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Be Careful Letting Others Republish Your Content!

SEO4A lot of first time WebMasters are so eager to get traffic that they will allow big name sites to re-post or re-publish an article from their own blog.  It sounds great because you get eyes on your article that otherwise would not have seen it, and you don’t have to write a unique piece of content for their blog.  Unfortunately, if it’s not done correctly, it can hurt you more than it helps.

Think about your goals for a moment.  As a business owner, you’ve got two goals.  You want sales first and foremost, because a business without sales is a hobby, at best.  The best way to get sales if your blog isn’t getting a ton of traffic on its own, is to form partnerships with bigger blogs in your niche who aren’t head-to-head competitors, and do some guest posting on their blogs with a sign post pointing back to your site.

The second thing you want though, is to build your brand.  One of the natural consequences of building your brand is to increase your rankings in organic search results, which is what SEO is all about.  To maximize the impact of your SEO efforts, you have to do more than just optimize your on-page SEO and build backlinks, you’ve also got to stay away from the Google Penalty Box.  When you allow another site to re-publish content that has already been published on your site, it creates duplicate content on the web.  Google isn’t all that fond of duplicate content, and you’ll get penalized for it.

There is a way around that, however, and this goes back to the core point above.  It’s fine to allow others to reproduce your content, provided they do it correctly.  The correct way to do it is with a rel canonical tag (the blog doing the re-publishing will need to do this, not you).  Using such a tag will make sure that Google knows to give you, the original publisher of the content, and it will give you a “free pass” for the duplicate content on the web.  That’s win-win.  The other site gets a good piece of content, you don’t have to write a unique article, and you don’t get sent to the penalty box by Google.  If you do it any other way, you’re going to get burned by it, and that’s counter productive.  Anything you pick up in views and sales, you’ll lose when your own site gets penalized.

The best way to make sure the right tag gets used is to simply mention it up front.  Let the WebMaster of the other site know that you’d love it if they re-produced your piece, but simply make the canonical tag a condition of doing so.  Overwhelmingly, you’ll find WebMasters receptive to this, because they understand why you’re asking.  Unfortunately, if you don’t ask, and if you don’t bring it up specifically, they probably won’t think to do it.  Not because they’re bad people out to hurt you, just because it’s not something burning at the forefront of their minds.  It’s your business though, and that means that it falls to you to not only bring it up, but to double check it when your content appears on their site.  If it’s right, kudos to you!  If it’s not, send them a polite reminder and have them fix it.

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