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PDF's and duplicate content

should I let other websites host my PDF's

12:17 pm on Feb 7, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Hi there,

Just wondering if anyone could help.

We offer our product brochures in PDF format. We have recently signed up to a directory that would like to host our product brochures in the same format.

Will this be seen as duplicate content, and will we be penalised?

Thank you for any help

5:45 pm on Feb 7, 2007 (gmt 0)

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My experience is don't.

My company has invested quite a bit in white papers. We allowed are partners to post them on their sites, and this may have been a factor in our being inflicted with the -30 penalty (no way of knowing that for sure of course).

Adam Lasnik has written about duplicate content. Go to the 'Official Google Webmaster Central' blog and you'll find his comments. Summary: G does not like duplicated content. Because white papers generally are content heavy, my guess is it's a very bad thing.

Our response was to have them on our site only, and to get our partners to link to us but with the PDF loading into another browser window - so that the prospect stayed on their site.

If they insist on hosting them (and they might) then put them into a separate directory on their servers, and use robots.txt to exclude spiders from that directory - just like you would 'printer friendly' pages.

6:47 am on Feb 8, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I would say it is a great idea to distribute PDFs if you have already implemented it on your site some time back and Google has cached it on your site.

Google is very clear while penalizing duplicate content, it will never penalize the original site.

Infact PDF distribution is a good way of content syndication and a good viral marketing technique too. Make sure to put a link on the PDF that takes users back to your site.

Once again, you can share your PDF with as many partners as you want if the PDF has been there on your site for some time (Google has come and seen it).

One more argument to support this - if Google could penalize in this case, people could easily download PDFs and publish them on thier sites to get competitors in bad names with Google.

10:51 am on Feb 8, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Thanks guys

Two great posts, which both seem logical!

Still don't know which way to go on this one.

Tempted to just go for it, but still quite cautious. Don't want any kind of penalty after spending so much time on SEO.

12:19 pm on Feb 8, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I would say you wont get penalised.

But the sites hosting the pdfs may get indexed for the content instead of you even if you have had the content for a while - especially if they have much higher pagerank.

If you dont mind that then its not a problem.

robots exclusion if it is an option would solve all problems though

12:38 pm on Feb 8, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I try once more...

1. If the content is already cached on your site, there is no way Google will think it belongs to other sites you submit it to. No matter what the PR is.

2. When you can get a backlink from these documents submitted in the sites, why would you disallow search engines in robot.txt

Has anyone heard of content syndication. I know almost all SEOs submit the articles already implemented on the site to other resources to get backlings and in tern get higher Page Rank.

Let me know if the fundamentals have changed?

12:46 pm on Feb 8, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I would get the HTML pages indexed, and keep the PDF version out of the index.

The HTML page should have a prominent "download PDF brochure" link within.


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