You spend hours, if not days, writing a great blog post. The last thing you want is for it not to be seen, right?
So, what do you do to ensure it gets seen? You share it on your social media profiles, tell a few friends to promote it and then repost the exact same blog post on other sites like Medium and LinkedIn.
The question is: should you be doing this? Will reposting your content hurt your SEO or drive you more traffic and sales?
Reposting can hurt your SEO if done wrong
At KISSmetrics, we let others repost our blog posts. We push out the exact same content on sites like Entrepreneur.com and Search Engine Journal.
When we first started doing this, we saw an increase in referral traffic by around 9,492 visitors a month, and our search traffic stayed consistent. Then Google rolled out a Panda update, and this is what happened to our traffic:
We lost a whopping 225,418 visitors a month. More specifically, we lost 225,418 visitors from Google each month.
Eventually, we recovered from the penalty, but our search traffic still isn’t as high as it used to be.
What I learned is that reposting your content on sites more authoritative than yours, even if you publish it first on your blog and have them link back, can cause a duplicate content penalty.
We fixed this potential penalty problem by getting sites like Entrepreneur.com to use a rel=canonical.
If you aren’t familiar with rel=canonical, look at the image above. It’s the source code from Entrepreneur.com. As you can see, it has a line of code that states:
<link rel=”canonical” href=”https://blog.kissmetrics.com/words-that-enhance-trust/” />
By using this code, Entrepreneur.com is telling Google to give all credit for that page to KISSmetrics and not to index the Entrepreneur.com page within Google’s search results.
So, if you are going to repost your content, make sure the sites you repost on use a rel=canonical.
What sites should you repost on?
As I mentioned above, you need to publish content only on sites that are willing to use a rel=canonical. Most big sites such as Medium or LinkedIn don’t give you full control.
That means when you republish your content on these sites, even if you link back to the original article, eventually you will get penalized. In this case, you have a few options:
- Rewrite the content – you can rewrite your blog post and then publish it on these sites so that the content isn’t duplicate.
- Talk to the site owner – there is no harm in asking the site owner or editor to add a rel=canonical. We did this with Entrepreneur Magazine, and they gladly added it to their site even though it required development work on their end.
- Post the content on the other site only – sometimes it’s best to publish your highest quality posts on other people’s sites and not yours. You will get branding, a link back to your site, and maybe some sales. In most cases, the big sites want exclusivity, so you won’t be able to repurpose this content on your blog or other people’s blogs.
From a practical standpoint, I aim for option #2 first. If that doesn’t work, I go for option #3 next… I rarely consider option #1.
Whatever you do, keep in mind that it is not all right to have duplicate content roaming around the web without a rel=canonical. In the short run, you may get more traffic, but eventually Google will penalize you.
Republish your content in different languages
In addition to letting authority sites republish my blog posts, I’ve tested republishing my content in different countries. I let foreign-language sites take content from Quick Sprout, translate it, and republish it.
I have been doing this for years, and so far I haven’t been hit by any Panda update. The majority of the reposts do not use a rel=canonical, but the most recent ones do.
I could be wrong, but from what I am experiencing on Quick Sprout, Google doesn’t seem to regard content in a different language as duplicate.
This could be because the content is translated by humans, not computers. Which means it won’t be an exact match to the original and thus will not be considered a duplicate.
I recommend that you let others translate your content and republish it on their sites. It will expose you to a whole new audience. Just make sure to ask the sites’ owners to use a rel=canonical in case Google changes its algorithm.
Don’t repost a portion of your blog post
Resposting the first paragraph of your blog post is fine, but when you start reposting a few paragraphs or more, you are asking for trouble.
There doesn’t seem to be a workaround for this. When we reposted our KISSmetrics’ content on Entrepreneur.com, we got penalized even though we had more unique content on the original page than on Entrepreneur.com.
If we reposted the same content, how is it that ours was more unique? Our posts contained comments, while Entrepreneur.com’s didn’t. Which means we had more unique – user-generated – content on our site than they did… but we still got hit by the penalty.
To see just how sophisticated Google’s algorithm is, look at the screenshot below. Google not only knows if your content is duplicate, but it also automatically notifies you if it determines that the user-generated content on your site is spam.
This is why you shouldn’t play games with Google, especially when it comes to duplicate content or spamming.
Reposting your content won’t help you generate much more traffic than you already have. I’ve tested this concept with authority sites that get over five million visitors a month. It’s very rare that they ever drive more than 1,000 visitors from a repost.
If you are planning on using this tactic, do it from a branding perspective. Any extra traffic it drives back to you should be considered a bonus. And when using it, make sure you use a rel=canonical.
Are you going to repost your blog content on other people’s websites?