Whether you’re an experienced blogger with years of blog posts published online, or someone dipping your first toe in the blogging water, it’s likely you’ve heard of duplicate content. It’s likely you’ve been warned against it. Duplicate content, they say, will kill your Google ranking and therefore your traffic.
If you’ve searched online to find out more about how duplicate content affects search engine optimization (SEO) and traffic to your website, your head might be spinning from too much information! Some information on this topic is difficult to understand if you’re unfamiliar with the tech side of SEO. Other authors disagree about these issues. And some of the information online is out of date.
Let’s clarify a few things about duplicate content. This post will focus on blogging and duplicate content. For the most part, we’ll save the more technical questions of general website content for a different article.
Should Bloggers Avoid Duplicate Content – Yes or No?
How about a resounding “maybe”? Before we discuss why, let’s take a look at what exactly Google considers duplicate content, and how they respond to it.
Google says, “Duplicate content generally refers to substantive blocks of content within or across domains that either completely match other content or are appreciably similar.”
If you continue to read that article, you’ll see that Google is mostly talking about many pages of duplicate content across various websites. For example, if a company has a site with a lot of product pages and their affiliate sites copy all of those pages exactly, that will result in duplicate content problems. Google will assign only one of the pages a rank as the page about that product. Therefore other pages will not show up in search.
That’s what Google does. They determine which of the identical pages is the best one and send searchers to that page and none of the other identical pages.
But bloggers don’t usually generate hundreds or even dozens of pages of duplicate content. They’re just concerned with whether or not it will hurt traffic to their blogs if they repost an article on LinkedIn or Medium or some other site as a guest blogger.
If your main goal is to have all search traffic find every single one of your blog posts through search, then yes, reposting articles on bigger, more well-known sites will interfere with that goal. Medium gets a lot more traffic and inbound links than the sites of many bloggers. So if you post something on your blog, and then later post it on Medium, Google will likely refer people to your Medium article instead of the same one on your blog. Google decides which website has the most authority based on numerous factors and then only shows one result in search.
But most bloggers want more than just traffic. They want people to know about their writing, know about them as bloggers. They want to grow their audience. Posting to a more well-known, and more often viewed, sites like Medium or LinkedIn can greatly increase the number of people who see it. Then more people become familiar with you and your writing. It’s a great way to boost your brand awareness, as marketers call it.
Say you’ve written a blog post about the best art galleries in your hometown. You post it on your blog and later on Medium. Now, Google only sends people to your Medium article about those galleries instead of your blog so, yes, you lose some traffic that would otherwise have gone to your blog. But the reward of increasing your audience and readership could be worth it. Plus, you can (and should) always link to your blog, wherever you post.
Will Duplicate Content Hurt Your Site?
Maybe you’re not just worried about particular articles, but think that by reposting some of your more popular ones on larger channels it will damage your website in the eyes of Google. Fret not! According to this article in Search Engine Land, Google has stated, “Duplicate content doesn’t cause your site to be penalized.”
If you want to increase the number of people who familiar with you and your blog, reposting some of your best articles on LinkedIn and other sites can help tremendously. However, it’s a good idea to wait a while. Always post your blog articles on your own site first, and then wait at least several weeks before reposting on other sites.
Also, always use your reposting or guest blogging opportunities to link to your website.
As you can see, the benefits of reposting your blog articles can really pay off. So stop worrying about duplicate content and feel free to publish some of your best stuff on platforms with big audiences!