They say that there’s no such thing as a new idea. Everything under the sun has been done, and will be done again. So there’s no need to wrack your brains trying to come up with new content for your blog every time you sit down to post. Chances are, someone’s already got something out there on the world wide web that you can use as a jumping-off point.
But what are the rules of engagement when it comes to publishing other sites’ posts on your blog?
Can I Publish Another Site’s Post On My Blog?
Is it legal to copy blog posts? Not really. You might not find yourself banged up for life, but you leave yourself open to copyright claims.
If you take away one thing from this post, let it be this: never repost an entire article without permission from the original creator. This can be considered theft of intellectual property, which is something you don’t want to entangle yourself in. It’s also just basic bad manners.
The good news is that most people won’t mind their blogs being shared, as long as you ask first and credit them within the post. After all, they made their post to be shared; more eyes on their content is good news for both of you.
Does Google Punish Duplicate Content?
Contrary to popular myth, Google does not have a duplicate content penalty. However, doubled-up content can act as a source of confusion for a search engine, as they won’t know which source to prioritise.
The best way to implement another site’s post is by quoting the most relevant paragraphs and building original content around it. This way you can avail of the good work that’s been done before, while putting your own spin on the info (and avoiding potential SEO troubles). It makes you look insightful AND engaged.
Simply reposting someone’s blog can make you come across as lazy. That’s not the image you want to project to your audience. You can show authority in your industry as well as a willingness to learn from others; a very attractive combination.
Can I copy content for my blog? Yes, if you switch it up a little first. It’s perfectly acceptable to just use informed copy as a launchpad for your own musings as long as you’re not claiming any original content as your own.
For example, you’re more than welcome to share the myth-busting nugget of info in the previous section about Google not penalising duplicate content without asking our permission. We didn’t discover it from Sergey Brin himself in a candid interview or anything… You can imagine what it’d be like if we did though! Awesome!
However, if you just copy and pasted the whole paragraph, that would be crossing the line and you’d be off our Christmas card list for good. Which would be a real shame, because PepperStorm Christmas cards rock. Oh yeah, and you’d also confuse search engines and they’d likely deprioritise your blog. Double whammy.
So instead of just copy and pasting, you can take the gist of their points and rewrite them in your own voice – again, as long as they are pretty much common knowledge and not a unique claim like, “Here’s the formula for cold fusion that I decided to tag on to the end of my beetroot & walnut cake recipe.“
Or, you could write a synopsis of the article, linking to it, but not directly quoting from it; this option is probably best when dealing with any nuclear hypothesis or baked goods advice, as we all know how protective home chefs can get.
If you simply must repost an entire article from someone else, make sure it’s a masterpiece and don’t forget to get permission (in writing). However, ideally you’ll want to create your own content one way or another, using another article as inspiration.
Wherever and whoever you’re taking your cues from, make sure your blogging stays consistent, informative and engaging!