Is it ok to republish your blog posts on LinkedIn, Medium and Facebook? This is something many ask and few are able to answer. I’m going to investigate.
This is part 2 of our ‘Tech arrghh’ series where I try and answer some of those burning techie questions.
In part 1 we looked at UTM tracking links. I’m so glad we did. I’ve been using them and all I can say is crikey, why did it take me so long to get around to using these properly?
Today we’re tackling a big question, one I get asked a lot and until now have had to answer with a hmm I don’t really know.
Is it OK to republish your blog posts to LinkedIn, Medium and Facebook? Or will your SEO be affected because it’s duplicate content?
Listen below to find out
Why would you want to republish your posts?
Medium is a cross between a blogging site and a social network. You can publish long form blog posts there. LinkedIn is a professional social network that has blog publishing baked in (called posts). Facebook is the worlds largest social network, you can post long form written content using their ‘Notes’ product.
By reposting your blog content on these three platforms you can reach people who may not see your content elsewhere. If you have a great piece of content, why not spread it as far as possible?
But there is a potential problem. Could republishing on these channels damage your SEO (search engine optimisation)?
Duplicate content is…
I’m going to quote MOZ for this one:
“Duplicate content is content that appears on the Internet in more than one place. That “one place” is defined as a location with a unique website address (URL) – so, if the same content appears at more than one web address, you’ve got duplicate content.
While not technically a penalty, duplicate content can still sometimes impact search engine rankings. When there are multiple pieces of, as Google calls it, “appreciably similar” content in more than one location on the Internet, it can be difficult for search engines to decide which version is more relevant to a given search query.”
So the problem is that when there are two versions of the same content online Google, and other search engines don’t know which one they should return in search results. They will only rank one version and obviously we want that to be the one on our site.
Does that make the answer to our problem simple? If we republish our blog posts on LinkedIn, Medium or Facebook Google could rank them instead of ours so we shouldn’t do it?
Right? Maybe not, read on…
Medium is a fascinating network. It’s for long form blogging content but like a social network you follow people, people follow you and there’s a newsfeed where you can browse posts. If you’re popular on Medium your post could be featured and you’ll hit the readership jackpot.
Medium makes republishing easy. They have a selection of tools that help you import content from your blog posts.
And here’s the thing. That’s totally OK to do because they use something called canonical tags.
A Canonical tag is a line of code that when added to a site points search engines towards the original content. When the bots read this code they know to disregard this version in search and rank the original article instead.
According to Medium:
“Medium’s official tools for cross-posting (including the Migration tool, Import tool, and WordPress plugin) add the source it is importing from as the canonical link automatically.”
Yes, Medium includes Canonical tags, telling search engines to look at your blog rather than their site.
Can we republish our blog posts on Medium without harming SEO?
Yes work away, republish your content on Medium using their migration tool, import tool or WordPress plugin.
LinkedIn has blossomed over the last few months. I’m seeing a lot more interesting and relevant conversations happening there. With this new activity publishing blog posts to LinkedIn is a more enticing strategy than ever.
LinkedIn posts could reach far more people than your blog posts.
- They will be delivered into the newsfeeds of your connections automatically.
- People can read them without having to leave the network.
If we do this will this confuse the search engines with duplicate content? Will Google know to send readers to our original blog post rather than the LinkedIn version?
The answer isn’t as cut and dry as Medium.
LinkedIn doesn’t use canonical links to tell search engines that our blog was the source but…
It’s probably OK…
Here’s the thing. I’ve been reading a whole lot of articles on this and most of them say it’s probably OK.
Probably isn’t a word I like so I searched some more. I found this in Google Search Console:
“Syndicate carefully: If you syndicate your content on other sites, Google will always show the version we think is most appropriate for users in each given search, which may or may not be the version you’d prefer. However, it is helpful to ensure that each site on which your content is syndicated includes a link back to your original article.”
Sounds like Google are saying they can’t guarantee it, but if we link to our original post at the end of the article our own site should rank rather than the LinkedIn (or syndicated) version.
Let’s test it
I found a post from Mockingbird Marketing. The author had tested the theory with his own content and again, the result was positive. Google was finding his original post rather than the LinkedIn version.
So I’m going to experiment too. Starting with this post.
Here’s the process I’m going to follow:
- Publish the post to my blog
- 1 day later: Search the blog title on Google to check they have indexed it. (If my post comes up in the results I’ll know they have)
- 2 days later: Publish post on LinkedIn including the phrase ‘This post originally appeared on [link to my blog post]’
- 1 week later: Search the blog title. If Google is still choosing the original post to rank I know I’ve been successful.
Can we republish our blog posts on LinkedIn without harming SEO?
I’m going to give this a cautious yes.
Facebook notes got a refresh a couple of years ago but no one seems to have noticed.
Notes have become pretty, in fact, look at a Facebook note side by side with a LinkedIn or a Medium post and you’ll see the similarities.
All 3 have a striking cover image, a clean font and lots of white space.
So should you republish your posts to Facebook?
There isn’t as much information available online for this.
The quote from Google above relates to syndicated content on Facebook as much as it does LinkedIn. If we add our link as the source content in most cases we should be OK. If we publish on our own blog first, we should be ok.
To be sure, I looked to the only person I know who republishes on Facebook notes. Mark Schaefer.
On 28th August Mark published a post on his blog titled:
“The four disciplines that lead to consistent creativity”
It’s good, you should read it
On the 29th of August, he republished it to his personal profile as a Facebook note.
When I search for the blog post title (using an incognito window on Chrome) it’s his original post that ranks at the top of the search results on Google.
In fact, there’s no sign of his Facebook note or his LinkedIn post on page one of Google at all.
As you can see there is one additional result but that link only includes the first paragraph of his post and links back to the original. It’s not a duplicate page.
Can we republish our blog posts to Facebook without harming SEO?
It’s another cautious yes from me.
The Jill Holtz solution
Now we know it’s OK to republish we should ask ourselves another question.
Is republishing your valuable content on these networks robbing traffic from your own site? If someone can read the post on LinkedIn, Medium or Facebook why would they bother going to your blog?
For many of us, it’s more important to get our content in front of people wherever they read it. By adding links to our site within our content we can still get customers to visit our site and take action.
When they get there they’ll already know we’re brilliant because they’ve read our posts on LinkedIn.
For some sites getting traffic to their own domain is important. For example:
- If you need site visitors to look at and click ads you need them to come to your site.
- If your pop up window drives leads you will want people to visit your site so they can see it and subscribe.
- If you are in eCommerce you want people on your site as soon as possible.
In these cases, you might consider another approach.
Instead of publishing the whole post take a section of your blog and tantalise your audience with it. Once they’ve read your opening, link them to the full post on your blog.
I call this the Jill Holtz method because it was Jill from MyKidsTime and Digital4Sales who suggested it to me.
Experiment with me:
- Use Medium’s import tool to republish blog posts to the network
- 2 days after publication repost your content to LinkedIn and FacebookMeasure the results.
I’ll be interested to see how you get on.
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