I was recently asked, “when you have multiple blogs, is posting the same article on 2 or 3 blogs ultimately going to hurt your SEO? I was just wondering if there was a good “rules” to live by you know of…”
In my mind every SEO question involves three analysis:
- Accessible – Does this make is easier for a search engine to find and index my content? e.g., content is publicly available in a standard format such as html, pdf or .doc. Flash is not accessible to search engines.
- Relevant/interesting – Does this clearly demonstrate my page is related to the targeted search(s)? Are people interested in my topic. Don’t write about Ford Escorts if your are trying to rank in searches for “bacon”. If people aren’t interested in your topic (i.e., they don’t search for it), it doesn’t matter if you rank well.
- Popular – Does this demonstrate that other people think I am relevant to the targeted search? This is essentially link popularity. The more links to your page the search engines find, the more popular your page. The more popular the page, the more likely it rises to the top of the search results.
These questions build on each other. Without satisfying #1 your content doesn’t make it into the search engines. Likewise #1 and #3 aren’t as effective unless #2 is satisfied.
Your question falls into the third analysis. Generally cross posting and redundant postings of blogs or other content doesn’t help your SEO effort. The search engines don’t like to index the same stuff over and over so they often ignore or discount redundant content.
Second, each link to your content boosts your popularity is the “eyes” of the search engines. Each link to your content is a vote for your content. Spreading these votes across many urls reduces your perceived popularity. It is akin to a political party putting five candidates in a presidential race. The party may get a majority of the votes but the votes are spread thin and the party loses the election.
In a very few cases, the potential benefit of reaching very different readers may outweigh the cost of cross posting.