALL the right questions – joy! Joel understands there’s no magic button, although I wish sometimes there was! If I could make *it* happen any faster for my clients – trust me I’d be all over it πŸ™‚

Joel recently approached me about publishing his articles across different areas on the Internet. He wants his articles *out there* as they’re very helpful and informative in his area of expertise. The Keli “SEO-Red-Flag” ❗ went up… my first thought was duplicate content (remember folks, it’s a filter, NOT a penalty!) How could we make his articles “work” for him across different areas on the Internet? We discussed “unique content” and “unique articles” – after all, if Google has already indexed a copy of his articles, why should Google give ranking consideration to the same article in a different location?

His question to me:

“How different does my article need to be in order for it to be considered unique?”

WONDERFUL question Joel… and it beats me! I have no idea…. you’ll see articles everywhere discussing how unique your content should be but they don’t define “how unique” and to what capacity that uniqueness should be. One article mentioned that articles should be “50% different/unique” – but what the heck does that mean??? I’m a mathematician and understand percentages but I don’t have the gift/art of creating compelling copy for search engines yet this “50% unique content” idea kinda blows my lid a bit.

I don’t do much copy writing at all, for reasons you can probably already pick up on, but Joel does and does it well. He has a copywriter he depends on that needs to be up to date on *our* latest practices – he wants the most bang for his articles. His copy is GOLD – very informative, unique and very niche. He understands that he should create his copy as his keyword research dictates. The problem is… how to make all his wonderful articles work across the Internet, in different areas, in such a way that it’s not hit with the dup content filter (not penalty folks!)?

Joel did some research and came up with the following guidelines for his copywriter. Guidelines on how his articles should be *re-crafted* in order to be considered *unique*. He wants his message out there and wants it to work for him. It’s a wonderful list and makes sense to me. With his permission, he allowed to publish his research findings below (and yes, I even recreated his content to make it unique for myself!)

Tips for Rewriting your Article to Avoid the Duplicate Content Filter

In order to make your articles “count” in more places than one, when publishing around the Internet, they need to be somewhat “unique”. Unfortunately, there’s no numerical explanation or definition of the word “unique” when it comes to writing articles. You’ll see mention around the Internet that your articles should contain at least 50% “new content” for the newer article.

The idea is to turn 1 article into 2-3 articles based upon new concepts and/or angles related to the original article while maintaining some of the initial ideas and messages of the original article. Whew!


β€’ Read the article first so you have an idea of what it’s about. This helps with the rewriting process.
β€’ Make an outline of the original article. Take the gist of each paragraph in order to help put together an outline. Proceed to make a new article based on that outline, repeating only words or phrases that are quite essential to get your point across (be sure to include your original keyword research in strategic, key areas!)
β€’ Review the original article and select 3-4 non-developed ideas that exist in the article.


β€’ Reword and insert your own thoughts into the new article.
β€’ Include facts, quotes, stories and statistics.
β€’ Create a “Call to Action” at the end of the new article.
β€’ Change the headline to include your researched keyword phrases.
β€’ Add subheadings appropriately, users skim when they read!


β€’ Rewrite each of the sentences (structure and formation).
β€’ Rearrange the sentences of your new article in a logical way.
β€’ Changes words, phrases, and sentences (use a thesaurus or look at other sites).
β€’ Use synonyms to come up with new words that help to rework your sentences.
β€’ Add new opinions, comments, phrases and sentences to your rewritten article.
β€’ Change the order of things you list out in your articles (ex: Poppies, Zinnias and Marigolds are popular flowers to plant outside. Could be written as, These are some popular flowers to plant outside your home: Zinnias, Marigolds and Poppies).


β€’ Write a new paragraph around each of the non-developed 3-4 ideas found.
β€’ As long as it makes logical sense, swap the order of your sentences and/or paragraphs.
β€’ Review each paragraph-can you convey the same idea with different words?
β€’ Select a paragraph and turn it into a list of items. (Helps with the human scanning bit too!)

There’s your recipe, ie “cookbook” instruction set for creating new, unique articles based upon existing articles in such a way to avoid the duplicate content filter while at the same time getting your message out there in multiple places. If done properly this “could” help your overall SEO efforts of your main site if you utilize your articles correctly with researched keywords in your anchor text… but that’s a whole new post!

Thanks Joel!

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