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Do you get penalised by Google search, for cross-posting?

When I asked Madelyn Griffith-Haynie ( if I could cross-post something from her site she asked some really good questions that affect anyone who blogs, and to which I didn't know the answers. So, I went off and did my homework and replied as follows (the original reply was on Madelyn's site here - and thanks for giving me the OK to share :-)).

1. I have read (from those “make a million on the i-net” folks that inundate my email inbox) that the search engines penalize “duplicate” posting. Can you ring in on that?

I found this super (but very long) article that looks at this in depth: In a nutshell, duplicate content is no longer penalized, although Google may filter out duplicate content…especially where the URL is very similar across the two pages.

Prior to 2006, Google dealt with the challenge of indexing the web as follows: “some pages that were seen as duplicates or just very low quality were stored in a secondary index called the “supplemental” index. These pages automatically became 2nd-class citizens, from an SEO perspective, and lost any competitive ranking ability” (source:

Post 2006 (according to the same article) “Google integrated supplemental results back into the main index, but those results were still often filtered out”.

In other words, pre-2006 it was a big issue, post 2006, it is less of an issue, especially if most of the content on your site is not syndicated (see no: 17 and 19 of V. Examples of Duplicate Content in the article). The main issue occurs when there is duplicate content on the same site (i.e. similar URL), although duplicate / similar content on different sites can return fewer hits.

Dr Pete, the author of this article, advises, however: Practically, I think it depends on the scope. If you occasionally syndicate content to beef up your own offerings but also have plenty of unique material, then link back and leave it alone :-) .

2. While you’re at it, what about the ratio of inbound to outbound links?
This is a bit trickier, in part because it depends on what you are measuring, and what you are using to measure it…and why you are measuring it ;-) .

Another article – this one with a marketing slant, talks, I felt, quite well about outbound versus inbound links: Check out in particular the watering hole analogy toward the end, and also the first comments that summarises it all quite nicely.

MOST IMPORTANT though, is your underlying sense of sharing and ethics. Yes – we have to make a crust, but I get the sense that it is the community, opportunities for co-construction, and creativity that appeal too. I would strongly recommend that you watch this video (shared by John Owen on the Ethos Online Community), where Amanda Palmer talks about making her music available for free, and people choose whether they pay for it…and she (by asking and building relationships) also asks for their help to fund her work:

[mgh comment: I've seen it, and I agree - READERS - go check it out!]

See what you think – for me, it answered a heap of questions…or at least put them into the pile of – "I like sharing too much to worry about the odd bit of duplicate content" ;-)

What are your thoughts? Does anyone have any other experiences they would like to share, or another take on cross-posting? Please jump into the conversation.








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Comment by Hazel Owen on June 17, 2013 at 20:16

LOL!! Take away your birthday - I like it :-) (Google stole my cake ;-p).

Your approach feels as though it mixes a healthy pinch of caution with a good portion of common sense. Since doing this bit of homework, I've been changing the titles of duplicate posts I make across platforms, which changes the URL.

Also, given your prodigious sharing of original thinking and posts on (, I can't imagine you would lose much traffic at all.

At the end of the day, (and to pile cliche onto cliche ;-p), what goes around comes around...and it's good to 'share the love'!

Hazel xxx

Comment by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie on June 17, 2013 at 16:40

Thanks, Hazel, for posting this. 

When I get a minute to catch my breath, I'll investigate more fully.  For NOW, I'm simply going to proceed with caution -- meaning adding a few words up top and headings within when I cross-post, and changing the wording slightly.  If  that's not enough to confuse the bots, I don't know what to say besides THIS:

I think making a difference is more important than making a killing!
SEO cannot be allowed to be more important than getting the word out!!

So if Google wants to penalize me for spreading the word - oh well. 

What are they going to do to me, take away my BIRTHDAY?!


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