Posting Blog Posts in Multiple Places – Good or Bad?

Posted By Darren Rowse 18th of March 2007 Miscellaneous Blog Tips 0 Comments

Reader QuestionsAnon Guy asks – ‘Probably a stupid question, but I was wondering about how cross-posting can affect the original site. I have a small political blog and was recently asked to cross-post some story I did on Myspace and politics. I went ahead and cut-and-pasted the story over at a wikia.com site and, much to my surprise, a day later it was picked up by The Wonkette (from the wikia site).

But then I was reading about how having the same story on different sites is looked down upon by Google. Will occasionally posting the same story elsewhere ended up hurting the rankings of the original site?’

Not a stupid question AG – it is one I’ve been asked numerous times. It’s also one that there are a number of perspectives on. Let me share mine.

Why You Should Cross Post?

I think you’ve already discovered the main positive of cross posting (or posting the same thing on two sites) – that it exposes your post/article to more potential readers which can have the flow on effects of others then linking up to it. If getting your message out and building your own reputation as a writer is your main priority then allowing your posts to be republished in this way is something you will want to consider.

This is why some authors publish books online for free and some artists allow their music or art to be freely downloaded by web users – because it’s great for their profile and puts their message in the hands of as many as possible. This has numerous flow on effects for their future work.

Why Shouldn’t You Cross Post?

You’ve also identified one of the main arguments against cross posting – the risks associated with duplicate content in search engines.

In general, search engines don’t like it when exactly the same content appears in multiple locations.

I don’t pretend to know the inner workings of how they treat such duplicated content – but would suggest that for the occasional post it doesn’t seem matter too much. However it you are going to do cross posting on a regular basis then you might want to consider the possibility of some sort of repercussions of doing so from an SEO perspective.

Google has clarified their perspective on duplicate content lately and from what I can see if your post is the original one you should be OK – however speaking from personal experience of allowing a few of my posts to get republished on other sites – one of the risks of doing so is that that site may end up outranking you for your own post.

A question to ask:

One question you might like to ask yourself when making this decisions is whether you’re trying to build up your blog’s SEO ranking or whether you are attempting to build up your own reputation and just get your content out there?

If you’re not so concerned about SEO and just want people to read your work – then some cross posting probably won’t worry you.

If you’re more interested in SEO and preserving the content that you write for the benefit of building up your own blog – then cross posting might not be for you (especially if it’s something you’re going to do on a regular basis).

A Story for illustrative purposes:

Long term ProBlogger readers will remember that this very topic was something that I grappled with when approached by WebProNews with the request that I allow them to republish some of my posts.

In the end I decided to allow them to republish some of my content because it was in the early days of my blog and I felt that it was a good branding exercise. WPN gave links back to my posts an promoted me on each one with my picture and blog names. As they had a larger audience than me and an audience on related topics to mine I felt it was a good opportunity to leverage some of their traffic.

I allowed them to republish my posts for numerous months – but after a while ended the arrangement for one main reason – they were outranking me in Google for my own work. WPN were republishing numerous posts from ProBlogger each week (with my permission) and were selecting my best pieces.

The problem was that as they were a bigger and more highly ranked site than mine (and one that Google must have been indexing more regularly than mine) they were being treated by Google as the original post and my own posts here at ProBlogger were being treated as duplicate content (and were either not appearing in the index or were being outranked by WPN).

I decided that it wasn’t in my best interests to keep going with the arrangement (I’d also grown my readership and profile by this point – partly as a result of WPN – not that they sent lots of traffic over) and though I could stand on my own two feet by then.

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.
Comments
  1. Like anything, everything in moderation is OK. To have your posts on more than one site is not a bad thing whether Google views it as bad thing or not. I would hate to think, every time someone steals my post it not only takes eyes away but makes Google think I’m not cool. People don’t always find your good content so you might as well put it out there for people to find. If there are two places to find it you have a better chance. You know the old saying “two posts are better than one” I think that’s the saying anyway

  2. ive been thinking about using free-article services to do something similar with articles from my blog
    mainly as a way to gain free backlinks
    is this method at all effective?

  3. How do you guys find managing multiple blogs?

    FT

  4. I think that SEO should be everyone’s top priority – I get a large portion of traffic from Google and I would hate for those visitor to go somewhere else for my content!

    Guest blogging is a different story, get your name out there and give yourself plenty of linkbacks!

  5. Me experience is similar to Darren’s, in the beginning it is helpful to syndicate some articles on other sites, this gets links and more readership, but when your blog is developed and you have more inbound links it becomes better just to post it on your own site. Although every now and then there is no harm in cross posting. The main thing is to make sure you choose a good site to post your stuff on.

  6. “Saman Sadeghi Says:
    March 18th, 2007 at 3:17 am
    I think that SEO should be everyone’s top priority”

    I was under the impression that quality content should be everyone’s top priority.

  7. I tend to crosspost my entries to my livejournal for now.

    A lot of my friends are vaguely interested in the topic. Enough to read it on their friends list, but not so much if it was a separate site.

    I use the LJ-Crossposter plugin and force comments to only be allowed on my site and not the lj entry.

    It works so far, but I imagine as my friends become a smaller and smaller portion of my traffic, I’ll need to switch to no crossposting.

  8. An interesting post. I have a number of my articles posted elsewhere on the net. I submit to article directories and business websites and many of those posts outrank mine. I have never worried about it in the past because my blog is for profile building and an opportunity to interact with other readers. Maybe it’s time to rethink this!

  9. Mr. Rowse,

    Thank you, and the commenters as well, for the advice. I think I will do a mix of the occasional same post and original posts on other sites, with it tilting more heavily towards the latter.

    Thanks again for taking the time and addressing my question and, of course, saying it wasn’t “stupid.”

    –AG

  10. Mr. Rowse,

    By the way, I noticed a couple new blogs linking to me on Technorati thanks to your post. However, when I looked, they were just copies (graphics included) of this post and many more of yours. How would you look at those sites? I believe at least one of them links back to you, but is this something you would consider a form of flattery or outright theft?

    –AG

  11. I stopped cross-posting my articles from my blog to my Friendster blog since early last year, because of Google’s not liking of them. Instead I just cross-posted snippets and teasers of the articles with a link back to blog. It may be cumbersome at some time, but it sure does bring in traffic.

  12. You hit the nail on the head with one of your points here, Darren. One of the shortfalls (in my view) of Google is that they either currently don’t use the data and time of publication as a tie-breaker in the duplicate content race … or that use is actually too unreliable (servers can be in all different time zones, times of publication at the application level (such as WordPress) can be manipulated, and, I suppose if they correlated server time of publication into the picture there would be a huge boom in leased servers in Guam and Kiribati where the world’s day begins. Hmm … is that why your server is in New Zealand … nobody scoops Australia before you do? LoL.

    Seriously I think the best “one technique fits all” advice is to allow re-posting of a limited number of articles, selected by the blogger, not the user, with an intro paragraph tacked on to the beginning of each one explaining where it was originally published and why it is coming out again now.

  13. I actually posted one of my articles on http://www.netscape.com and then realized netscape was number one for a phrase! and it placed me at number 2 and 3….now I’m back at number one where I deserve to be :)

  14. Good points. Cross posting helps promote content, yet it also thins down your efforts and capabilities.

    Occasional posts on different sites can help, and so can the varying amount of information in each duplicate post.

    Good case example, by the way. It shows that your goals [wanting SEO or anything else] can greatly dictate how you should treat duplicate content or cross posting.

  15. Hello,
    I think cross posting is good both for bloggers and the article itself. Doing so we can increase the strenght of the article on search engines, though we all know every thing has advantages/disadvantages. I vote cross posting as positive. Thanks

    Best Regards,
    Eliena Andrews

  16. I think rewording parts of the article and adding more to it are prabably the best ways of avoiding Google troubles. you could simply change the examples mentioned in the article, or add an introduction/conclusion to it. you could also change the subheading, just reword them. Even that wouldn’t completely save you, so as Darren said, you gotta look at what is more important to you: more people reading your articles or getting better SE ranking, which in fact are interrelated. One affects the other.

  17. Darren, I totally agree with you. When I stopped using the aggregator feature for dipnoi my ranking on Technorati went down tremendously that same day and has continued to go down ever since. Evidently, Technorati looks down on duplicate content as well.

  18. yea, I agree too… but is it ok to post the half of your post in an article directory and the full on your blog?

  19. It is possible get away with some duplicate content posting in my view, buit the more you do it, the higher the risk. Sorry: truism.

    I’ve occasionally crossposted, but I would try to keep it to a very small subset of articles – less than 1 in 20. As for everything else, there is no such thing as a free lunch!

    Similar problems can be caused by multiple urls pointing to the same blog – even http://www.domain.com/ and http://domain.com/ .

  20. My blog is centred around the pictures I take. To promote my blog I also post most of my pics on 5 or 6 of the most popular related forums that I know of. Hence most of my posts are essentially repeated in several locations and users dont actually need to visit my site. Now obviously I would probably get more hits if I simply posted a link to my page but doing this is against the rules of many of these forums and not liked by many of their visitors and since my blog is only new I am more concered with generating a positive reputation than getting hits. As of now when I search google with relevant keywords for my site I will go past virtually all of my forum posts before getting to my site which I aren’t entirely happy about but while my site is young (almost 1 month old now) I will put up with it. I am hoping that this strategy will mean that my traffic will continue to grow slowly even during my slow periods and I will gain more regular visitors.

  21. Great topic. I have a new Blog alcoholselfhelpnews.wordpress.com and seem to have the built in ability to export all posts to various other blogs. The xtract from the dashboard says;

    “If you have posts or comments in another system, WordPress can import those into this blog. To get started, choose a system to import from below:”

    “LiveJournal Import posts from a LiveJournal XML export file
    Movable Type and TypePad Import posts and comments from a Movable Type or Typepad blog
    Blogger Import posts, comments, and users from a Blogger blog
    WordPress Import posts, comments, custom fields, pages, and categories from a WordPress export file”

    This is so expansive in quantity that I was assuming the practice is OK.

    Whats the reality?

  22. OOPS, sorry, I meant ” . . . seem to have the built in ability to ‘import’ all posts ‘from’ various other blogs.

  23. I posted about 5 or 6 of my best blog posts that were more essay like and would continue to be relevant at Blogcritics.org back during my first year or so at ProHipHop. Their rank gave me a Google presence on some highly relevant search terms that I otherwise haven’t done so well on.

    I did rewrite parts of the posts and some of them were combinations of posts so they weren’t all exact duplicates but I’ve also allowed other websites to reprint a handful of posts that caught their attention for one reason or another.

    So I guess I’m voting for moderation. It’s good to distribute your presence but I mainly do that through offering an rss feed that has ads [via feedburner] or by occasional guest posts.

  24. On a few occasions I have posted articles written on one of my blogs on to another of my blogs but only if the content is appropriate for both. This works for me in gettting readers from one blog on to the others.

  25. Its called as Business.There is no point if you have high PR with low traffic.If you run a business you might give out a part of your product to be upgraded by others.Does’nt mean you lost your technology it just mean you just showed some more people what you are capable of.

    You have to smartly think how to balance them.Don’t do it more do it wise.Thats the key.

    Thanks for the topic!!!

  26. […] A question many people have had is “can they post the same content on more than one blog?” Well, Darren Rowse finally takes a stab at answering that question and it comes down to the neither black or white answer of “maybe, sometimes”. He lists some reasons why cross posting can be helpful for a piece of news or content and why you shouldn’t post the same news on multiple blogs. […]

  27. Darren,

    I think what is interesting here is that you are making business decisions based on how you think Google reacts to them. They are only a search engine after all. In my opinion good PR outweighs SEO any day of the week.

    Your partnership with WebProNews was not designed to drive traffic but did bring you significant notoriety at zero cost to you. After all, when our visitors clicked to read your articles they were still seeing your picture, reading your words and building your credibility! That my friend, is great PR.

    My suggestion for bloggers is don’t make every decision based on whether you think it increases your Google Adsense dollars! Look for ways to expose your site as much as possible.

    Of course, pay attention to SEO but play your marketing game in the real world too. Build relationships with other sites, republish some of your content, write original content for other high traffic sites, participate in forums and web communities and post comments in blogs and news sites.

    A blogger should treat their site as a brand which means the more exposure the better!

    If you would like to try it again Darren, let me know!

    Sincerely,

    Rich Ord
    CEO, iEntry, In.c
    Publisher of WebProNews
    http://www.webpronews.com

  28. Isnt this more related to plagiarism? i dint see you mention it in the post :(

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  31. […] or the other. The closest post I could find is one from March 2007 by Darren Rowse that addresses posting in multiple places rather than posting in multiple categories in the same […]

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