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Is Duplicate Content on Medium and LinkedIn Bad for SEO?

Have you asked yourself if duplicate content on Medium and LinkedIn is bad for SEO? The experts weigh in with actual tests they've tried!

Is Duplicate Content on Medium and LinkedIn Bad for SEO?

Orbit Media Studios recently shared findings from a 2015 in-depth survey completed by 1,000+ bloggers to find useful data and patterns. Among many other useful tidbits, this survey found that blog posts take anywhere from one hour to more than six hours to complete. The average blog post takes 1-2 hours from start to publish.

This measurement represents a formidable investment of time. As most bloggers and digital marketers know, the time investment doesn’t stop when the blog post is published—it’s just the beginning. There are many additional steps that must be taken to successfully promote a blog post to a relevant audience to make it worth writing in the first place!

As such, reposting blog content on platforms like LinkedIn Pulse or Medium is tempting to help achieve additional views and reach. The problem most people worry about when reposting content is whether or not it will be considered duplicate content to a search engine.

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What is Duplicate Content?

The most basic definition of duplicate content is content is where exact text has been copied from one page and pasted on a different page with no changes made. Stoney deGeyter wrote a complete guide to duplicate content, for those who want a more well-rounded understanding of the topic.

Although your content should be originally published on your website, Google could theoretically give attribution to LinkedIn or Medium and rank your content on those sites higher than the same content on your website. Google does try to identify the original source first.

What is Medium?

Medium is a publishing platform that aggregates a collection of in-depth articles on many different topics. During a conversation with Josh Hoffman of The Social Media Freelancer, he said using Medium is one of his most successful strategies for building his personal brand. He notes that the audience is more philosophical and intellectual than the average audience, which helps him get the right eyes on some of his more in-depth pieces. According to Hoffman, it’s a great place to start establishing thought-leadership. He admits he’s not so concerned about SEO best practices and ranking.

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What’s convenient about Medium is its link to Twitter. Signing up for an account using your Twitter handle means you will already have a handful of followers before your first post. People reading your articles can then “recommend” them, which helps drive articles to viral status and reach people who aren’t currently following you.

What is LinkedIn Pulse?

Using LinkedIn’s Pulse publishing platform is a great way to become more visible to LinkedIn connections, as well as those that are not yet in your professional network.

Unlike a LinkedIn status update, which is only shown to followers who are perusing their news feed, an update on LinkedIn Pulse sends a notification to everyone in your network. If the article becomes popular with your connections (through a multitude of views, likes, and/or comments), it will get pushed to an additional, relevant audience.

So, is Duplicate Content on Medium and LinkedIn bad for SEO?

It’s hard to say definitively whether duplicate content on LinkedIn and Medium is bad for SEO. Several experts reported their findings after performing their own tests with each platform:

  • Ryan Battles shares his experience with reposting content ONLY to LinkedIn and Medium. In both cases, his original article is ranked higher than the Medium and LinkedIn version of the article. He notes that the articles are identical—no changes were made. The only difference between articles is the platform that they were posted on (his website and Medium/LinkedIn).
  • In an interview Rignite conducted with Andy Crestodina of Orbit Media Studios, Crestodina admits that LinkedIn republishing is duplicate content, but in his subjective opinion, it will affect search engine rankings. He recommends waiting at least a week after the content is originally published on your own website before trying to republish it on Medium or LinkedIn. Another useful tip from Crestodina is his suggestion to write an article that takes the opposite perspective of the original. For example, if your original article is about “The 5 best ways to promote your blog post,” you might write an article for LinkedIn/Medium about “The 5 worst ways to promote your blog post.”
  • Neil Patel of Quick Sprout talks about using canonical links to make sure if you repost content to an outside source (like Entrepreneur.com), the original article gets the credit on Google search. Unfortunately, Google says you can’t use the rel=canonical tag in the body of a page, and currently Medium and LinkedIn don’t give you the option to add it in the header (however, one option would be to publish on LinkedIn or Medium first, then use a plugin like Yoast SEO [no affiliation] to set up a rel=canonical tag on your duplicate blog post on your website).
  • Finally, Jennifer Slegg of The SEM Post states that, “having duplicate content will not penalize a site in any way, and it doesn’t affect pages on the site that aren’t duplicated.  So just because you have duplicate content doesn’t mean your site will never see the light of day in Google, just those duplicate pages could be hidden away.”

There were a few other places where I found good feedback. Search Engine Journal asked a group of the contributors in 2014 whether publishing on the LinkedIn platform was useful and most had unique opinions as to how duplicate content affected search—however, almost all of the opinions were positive.

Razvan Gavrilas of cognitiveSEO brought up the idea that publishers may try to take advantage of the LinkedIn publishing platform to use ‘dofollow’ links. He thinks Google may notice and need to create a penalty if things get out of hand.

How Can You Avoid Duplicate Content on Medium and LinkedIn?

If you’re more interested in brand building than search engine ranking, there’s really nothing holding you back from posting duplicate content on any platform. To you, getting more eyes on your content is likely your number one goal and Medium and LinkedIn can help you achieve just that.

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If you’re worried about posting exact duplicate content on LinkedIn or Medium, here are a couple tips to minimize or eradicate potential penalties (or just plain confusion from your readers about the same content published in multiple places):

  • Wait at least seven days before creating duplicate content on LinkedIn and Medium, so Google has a chance to index the original page first (or publish on LinkedIn or Medium first, then use rel=canonical for your website’s blog post version).
  • Use Crestodina’s suggestion of positioning your article from an opposite perspective (i.e. “the best” versus “the worst” of something).
  • Publish the first paragraph of your article as a teaser on LinkedIn with a link to read more. This would not be recommended for Medium, as the platform relies on recommendations to achieve a viral factor past your own followers.
  • Reword the entire article. You’ll have to decide if it’s worth the effort.
  • Avoid it entirely and create content unique to LinkedIn, Medium, and your website or any other online platforms.

However, with all this speculation, there is confirmation from Google. Gary Illyes has stated that republishing articles won’t cause a penalty, and that it’s simply a filter they use when evaluating sites. Most sites are only penalized for duplicate content if the site is 100% copied content.

Have you had success reposting duplicate content on Medium and LinkedIn? Share your thoughts in the comments!

Featured Image Credit: Pixabay.com


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Maddy Osman

SEO Content Strategist at The Blogsmith

Maddy Osman creates engaging content with SEO best practices for marketing thought leaders and agencies that have their hands full ... [Read full bio]

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