This is a big question right now in the SEO industry, since historically, we have always believed that reprints are valuable for linking—provided we attributed proper credit and a backlink in the appropriate place. After all, this was the idea behind the successful “article directory”, sites like Ezine Articles, Helium, and so on.

And to this day, there is no official confirmation from Google or Yahoo that reprints are a bad thing. However, we do have to consider a broader view of the online industry in order to get our answer. When Google Penguin and Google Panda were released, the first sites to suffer from penalized pages and lower traffic were article directories. The shakeup caused major sites like E-How (Demand Studios) and Ezine Articles to restructure the way they accepted and published submissions.

Google has stated repeatedly that they are interested in quality original material, not endlessly recycled material. Well, does reprinting one original article count as original material? Does it make your site a content “mill” like all those other cheap sites that turn out low quality work?

The answer is simply, “use your common sense”. There are still some sites that can successfully run a reprinted article, because of their reputation, and because they make sure the article hasn’t been over-posted. They want to benefit by being one of the “first” sites to publish the article so they can benefit from the seniority of the link. And no, article directories have not been knocked out of the picture entirely. They are still gaining high traffic from some of their pages.

Think about a huge publication like Time or Newsweek. They have every right to run reprinted articles if they choose to do so – and rest assured, when they make this decision they have a specific purpose. Their entire lineup is not reprints but original features. In a similar manner, your website (which is trying to benefit from quality writing) cannot merely be satisfied with reprinted material.

It’s far more impressive to the likes of Google, Yahoo and Bing to publish original features and occasional reprints, so that you can experience the benefits of being a competitive e-zine or blog.