How to Rank Duplicate Content Without Cheating


To begin, this post is not a black hat tutorial teaching how to build spam-scraper-copyright-infringing websites. Rather we’ll highlight simple white hat techniques to successfully republish and rank “duplicate” content, all the while creating new value for users.  Please don’t use these methods for evil.

In my opinion the tactic outlined herein is one of the most fun white hat “give it up” tips we encountered in 2009.  We’ve used it successfully with clients since we discovered Michael Gray, (@GrayWolf) Owner of Atlas Web Services, testing it out on his SES Chicago 2008 AIMCLEAR Blog video interview and others.

Pathology of a Clever SEO Play
After we published our video-only Michael Gray interview, GrayWolf had the v-dialog with our Manny Rivas transcribed and then posted the conversation as text on one of his blogs. So far as search engines go, the duplication is not perceived as duplicate content. Though technology exists for ‘engines to consume and transcribe audio tracks from online videos, the duplicity does not yet count as duplicate content.

This is a simple and powerful SEO method. Let’s have a look at some Google SERPs. First check out the last result on Google’s page 1 for the query “AIMCLEAR.” Make sure to search unpersonalized.  Keep in mind that “AIMCLEAR” is a well-defended term, with tons of authority-sites linking into our site on the anchor-text “AIMCLEAR.”


It gets better! There are many interviews with Michael Gray out there, from powerful publications, in the SERPs. Even so note that GrayWolf’s transcription blog,, ranks for the transcription of our video as the unpersonalized 7th result for the query “Michael gray Interview.” Good work! It ranks above the original.


Of course it helps that our pal covered link-building basics to his .name property. The site has decent authority, for an SEO test-site, as indicated by

Try Things in Reveres: Tactical Variation
We’ve successfully tested 4 permutations of this technique. This is our favorite:

  • Make a talking-head video of your own blog’s written-only post.
  • Post the video on YouTube with optimized tags.
  • Embed the YouTube video in new blog post, offering the previous text-only post to users as a video value-add.
  • Link build to the YouTube video and the new blog post from third party sites on relevant anchor text.
  • The original written-only post should rank.
  • Pretty soon you could see the YouTube video ranking Google’s organic Universal search results.
  • The new blog post can rank as well, making it a three-for-the-price-of one deal.
  • Users are happy because there are multiple ways to consume the content.
  • This “three-fer” is super for reputation defense on names and other keywords, for the purpose of sentiment defense in the SERPs.

Use It Our Lose It, Nothing Lasts Forever
Arguably this approach should be allowed and we’d encourage Google to tread softly. Since AIMCLEAR only provided audio & video of the interview some content consumers, those who take in their content on non-video-enabled devices, are excluded. To our mind, Michael added value to our post. Count on the fact that we now follow our interviews around and will post our own transcriptions from now on 🙂 .

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