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I have a couple Real Estate sites for some clients, and I was wondering about APIs and how that would affect SEO.

Particularly, I'm looking at using the Yelp API for nearby stuff, and possibly a Google (or other) news feed for the particular neighborhoods. Since this information is essentially "duplicated," does this hurt SEO? Or, would the increase in content and cross-linking improve the SEO?

In searching for an answer to this question, it seems that just about everyone agrees that duplicate content is a bad thing for SEO (especially scraped content), but does this change anything since it's actually accessed by my websites in a legitimate manner?

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Duplicate content is duplicate content. There is no "legitimate manner" about it. Search engines just don't want it. –  John Conde Mar 7 '13 at 1:32
    
@John Conde, that is actually an answer. And a good "upvoting" type of answer too. –  DKOATED Mar 7 '13 at 13:53
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Showing data from another source on your website can cause your site to be penalized for duplicate content. You certainly need original content of your own. You can't build a site with just content from other sources.

Data from other sources that it relevant and useful to your users can be shown alongside your own original content.

When using data from an API there are some things that you can do to mitigate SEO duplicate content risk:

  • Prevent Googlebot from crawling it by using one of these techniques:
    • Put the pages that have it in robots.txt or use meta robots noindex tags.
    • Put the data in iFrames and put the iFrames in robots.txt
    • Use JavaScript and AJAX to load the data into the page. If you are using widgets provided by other sites, they mostly work this way.
  • Link back to the original source of the data. It should be a deep link to the page on the site that contains the text and data that you are using.
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