Will Cross-Posting Book Reviews Hurt Your SEO?

Hey there, Ashley. I have a concern regarding cross posting reviews on various sites. I know that some people consider it lame if you just post the summary of your reviews on Goodreads or booklikes and then just provide a link of your blog for the full review. I used to do it but figured that people might get annoyed if I do it constantly that’s why I just copy and paste all my reviews to other sites. However, I’ve read in some SEO articles that your site will get penalized by Google if it detects duplicating contents and that your posts might compete with each other in search rankings.

Is this true? Thank you, Ashley. Sorry for my very lengthy question. And I hope that it made sense.

Charlotte

Excellent question, Charlotte, thank you!

Before beginning, I want to make it very clear that I can’t give you a 100% accurate answer. In fact, no one really can except Google themselves. But I can give you a pretty educated guess. 🙂

This kind of duplicate content most likely won’t hurt you

Google’s views on duplicate content primarily exist for two reasons:

  1. To weed out spam. This refers to some people who just plagiarize their entire site and have no original content whatsoever. Or people who publish one post and have scripts automatically publish it to 5 other places.
  2. To give the searcher a variety of content. If someone performs a search, they won’t want to get 5 identical results; they want different content.

That being said…

It is my belief that cross-posting book reviews will not hurt your SEO, or if it does, it’s only a tiny amount.

One of the things Google looks at is intent. In this case, they look to see if the reason you’re duplicating content is to spam or dominate the search results, etc. But I think cross-posting on well-known review sites and your blog shows that you have a legitimate reason to do so. Goodreads, for example, uses schema markup to tell Google that a review is a review. So even if there’s not a human being sitting there, Google knows that Goodreads is a review site. So it makes sense that some content would be duplicated.

So I think that as a reviewer, you’re safe from point #1 (weeding out spam).

Now onto point #2.

If your reviews exist in multiple places, it’s possible that Google will only pick ONE of the results to show to the searcher. That’s because Google doesn’t want 3 pieces of the same content to show up in one search.

Now all I can really give you here is personal experience.. But I’ve noticed two things:

#1: Individual Goodreads reviews rarely show up in searches

To be fair, I could be wrong about this.. but I’ve rarely seen individual Goodreads book reviews show up on Google searches at all. Often the book’s homepage (which includes many reviews—not just one) shows up. But an individual book review page (like this example) basically never shows up. In fact, I just tried so hard to get one of my reviews to show up on Google (by using keywords like “goodreads review allegiant veronica roth nose graze”) and couldn’t make it happen. I got my own blog every time though.

One thing you can do to try to ensure that you beat out the competition (which, again, may not even be an issue) is to always post on your own blog first. Post the review on your blog, wait a few days for it to show up in search results, then post on other sites.

But, for the record, with that Allegiant example, I had posted the review on Goodreads before I posted it on my blog. But my blog’s review still comes out on top and the Goodreads one doesn’t show up at all.

#2: My blog always comes out on top of Goodreads/Amazon because it gets more traffic on the individual post

Another thing to consider is: which is most popular? I don’t know about you, but between my Amazon, Goodreads, and blog reviews, my blog reviews always get the most traffic/comments. Google also probably takes that into consideration when deciding which one(s) to leave out. The popular one will more likely remain in the results.

Think about what your priorities are

Different people will have different priorities. If your blog’s book reviews get a ton of search engine traffic and that’s your #1 priority, then maybe you don’t want to risk cross-posting reviews. Again, I don’t think it’s a huge risk, but if you’re REALLY serious about SEO, then you might as well not do it. Or, you could just post an excerpt of your review on the other sites, with a link to the full review.

However, I find that book reviews don’t get a ton of search engine traffic

Maybe I’m alone in this, but I’ve analyzed my search engine referrals and I find that I very rarely get a ton of search engine traffic on my book reviews. However, I get A TON on my Bitchin’ Book Blog posts, so I would never dare of cross-posting those, but book reviews rarely get a lot for me. Therefore, when it comes to book reviews, I have different priorities.

By cross-posting on other sites, you increase the chances that people will read your review, thus find your blog, thus come back to your original site. It’s almost a form of advertisement. If someone likes your review, they’ll check out your blog. I’ve had that happen to me a lot! I get a bunch of referrals from Goodreads and a bunch of authors coming to me on my blog saying, “I saw your review on Amazon and…”

So in those cases, I’d say that the pros (more referrals) outweigh the cons (your blog review getting “beaten” by a third party site cross-post).

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21 comments

  1. Wow this is such a great question! I haven’t ever thought about that, but it’s a good thing that it doesn’t really affect SEO. I usually don’t pay attention to that kind of stuff, but I also post reviews on Goodreads before I post them onto my blog, so it’s great that my blog review will most likely come up first. But I agree with how people usually don’t look up book reviews. I feel like people don’t read as much so when they like it they rely on book reviews on Goodreads (which don’t show up on Google and rarely show up at the top of the Goodreads list unless you have like 123029302 likes on it) or recommendations from friends. Either way, thanks for sharing, Ashley! <33

    Have a fantastic new year 🙂

    Eileen @ Singing and Reading in the Rain recently posted: Accomplishments and Resolutions for 2014
  2. I always cross-post my reviews to Goodreads, Amazon, and B&N.com. I never thought about if it hurt my pageviews or not. I guess that’s because I don’t really watch my stats all that much. The reason I cross-post is to help authors out and to really get the word out about awesome books. If that means that someone sees my review on Amazon and comes to visit my blog, well, that’s a bonus. Thanks so much for posting this! It’s good to know that it won’t usually hurt your SEO.

    Rebecca @ The Library Canary recently posted: End of the Year Book Survey: 2013
  3. What does SEO mean? Otherwise, this wasn’t something I thought about, but I’m glad that it was brought up. Although, I cross-post shorter versions on Goodreads with link ups to my blog. A person can get short ‘n sweet, or long and mildly technical.
    – Krys

    Krys recently posted: This Year: 2013
    1. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It is basically how well/often/high your blog shows up on search engines. 🙂

  4. Just a tip.

    I have seen my Goodreads reviews show up in search results but it is rare. I traced them all back to http://us.macmillan.com/ which shows GR reviews on their book pages. This is one of the reasons why I don’t cross post full reviews on GR.

    But, the conditions must be right. Your review has to actually show on the widget. I think (not sure) they are filtered in some way such as most popular. I know some of my GR reviews of Macmillan books are visible, (and have shown up in a search result) but most are not.

  5. Happy New Year!

    And interesting topic.. Although this has been nagging me for some time now, I never got around to sit and think about it. Posting my reviews in other sites have some impact on the SEO of my blog post? Hmm..but I think I can’t avoid it, maybe as Krys said I can post the shorter versions and point the link..

  6. Thank you so much. I was wondering about cross posting. I post all of my reviews on other sites because most people don’t like just a link. I’m about to start posting them to google plus but noticed that everyone just posts a link which is what I’m going to do there.

    I just wonder how bad it might spam everyone if I go back and post all of my reviews? I have around 160 of them so I’m not sure if I should go back and post them all or just start with my newer ones? All of my other sites like Goodreads, LibraryThing, Amazon, etc have all my books and reviews already on them but it sure can be a pain to start out new on another review site after you’ve already reviewed a ton of books. I wish I had started blogging at the same time I started reviewing.

    Jamie Pinson recently posted: Trouble (The Rebel Series #3) – Elle Casey
    1. I don’t really think it’s worth posting old reviews on Google+, if that’s what you meant. It makes sense to do that on a book/library/review site (like Goodreads, LibraryThing, Amazon), because on those the purpose is reviews. So people will often go back and read your old reviews.

      But Google+ is equivalent to Facebook and Twitter. It’s not really an *archive* of information, it’s more of a live stream. So adding tons of old book reviews won’t really be useful to anyone.

      1. Thank you, that was exactly what I was wondering. There’s a few book review communities on Google plus so I wasn’t quite sure how to treat them. If I should just add all of them or newer ones. I’m just going to put new ones on there. Plus I’ve just added all my reviews and/or updated all my sites and I’m getting super tired of doing it hehe.

        Jamie Pinson recently posted: Trouble (The Rebel Series #3) – Elle Casey
  7. Google tailors your search results to you based on what sites you visit the most. That’s why when you search, you see your blog results before Amazon or Goodreads. Someone else searching for the item might see a different site, then Amazon, then you.

    Although I do agree that I don’t remember seeing Goodreads reviews pop up in search results.

    To be safe, I post a shorter review at Amazon and an even shorter one at Goodreads. That way, there is no fear of duplicate content for SEO.

  8. I always cross-post my reviews on Goodreads, Amazon, etc. and I never even thought about that. But I think you’re right that they probably would pull up my blog because it gets the most page views.

    Amber recently posted: Teaser Tuesday

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