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This is something that I was always wondering.

Case A: I have a website in a non-English language. If I find blog post articles from English websites, contact with them for permission and translate them to my local language with a link to the original source, will this improve the SEO or it will "somehow" count as plagiarism?

Case B: I have a bilingual website with English and non-English language. If I do the same as Case A and translate and publish the article only for the non-English language and don't add the English version which will be the same from the other website, will this improve the SEO or count as plagiarism?

  • Permission is permission. Attribution and canonical links aside, Google can use the various ontologies used for language translation when looking for duplicate content. I am sure G will not mark a single copy of translated work as duplicate, however, if it appears somewhere else later translated to the same language, then you may see some trouble. I always advise not using someone elses work for your profit. It may be legal, but bad Karma seems to follow at some point. I advise putting your effort into your own content and not someone elses. There is no real short-cut to Internet riches. – closetnoc Feb 5 '16 at 14:37
  • Of course it is better to have your own content. But what I described above is pretty common. In case of someone else translate it, doesn't count who published it first? And I am not talking about a blog which will be active only with this content. But a part of it. – Tasos Feb 5 '16 at 14:41
  • Just a friendly warning. It seems that Google has been having trouble with this lately and spam sites are once again able to scrape content and out rank the obviously original work. This is one of the recent disappointments out of a few. What you are doing is technically fine, legally fine, and morally fine. I was not warning against it for those reasons. Just letting you know that whatever performance gain you get can be a bit of a gamble. I guess this can be true even for original content too. Google does prefer original content however. Just saying. Cheers!! – closetnoc Feb 5 '16 at 14:52
  • Both options seem basically the same to me with one caveat. The second will have non-English pages that do not appear on your site in English. I am not sure if there is an effect for this. I suspect not - or if so - nothing significant to worry about. It will be interesting to see what others think on this. Cheers! – closetnoc Feb 5 '16 at 14:55
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In both cases, adding content to your site (whether original or a translation) does not per se improve SEO. What you need are inbound links. If those posts get you inbound links, then they will improve SEO. If they don't, other than possibly adding a few matches for non-competitive requests, they won't do much for you.

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There is a video at Google Webmasters Youtube channel that presents a slide with a closed list of what is considered by Google as a duplicate content:

What's duplicate content?

  • Exact same page, or same content (or piece of content)
  • www / non-www / http / https / index.html / ?utm=...
  • Separate mobile-friendly URLs, printer-friendly URLs, CDN hosts
  • Tag pages, press releases, syndicated content, same descriptions, etc.

Every website can have these things!

And then comes the list of what is not:

Not duplicate content

  • Translations
  • Different pages with same title & description
  • Content in apps
  • Localized content.. sometimes

So, at least for now, translations are counted as original creative works and may improve your SEO results (unless they look suspicious, i.e. cover topics not related to the rest of the website). As for duplicating English text (with author's permission, I hope), it will be penalised/not welcomed no more or less than in a case of another site (note "Every website can have these things" remark in the video). You can consider providing a link with rel="canonical" element in the <head> sections of both your and an author's pages as described in a Google Webmaster article. I can imagine that providing an additional visible link to original page can be valued as a good thing by search engines, but I have not seen anything official about it.

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