You wrote an excellent piece of content. Good for you. You posted the excellent piece of content on your blog. Good for you. You posted the same piece of content on your Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ and LiveJournal. Bad for you.
With new social media platforms rapidly spawning from the infinite black abyss that is the Internet, it can be tempting to over share your work through all of these various distribution channels. Not everyone is on every social media network, but unless you want your masterful gem shunned to the deep, dark depths of Google, there are a few rules you need to follow to avoid duplicate content penalties.
Be Careful How You Post
Recently, LinkedIn announced a new blogging platform where the world’s most influential people can post their original high-quality content. If only somebody else would have thought of this sooner ( insert any social media network here). While the emphasis here is on long form, curated blogs hosted directly on LinkedIn, I’m still failing to see the value of the service; sharing my blog post on Facebook or Twitter has always seemed to do the trick for me. Maybe a little Google+ for good measure.
Ranting aside, you will only want to craft your blogging masterpiece once and obviously, you will want to place it get the most attention. I’ve yet to meet a blogger who does not have at least one site they own and publish on regularly. Use your site to host your blog and you will reap all of the benefits from it.
Posting your work to sites like LinkedIn simply help drive traffic to their site and increase their visibility—not yours. You can argue that by publishing through sites like LinkedIn you are communicating with your social followers directly.
While this may be true, posting a link will accomplish the same thing and funnel traffic back to your website increasing your authority and relevance. After all, isn’t that what it’s all about? (Kidding, in a perfect world it is about the content itself).
Beware of the Duplicate Content Penalty
You want your work to be seen by as many eyeballs as possible, so it can be tempting to post it on your own blog and directly on other social media platforms, but beware.
Google hates duplicated content. Their entire mission is to make their results extremely relevant and part of that mission includes eliminating any redundancies (i.e. duplicated content). In most circumstances, Google will take whatever version of the content it came across first and count that as the original and ignore the other instances of it.
While you may have posted it on your blog first, that does not mean Google will have seen that instance first. Google crawls large sites, like social media sites, almost instantly so anything hosted there will most likely be crawled first.
Best practice is to simply share a link on the social networking sites, but if you insist on living dangerously, at least wait until the content on your blog is indexed before putting it elsewhere. Depending on your site and Google’s mood it could be anywhere from an hour to a week. Just be patient.
Write Courageously. Post Timidly.
Social media networks can be a great way to distribute content and let people know when you have cranked out another tantalizing must-read, but they can also be dangerous to the health of your site. Your site depends on visits from the unique, high-quality content you labored so hard for. Don’t let another site get the credit for your hard work while simultaneously shoveling dirt on your website’s unceremonious grave.