There are a number of misconceptions about search engines, especially Google, and how they treat blog posts and articles. One such misconception is called “duplicate content.” The myth is that if you submit the same content to a bunch of different places, you’ll be penalized for having the same content in multiple locations. If this were true, article directories would have died long ago.
Syndication is a good thing. If a bot comes across multiple domains with the same content, it will algorithmically determine which URL best represents the duplicate content. If you have duplicate content on your site, the bot will do the same thing. The search engines’ job is to provide searchers with the best representatives of the data they’re looking for, not provide different URLs with the same content.
The easiest way to reduce the potential of being labeled a “search engine deceiver” is to create a noindex meta tag for the duplicate content. This tells the bot to ignore it.
Of course, if you have a large amount of duplicate content on your site, you will be penalized and labeled an online nuisance. In retaliation, the search engines may stop indexing your site or, at the very least, reduce its ranking considerably. Think this is hard to do? Well, if you have an online version and a print version of the same content, you technically have duplicate content. So, for the print version, create the noindex tag and you’re golden.
Why do I mention this? If you’re planning on submitting the same blog post or articles to a variety of places, you can do this confidently knowing you won’t get dinged for having the same content in many locations. However, understand that only one site will rank the highest and others might not be ranked at all.
This means you need to be strategic about how you post items. If you want a blog post to rank on your site, put it there first. If you’re submitting an article to a directory, then you’ll want to submit to the high-end authority site like EzineArticles.com first.
If you’d like to read more about duplicate content issues, you can find in-depth information at Google Webmaster Central.