Therapists are often told they should maintain their blogs. To not only market themselves and their services, but to share their knowledge. As a therapist, you may get behind on blogging due to being busy at your practice. Or you struggle with blogging because you can’t find the inspiration. It all makes sense. However, this creates opportunities for therapists to turn to pre-written therapist content and pre-written social media posts.
This pre-written therapist content may be convenient but comes with perils. Ones that can directly affect your SEO and cost you clients. In this blog, I will talk about the perils that come with pre-written therapist content and pre-written social media posts for therapists.
First, I want to put it out there that I understand why a therapist would want to choose pre-written therapist content. It’s convenient and makes it easy for a therapist who is busy, doesn’t like writing, or isn’t good at it. However, when you choose services that provide you with pre-written blogs, pre-written social media posts, or just pre-written therapist content in general, you risk the odds of having the same material as someone else. This is called duplicate content. Duplicate content is when content is similar or even the exact same content on other websites or even your own.
These services don’t take away options once someone chooses them. The services tell the clients they can personalize them and hope that some will. So maybe the posts will be less identical. But, why did you choose a pre-written blog or social media post in the first place? So you didn’t have to write it yourself. So, the odds of someone personalizing the pre-written content to where they are not even a sliver of the same is very slim. Which means there is duplicate content on your and another person’s page. This also means Google will notice there is duplicate content and there can be consequences.
Google Will Find Out
Why should you worry about duplicate content and Google finding it? Google states in their terms of service, “We want to maintain a respectful environment for everyone, which means you must follow these basic rules of conduct: – comply with applicable laws, including export control, sanctions, and human trafficking laws -respect the rights of others, including privacy and intellectual property rights”. Google then goes on to say “Your content remains yours, which means that you retain any intellectual property rights that you have in your content.
For example, you have intellectual property rights in the creative content you make, such as reviews you write. Or you may have the right to share someone else’s creative content if they’ve given you their permission. We need your permission if your intellectual property rights restrict our use of your content. You provide Google with that permission through this license.” Google clearly states that they need your permission to share your content. Just like you need permission to share others’ content. This is why the license to use Google is the agreement to share your content with them. So they can use it to track patterns of data along with preventing spam, malware, and illegal content.
Google also goes on to define your content as “Your content: Some of our services give you the opportunity to make your content publicly available — for example, you might post a product or restaurant review that you wrote, or you might upload a blog post that you created”. So, to specifically highlight that Google even points out that blog posts that people write and share are covered by intellectual property rights. This means if the owner of the original content finds out you’re sharing their content without their permission, you can be sued.
Ownership of Pre-Written Content
So having large amounts of duplicate content can have some negative impact on Google rankings. They claim it is highly unlikely but can happen. But, Google will also not be sure who the original content’s owner is. Unless you submit a DMCA request to claim ownership of the content. A DMCA is a legal request also sent to the infringing website owner requesting the content to be removed. Also, Google will also be unsure of which version of the pre-written content to keep in its indices. This will lead to Google having to decide which version of the content is the most trustworthy and which will be linked to during search results.
The trouble for you as the website owner with the duplicate pre-written therapist content, this means you might not be getting recognition or credit for the content. Google will have to choose one site to be the authority on this blog post’s content. They will divert all search traffic from Google searches to the one they deem the most trustworthy and less to the duplicates. This means, if Google does not deem you the original content provider or the authority on this topic, you will not get any search results for it. It can also negatively impact your rankings.
Google has also stated that in some circumstances, that duplicate content can lead to penalties. Or, the complete deindexing of a website. However, there is no specific duplicate content penalty, and mostly happens to websites that scrape content from other sites. But, this means that if your website has an excessive amount of duplicate content, Google may completely deindex your website where it will not come up in search results at all.
It is rare but if Google notices that you are continuously posting pre-written content that is posted on other sites, it could be a cause for concern. It could put your website and all of your hard work in harm’s way. Also, it could also damage your credibility. However, as stated above, the original owner of the content can submit a DCMA request to have the content removed from your website.
This Affects Your SEO
As I mentioned above, Google won’t know who wrote your content originally. It will just see that the pre-written content is duplicated on multiple pages. It will have to choose out of all the duplicate content who receives the authority, and trust. Along with getting the Google search results rankings. This means that if you’re not the authority or main page, you can really lower your rankings if you continuously use pre-written content that is also used by others.
However, if you are the main page or the authority, it can also have a negative impact. Your rankings may be strong at first but as more people duplicate the same pre-written content, it will slowly impact your rankings. This will also lead to people finding your website and content less and less, which leads to fewer clients. No therapist or private practice wants that.
How Does Pre-Written Content Affect Your SEO?
Besides leading to fewer rankings, duplicate content can result in less organic traffic as Google likes to avoid ranking pages that use duplicate content found on other websites and pages. This can be from someone scraping your content, having multiple of the same pages on your website, or even having printable versions of your URL.
Sometimes Google doesn’t want to rank it at all and will even refuse to index your pages with duplicate content. Which means your content isn’t even searchable on Google. Which can burn your website’s crawl budget on all your duplicate content. For the person who wrote the original content, it can lead to a dilution of backlinks. It can even look as if they purchased backlinks, which is a way to lessen credibility.
Now, not only can it affect your website and rankings, but it’s not ethical. Some services will take content from other sites where the content is original and use them for pre-written content services. This not only will affect you by having duplicate content on your site but affect the original content’s owner because their authority on the topic will be questioned. It also will appear as if they have duplicate content when they wrote the post. It also will hurt their SEO.
Which is an unfair byproduct of this process. However, the original content that they expertly wrote where can end up on the website of a therapist who is not an expert on that topic. It leads to the therapist who chose the pre-written content advertising they are an expert. When in reality, it was content pulled from an expert’s website.
As a Copywriter, I Would Prefer You Wrote Your Own Blogs
I am the copywriter for Simplified SEO Consulting and I write for our clients by request. I absolutely love my job as I get to write about interesting topics and tailor all content to the client’s voice. I’m saying this because I would rather you, a therapist or mental health professional, write your own blogs and social media posts over using pre-written, canned content. If you’re struggling with writing for your website, consider hiring a copywriter. Because a copywriter will be able to individualize your content and you won’t have to worry about it being a duplicate.
Here are some of our favorite SEO Sources and what they say about duplicate content:
- https://developers.google.com/search/docs/crawling-indexing/consolidate-duplicate-urls?hl=en&visit_id=638036090641072996-3966328779&rd=1 (Google’s terms of services)
About the Author:
Lynsey is an SEO Content Specialist at Simplified SEO Consulting. At Simplified, Lynsey enjoys writing original content for clients and their practices. She realizes that writing quality, original content is important not only to her clients, but to their practice and the clients that go there too! Especially, with the content being used as a resource or even just to boost a client’s SEO. Her goal is to always create content that resonates with the client and learn as much as she can along the way. She is passionate about providing copywriting services for psychiatrists and therapists.
Schedule your next consultation if you’re ready to see how Simplified can serve you!