Google search results not always indicative of original source

Search results don't necessarily reflect what Google's algorithms consider the original source of content

Google search results not always indicative of original source

On June 13, 2024, during the Google SEO Office Hours Q&A session, a question was raised regarding content syndication and its impact on search results. The question specifically addressed a scenario where an article published first on a website appeared as a LinkedIn Pulse article in search results, with LinkedIn Pulse being recognized as the original publisher.

John Mueller, a Google Search specialist, clarified that search results don't necessarily reflect what Google's algorithms consider the original source of content. According to Mueller, syndication or republishing content across platforms involves a trade-off. On the one hand, it offers increased visibility on the syndication platform. However, there's a chance the other platform might rank higher in search results for the content compared to the original website.

Understanding Syndication and its Implications

Content syndication involves distributing content across different platforms. This strategy can be employed to reach a wider audience and potentially gain backlinks to the original website, which can be beneficial for SEO. However, as highlighted in the Google SEO Office Hours, syndication can also lead to the syndication platform appearing as the original source in search results.

Factors Affecting How Google Views Content Originality

Several factors can influence how Google's algorithms assess content originality in syndication scenarios. While Google hasn't publicly disclosed the exact criteria, some potential considerations include:

Publication Date: The date and time content is first published can be a factor. Content published earlier is generally considered the original source.

Content Completeness: Google may favor a more comprehensive version of the content, even if published later.

Schema Markup: Proper structured data markup can help indicate the original source to search engines.

Business Considerations for Website Owners

The decision to syndicate content involves a strategic choice for website owners. The potential benefits of increased visibility and audience reach on the syndication platform need to be weighed against the possibility of the platform ranking higher for the content in search results.

For website owners who prioritize their own website ranking in search results, minimizing syndication or implementing measures to establish their website as the original source (such as proper schema markup) might be preferable. Conversely, if brand awareness and expanding reach across different platforms is the primary objective, syndication can be a valuable strategy.

Overall, the Google SEO Office Hours discussion underscores the importance of website owners understanding the potential implications of content syndication and carefully considering their SEO and business goals when making decisions about content distribution strategies.

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