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.
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:
- 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.
- 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).