I have sat in on many client meetings discussing content strategies and their effect on SEO. I have also heard many people (client-side) inform me, “Don’t worry, we don’t copy our content anywhere else to make sure we don’t get into trouble with Google”. This is the very common case of a little bit of SEO knowledge can do a lot of damage.
The reality is, if you are writing a blog post that is truly and uniquely yours, why shouldn’t you repost it in another place to ensure you get as many benefits as possible? It makes perfect sense and you should definitely do it.
I am sure by now some of you are already thinking, “no, no, no, if you do this it will cause duplicate content issues with your own website and it will confuse Google and cause damage”. This is quite simply nonsense and here’s why.
Somewhere down the line, duplicate content got a really bad name
At some point duplicate content was tarnished with being a rankings killer and a lot of people in SEO advised that there should be no duplication anywhere. I am not sure whether it was when the Google Panda algorithm was updated or whether it was before then, but at some point people in the SEO world got really scared of duplicate content and began avoiding it like the plague.
Sure, there are some cases where duplicate content can be bad. For example, if you create hundreds of landing pages targeting a service such as “computer repair” and use the same content on every page, altering just the location, you can bet that Google will catch you out eventually and hurt you for too much unnecessary and duplicate content. However, this is just one rare case of where Google penalises duplicate content. Somehow this advice has spilled out, making people think that all duplicate content is bad and should be dealt with.
Duplicate content is already everywhere and part of the web
The reality is that duplicate content is already everywhere and a constant part of the web that Google is very good at dealing with. A very obvious example of this is the header or main menu of a website, as this is copied across each page on entire websites, but do you think Google looks at this suspiciously? No, Google understands this is the main part of navigation and moves on.
You can also see hundreds of sites that copy and scrape content from other sites all the time. All it takes is a quick search in Copyscape to see this. Look at this example from Search Engine Land, where segments of the content are copied. In some cases, there can be the entire article copied and the biography can be found on other sites. Do you think Google penalises all of these sites or do you think it just discovers the true source article and ranks that? It is definitely the latter.
What would happen in the offline world?
Always compare it with something in the offline world. If you create an advertorial for a magazine and another one wants to use it for their audience, would you be concerned about using the same content? Sure, there may be some parts to alter to possibly tailor it more to the audience, but overall you’d likely keep it the same. It is the same in the digital world. If you place an article on a blog for a particular audience, there is no issue posting that blog elsewhere for a different audience.
The original source will always get the benefit
When you repost a blog, the original article will be understood to be the original source in Google’s eyes, and that is the article which will get the most weight in Google’s index. Having a copy of that post on another website will not harm it in any way. Google understands it is there to serve that blogs audience only.
Repost your article to your advantage
People shouldn’t shy away from reposting articles and should be seeing it as a great advantage to expand its visibility. Think about it, why shouldn’t you be allowed to repost your own content onto other areas so that a larger audience sees it? It’s a great way to maximise the benefits of your content creation.
Let’s look at an example of a good method of reposting your content. First off, they will post the article on their own blog to ensure that it gets the credit from being the original source, they will then wait a couple of days to give time for search engines to index the article and then plan to send it out to other platforms. Two very common ones are LinkedIn Pulse and Medium. LinkedIn Pulse is always a great start to this as this shares the content directly to your entire connections list. Medium is another good option that is heavily linked with Twitter to bring in your contact list from there.
Using additional platforms like these allows you to make sure as many relevant people as possible see your content and still leaves your original intact to gain traction from search engines.
Make sure you link to the original source
Whilst doing all of this, there is one thing to remember: Always link back to the original source to help both people and search engines know where it has come from!
Google does a great job at working out the original content but make it obvious for them so they don’t get it wrong. Linking back saying this is the original post makes this loud and clear.
In summary: Don’t shy away from duplicate content. Repost your article, otherwise you are just wasting potential opportunities to maximise your time creating content. I will end with the following points:
- Duplicate content is not bad
- Duplicate content is already everywhere and Google is already dealing with it
- Google rarely penalises website for duplicate content
- If you repost your blog posts, link back to the original source