Since Google launched the Panda algorithm, it has become more critical for content publishers to confirm they are the original creators of the content on your website.
You can do this very simply by setting up the XML sitemap on your content management system (CMS).
Panda is programmed to identify duplicate content and prevent content publishers from stealing other people’s work, with by copy pasting the text directly or scraping the content to avoid detection.
Google wants original content on every web page and the XML sitemap helps search engines to index the content quicker and establish the original source.
Duplicate content and syndications
The first issue, Google attempted to tackle with Panda was duplicate content. There were many instances where online business owners were using copy from a competitor’s website.
The moral and legal issue here is that duplicate content is effectively stealing. Imagine how you would feel if you paid a copywriter £300 to draft the words for your website, then somebody else used the copy you have paid for on their website?
This unscrupulous practice was very common and still continues today despite the efforts of Panda to prevent it. Now, the tactic is to alter the odd word so that Googlebots cannot detect a duplication.
When Panda does detect duplicate content, the site is excluded from search results. If you have not installed your XML sitemap to confirm you are the original creator of the content, search engines may index the third party site first and remove you from search results.
Therefore XML sitemaps are essential to stake claim to your content.
The other problem search engines face is syndication whereby publishers post the same content on third party sites, typically articles and marketing copy designed to drive traffic back to their principle domain.
How to install XML sitemaps
Installing XML sitemaps is fairly easy to do. Most content management systems have automated sitemaps which means you don’t have to do anything. Surprisingly however, WordPress, the most popular CMS on the web does not offer this service.
If you have a WP system therefore, the best option is to install the Yoast SEO plugin, which gives you several other benefits as well as protecting your content.
Once you have created your sitemaps, you need to register them with search engines. It’s pretty straightforward and self-explanatory.
In Google Webmaster Tools, go to “crawl” and in Bing Webmaster Tools Sitemaps are under “Configure My Site.”
By taking this step, search engines will crawl your site to index new content whenever you submit a new post. This will eliminate the potential for other webmasters to use the RSS feed to pull you content on to their site where there is a chance it can be indexed first and identify them as the original creator.
Updating sitemaps is worth doing. Can you imagine how you would feel and the hassle you would have to go to if your website is pulled offline because you are deemed to have duplicated content from another website? That’s going to hurt if you have paid for it!
Move It Marketing SEO Services
Move It Marketing are a boutique digital marketing agency with a love for organic search (and in particular technical SEO). We don’t dilute our efforts by working with a large number of clients, and provide a granular service with attention to detail. If you have experienced problems with SEO on your site, get in touch and we will take a look with a view to providing you with an initial mini SEO audit free of charge.