Anyone who’s decently familiar with SEO probably knows that having duplicate content on the web is a major mistake. Google knows all—and when there are two versions of the same content on the web, it penalizes each website that display duplicate content. So how do you get around it?
You’re not alone if you’re scratching your head, wondering how people get away with cross-posting to Medium, LinkedIn, and other publications. Doesn’t Google penalize this? Thankfully, canonical tags are here to save the day!
Canonical tags: all roads lead to Rome
The word “canonical” comes from the Latin canonicus, meaning “obeying rules.” It often relates to the Roman Church, such as ordering by canon law, but in SEO Land it’s primarily used to order search engines around.
See, a canonical tag is a way of telling Google and other search ’bots that the content on a webpage is not original, and where the original copy can be found. And having original content on your website is quite important for building your domain authority.
In practice, say three URLs have the same blog content. Two of those URLs should each have a canonical tag pointing back to the original article. As long as that’s the case, Google won’t penalize because it recognizes that you’re essentially giving the original version “credit” via the canonical URL.
For you tech-lovers, that’s done in the
<head> tag of a web page, where you can see the
<link rel=“canonical”> tag indicating the canonical source with the URL parameter:
Why is cross-posting a good thing?
Put simply, cross-posting content to other sites—when done correctly—will inevitably increase your brand’s reach and thought leadership. For one, you’re benefitting from new audience members who may never have heard of you before. On top of that, it’s boosting—not cannibalizing—your site’s SEO.
So go ahead—publish that article to multiple social media networks, and continue reading to learn how PubLoft syndicates content to push these benefits even further.
The beauty of working with PubLoft
As a PubLoft customer, you don’t just get monthly reports flagging duplicate content issues on and off your website. We also help distribute your content to top publications on the web—the ones whose readers most align with your industry, brand, and product/service.
We also cross-post your content onto our blog on occasion, with each canonical tag pointing right back to your domain as the original source of credibility. This makes us look good, of course, but as I mentioned earlier it can significantly boost your site’s SEO, organic search rankings, and industry authority. And it’s all part of the PubLoft experience, because we love our customers.
That’s all, folks! Want to try your hand at cross-posting? Read on, reader.
Setting canonical tags in various blogging platforms
If you’re ready to try this out for yourself, we’re happy to point you in the right directions. Following are a few of the major blogging platforms, with instructions for adding a canonical URL to each:
- In the Wordpress editor, navigate to Posts in the left-hand column.
- Create a new post, or edit an existing post.
- Towards the bottom of the page, find the section for Yoast SEO. (If you haven’t installed Yoast, do that first!)
- Click the gear icon (⚙) on the left. (If you don’t see it, a Wordpress administrator will need to click SEO in the main left column, then General, Features, and set “Security: no advanced settings for authors” to OFF. That will enable the gear icon for all authors.)
- In the Canonical URL section, paste the link to the original source.
- Publish or Update the post. You’re done!
- In the Hubspot blog post editor, click the Settings tab.
- Scroll down to the Advanced Options section and open it.
- In the Canonical URL field, enter original source URL. That’s it!
Medium is a bit special, offering four ways to properly syndicate your content through its platform. We’ll cover the simplest way, the “Import Story” feature, but you can read this Woorkup post for the others.
- Navigate to medium.com/p/import.
- Enter the URL of the post you want to publish on Medium, and click Import.
- Add your images and fix any formatting as needed. Get that post exactly the way you want it.
- Click the ••• menu icon and select Custom.
- Tweak the title, subtitle, and description as needed.
- Customize the URL to something short and relevant to your target keyword(s). You won’t be able to change this afterwards.
- Click the Publish dropdown (don’t worry, you’re not publishing yet), and add relevant tags.Click Publish!
Unfortunately, Ghost does not currently offer custom canonical URLs. We recommend using a different platform to achieve this core SEO functionality.
Wix, Weebly, Squarespace, Blogger, Tumblr, Joomla… oh my! There are many more blogging platforms out there. If you’re a PubLoft customer and need specific assistance adding canonical tags to one of these, just reach out via email and we’ll be glad to offer custom support. ✌️