Need A Post? Here! Use Mine!
No, no, I’m not off my rocker!
I am in the process of adapting the licensing on my blog to openly encourage re-publication with attribution.
And boy did I raise some questions from the community!
Essentially that means you can help yourself to re-use any post on my blog as long as you credit me, with name and do-follow link to the post title, as the author.
Your Invited To…
Go ahead, no need to wait, pick up any post you feel your readers may enjoy and publish it on your site. Simply mention me as the author, dofollow link to the original and you’re good to go. Very similar to guest blogging – only reblogging instead.
This can be a great way to get a relevant piece of high quality content, with no cash-cost, to feed your hungry audience without having to work hard!
Want to include it in your e-book or autoresponder? Guess what, you can do that too! (Still must be cited and linked.)
There’s all sorts of juicy stuff in the archives that your readers likely have not seen even if they follow me.
What You Can Not Do
You can’t break, remove or replace internal links. Editing within the post itself is also not permissible. This would risk my integrity as it would appear that I linked to or wrote something I did not. Makes sense right?
You can not no-follow the attribution link, since that would no longer be a correct giving of credit where it’s due.
You may also need to replace the thumbnail/featured image when it is from a stock source such as 123rf.com or istockphoto.com as those can not be republished per their terms. Screenshots, iconfinder and GPL photos etc can be used however.
What You Might Consider Doing
You can “frame” the content with a paragraph before and after, if you want it to have SEO relevance, but that is not required if you simply are publishing it to give your current readers good content.
This “top and tail” method is known as framing in the SEO world and has been used successfully with republished articles from article directories for a long time.
(If you use framing, you don’t necessarily need to set the canonical SEO field.)
Why Don’t Others Do This?
I have been asked why more sites do not allow this so let me give a little back story:
People have avoided this up till now due to some very legitimate fears that used to be a bigger issue.
Three things are mentally holding people back from this…
(1) I personally risk someone out ranking me with my stuff, not likely but a fear of other people. One site that has been allowed to republish mine for a good while now, every so often, DOES outrank me because of link-building work they do. I’m okay with that – my name and link is in that post!
(2) If you publish the post in full it will not usually rank highly in SERPs. Many people are so SEO focused they never write posts only for their readers (foolish). If you “frame” the post you improve both the context for the reader and the SEO situation.
A year ago I was calling this model too dangerous for both parties but now I’m not. I’ve been monitoring the changes for a while and with a couple new “flags” that Google uses to define both “freshness” and “the original post” this is much safer for everyone when done right.
Correctly cited sources are not regarded as duplicate content (as long as they are not multiple copies on the same blog). Correct citation is a method of avoiding the duplicate content penalty. We can also (optionally) use the canonical field in your SEO settings to ensure Google knows where the original lives. Easy Peasy.
(3) A site that is not producing enough substance to balance the advertising and site structure will get knocked for having “thin” content. An example of a site with thin content might be a jewelry catalog where there is mostly promotion and little true content. This is not a ding for “bad” content or even “republished” content but content that is excessively short or missing.
However, any reader of THIS blog is unlikely to be at a risk of this.
You might be surprised to learn that there are some sites that ONLY republish others full articles and produce no content of their own… and because of their community building efforts and link building efforts they outrank many big sites. It just has to be done right.
Many of the sites that have been hit by Panda have been as a result a list of faults that your site is unlikely to suffer from: Too little real content with too many ads with too little brand development is always a recipe for trouble. Always.
Is there some gamble in this for me? Sure is. I could be wrong and this could hurt me. I sincerely doubt I’m wrong and my site’s traffic should give you an idea that I usually accurately call my hunches. Even if it’s not a “perfect” SEO move for me, it will build a stronger community, and I’ll take that any day of the week!
I’m a fan of the open source community and to be able to open my content to you, under terms that serve us both, thrills me.
What If You Think I’m Too Crazy – But Still Want To Share?
If you are deeply concerned that simply providing a link to the original will not be enough to keep Google happy, you are certainly welcome to set the Canonical URL field in your WP SEO plugin.
This is not mandatory but would keep Google very happy. However, enabling it will ensure that your copy identifies itself as a copy and flows link juice correctly to the original.
The canonical flag simply points Google down the path to the original article and causes it to essentially overlook the copy. You don’t have to do this, but if you’re feeling uncomfortable with the risk, this solves it.
What The Future Holds
You’re going to see more of this in the future. It’s already in the cards.
With Google having figured out how to handle content curation based sites and actively working on how to minimize negative impacts of both resyndication and content theft on the master blog, the doors are opening for this.
“The mechanism in microblogging which allows users to repost the content of another user’s post with an indication that the content of the repost is a “reblog” from another user. For a number of microblogging and social networking services, reblogging has become a means of both social bookmarking and user commentary…
Reblogging (and the increased attention paid to the indexing and encouragement of reblogging) has become a major feature of many social networking sites and content-hosting services, and it has also become a potent means of secondary content promotion and audience measurement whereby links to external content are syndicated across multiple profiles and the reposts are indexed as a measurement of currency and relevance.
Platforms like Tumblr, which are beginning to dominate, have reblogging as a vital part of their platform. A huge percentage of the posts on Tumblr are reblogged content.
WordPress.com has recently reintroduced their reblogging features. I’ve done the same semi-manually using “Press This” which is built into WP.org Tools page. (There is a new reblog plugin for WP.org but it depends on iframes so I do not recommend it at this moment.)
The Legal Stuff
Just like other journalists and authors, you don’t need my permission to editorially cite a partial copy. That is already granted to you by “fair use” laws. I’m granting license however to use a full copy which would usually not be permissible, under certain terms. Rather like a guest post.
Once I figure out how to correctly class this site’s content, it will most likely be listed as Creative Commons, Commercial-Permissible license. I need to make some adjustments (waivers) to the Non-Derivation clause however to make it work correctly for this use.
You can learn more about how Creative Commons is changing the web and why this approach is as much a “heart issue”, from my belief in the free flow of ideas, as it is a head issue for business growth.
You’re going to see more of this as people realize that content curation and out-linking is working.
Content Curation is here to stay.
I’ll write more about content curation later because you really need to understand how it is shaping digital media over the next three years.
When you can be the trusted-filter, for your community, that protects them from having to sort through everything out there. You win. Whether you bring them whole posts, snippets or just links, building on them with your trusted advise, you become the go-to.
This is essentially the model that newspapers use (at least here in the States) where 2 big publishers produce most of the content that smaller, local papers run as articles with a little blurb that says “by Associated Press” or “by Reuters”. (This is also partially the origin of the term syndication among publishers.)
Many people have already taken me up on this and it’s working nicely.
I invite you to do the same.
Be sure to let me know via my contact form if you republish so that I can come tweet it for you!
PS: Googling “Steal this Blog” and “Steal this Post” will reveal that I’m certainly not the first author turning to this practice in one form or another.