Sometimes a writer says something you think is just swell, and you want to share it with your readers. You don’t want to change it, but present it unsullied and un-curated, so the reader gets the same impact from the post that you did when you read it.
You can do this, without stepping on someone’s toes and without triggering Google’s wrath for duplicate content. You do it by using a “canonical” URL. We’re going to walk through this process of proper reposting using this post of Neil Patel’s as an illustration: How to Structure a Perfect SEO Optimized Page.
First things first: It’s good manners (if not technologically necessary) to get permission for a repost. We’ve used a post or two of Neil’s before, and he includes an embed code for people to use to share his work, so we know he’s not averse to sharing. Once that’s out of the way, here’s the process.
1. Capture the content of the post you want, and put it into your own content management system. (Unless an image was created by the original poster, I suggest you leave it out. If the poster is using stock photography, they may have paid for the right to use a photo or image…but that right may or may not extend to a third party [that would be you] using the image. Don’t assume you have the rights.)
2. Prep it with the usual metadata. Have the URL of the post (in our example, the one on Neil’s site) at hand. In this case, it is: http://www.quicksprout.com/2014/11/21/how-to-structure-a-perfect-seo-optimized-page/
3. Now, you want to modify the canonical URL (which should be set to reference the post on your site by default) to point to the URL of the original article. This lets the search engines know that your article isn’t the original source of the content. This tells the search engines two important things:
- Which link to return in a search (the original, not yours)
- Which page to give link juice to (the original, not yours)
4. In our example, the information for the canonical URL is from Neil’s page: http://www.quicksprout.com/2014/11/21/how-to-structure-a-perfect-seo-optimized-page/
You can go straight to the advanced information section of your content management system to fill this in. You may want your webmaster to show you how to do this; it should be correct before this post goes live.
We’ll show you what this looks like in a WordPress content management system with a Yoast plugin. Inside the Yoast app I’m going to do this:
a. Click on the Advanced tab
b. When the Advanced page opens, scroll down to the canonical field
c. Enter the URL of the post on Neil’s site:
That’s all there is to it. I just gave my post a canonical link to Neil’s website that will be a clear signal to Google or any other search engine. The search engine knows what this means, and will not treat your post as duplicate content.
Confirming that it’s right, part 1:
Go to Neil’s post. Right-click on the page. A dialog box will open up. Choose and click “View Page Source.”
Confirming that it’s right, part 2:
Now a page of code will open up. Click Control + F to open up a box that will let you search the page (red oval in the image below). Enter “canonical.” This search will show you where the rel=canonical link is on this page (yellow highlight in the image below).
Confirming that it’s right, part 3:
I’m going to double-check that the rel=canonical link on my blog post is the same as the rel=canonical on Neil’s post. (It is supposed to be.) I look at my post in Preview, click View Page Source, and find that it is:
Okay! If Google (or another search engine) decides this content is the best answer to a searcher’s question, this is the URL (with its associated metadata, such as title and metadescription) that will be returned to the searcher. The searcher will see only Neil’s post, with its title and metadata.
This is the outcome you want: Your readers get to read the post; the search engines are clear that it is Neil’s content, and Neil gets any link love that attaches to this content.
And now, on to the actual post we used as an example:
How to Structure a Perfect SEO Optimized Page
by Neil Patel
With Google looking at over 200 factors when ranking a website, how do you know which ones to focus on? Or better yet, what steps do you need to take in order to improve your rankings?
In order to help you with your on-page optimization, I’ve created an infographic that shows you how to make each of your web pages search-engine-friendly.
Click on the image below to see a larger view:
The biggest mistake I see companies make is mess up their URL structure. If you are strapped for time, focus on fixing that first. It’s one of the hardest things to fix, but it will pay off in the long run.
The rest can be fixed over time, and it isn’t as complicated. For example, improving load time can be done with the help of Google PageSpeed.