Using quotes in content is not as difficult as it seems!

Blogging can be challenging for a host of reasons. People find it hard to focus on content AND the technical aspects of blogging, simultaneously. Matt Cutts of Google will tell you that you need to focus on quality content and the traffic will follow: that if you quote a bit of someone else’s copy, you will not get penalized for duplicate content.

Here are a few basic guidelines to keep you on the right side of the Google universe and get better ranking instead of penalties for quoting other sources.

How To Link To Citations And References

Google is built on the academic model of citation. People often fear linking to other articles. Some fear giving competitors traffic. Others are afraid that quoting an article is plagiarism. Remember that sites gain Google relevance by having other sites link to them as a source. As long as your content is great, the original content owners will not mind so long as you quote them sparingly and provide a clear link to their work.

Berkely university published an article that has this to say in regards to proper academic practices:

Whenever you quote or base your ideas on another person’s work, you must document the source you used. Even when you do not quote directly from another work, if reading that source contributed to the ideas presented in your paper, you must give the authors proper credit.

Important Points to Remember

  • Use quote wrap tags – Google’s latest Panda and Penguin updates require that you provide a clear link above the quoted material TO the quoted material, and that you use the quote wrap tags to show the exact quote you are discussing. See above.You must make sure that the wording is the same as the site you are referencing, but that just makes your job easier. It really is just a click and paste with wrap tags.
  • Don’t go overboard with the volume you are quoting. Google favors sites and blogs that add to the discussion, not merely pass on the same information. Your quoted material should be only one or two small paragraphs, and it probably ought to be less than twenty percent of the body of text. Although the exact proprietary numbers will never be released on this exact formula, I have found through personal experience that Google seems to not only mind that mix, but reward it.
  • Don’t just quote what someone else said. After doing so, make sure you discuss whether or not you agree and why.
  • The best option is to use two different citations with quotes, to draw a unique conclusion of your own. This diversity will be rewarded.
  • By being a responsible writer giving credit where credit is due, Google will reward you with a higher serp placement and a more trusted domain.
  • The best sites to link with and cite are university and government sites. They have nearly perfect domain rankings due to the volume of work they carry, the amount of users entering data, and thanks to their unique suffixes, Google knows them instantly. If it’s a “.edu” or “.gov” site, your citations are usually worry free.
  • Be aware that if you use their content in a misleading way, they can apply to Google to have the link removed, and you may receive a penalty that will decrease your page and domain relevance. Don’t change their copy. If you disagree simply state why after the quote.

Doing these few things will make sure you’re in compliance with Google’s terms of service, add to a discussion on a topic with unique content of your own, and get higher SERP placement and more traffic.

Jake Burns