If you have great content on your website, you might have people contacting you about it asking if they can reshare it on their website with a link. If you are link-building, canonical links can be a really powerful way to get a good back-link from a media source interested in your source material. This post will be discussing what you need to know about posting original content, accepting guest posts that aren’t original, and canonical links.
are reposts bad for your seo?I’ve been contacted quite a few times about having my content “reshared” on a news website after something went viral. It’s great, but it often means that people copy and paste my articles and images onto their websites. This can have a great impact in terms of gaining high Domain-Authority (DA) links from media to specific pages on my website. Although most people don’t enjoy hearing that good content will gain back-links long-term, white-hat SEO has its benefits.
There’s a catch. If a high DA website reposts your 1,000 word article about traveling in Bosnia (for example) and has a small link indicating credit, it often means that they might outrank your original content long-term. Often Google can distinguish content that isn’t original and content that is original, however you don’t want to be in the position where Google has to choose which website should be penalized for duplicate content.
One of the best things that I can recommend if you are intent on sharing a full article on a platform (like Huffington Post or Matador) is to get a canonical link. A canonical link indicates the source material for the article. It’s very simple: Google wants to know who wrote the content first.
In most cases, the article is the original copy, however in the case of a repost, the person reposting the article can indicate that your article is the original source via a canonical tag attached to the link (rel=canonical that goes to your website) or within the Yoast settings for an article. This would mean filling in the link (with https:// if applicable) to the source material (exact article) as shown below. This ensures that it’s clear that your content was written first on your website.
I generally recommend NOT digging into your canonical links unless an article of yours was first posted elsewhere or someone else has reposted your article in full on another website.
By default, the canonical link will indicate that your page is the first version of the page published online. If you have original content, you have to do nothing as this is true! There are some advanced applications of canonical links, but it’s often best leaving these to SEO pros working on your website as people can make a mess of this.
what if they refuse to give a canonical link?
I find that most of the time, media outlets legitimately don’t know how to implement a canonical URL or refuse to give one. Why? If you don’t get your canonical link, there’s a good possibility that a high Domain Authority source will outrank you with your own content. I’ve had this happen to me several times and it’s very frustrating.
One of the best courses of action when someone reposts your copyrighted work without providing a canonical link is to limit the reposted content to around 300 words. I sometimes allow a couple of photos. This usually ensures that you have the fuller complete article–and you even get a high-DA link. If the outlet refuses to comply with this, you can threaten a DMCA takedown and/or send an email to their host to get the content removed. It’s not ideal, but 99% of media outlets will scale back the article to 300 words (in my experience).
what about guest posts?
If you contribute content to another media outlet, you will want to think about whether you want your content duplicated. For the media outlet (or anyone considering guest posts that have already been posted elsewhere), there is not much SEO value in reposting content with canonical links (in my opinion). The person with the original content is likely to outrank your content on the topic. That said, if your platform is dependent on page views and/or ads, reposting content can be beneficial short-term in terms of revenue and getting eyes on your website.
If you are looking for guest posts in order to have more content for your website, I generally recommend avoiding any content that has been already published elsewhere. The likelihood that this content will rank is lower and you do not want to be hit with duplicate content issues. Of course, you can do a proper canonical link, but it’s often better to get 100% original content that will boost your website’s content and SEO profile.