Usually when other blogs post your content is a good thing, you increase your visibility, you get some extra traffic and depending on the blog, it could even be good for your search engine ranking.
But wait! There is also a negative side to it. There is a fine line between aggregation and just hijacking content. In this posts we’ll review two different real-life scenarios based on the same piece of content and we’ll discuss the etiquette for good honest aggregation, what not to do and how if affects the source.
The Proper Way
So let’s pay attention to a couple of items here:
- HolyKaw! has slightly modified the headline of the post
- They wrote their own excerpt, a short couple of paragraphs using their own words to describe or summarize the story
- In this case, since it is a list, they have only included three items
- They are even using their own photography
- Proper credit to the source was included (in red), with a link
- They have included a call to action to visit the source
What HolyKaw! does is aggregating content, what they consider interesting. People trust them for that and this usually results in you getting traffic from a trusted source. This is not the first time a SocialMouths post gets picked up by the site and I can tell you that it always drives a nice amount of traffic, this time, an extra 1,129 visits in only 5 days I wasn’t planning on.
Not all sites will offer that kind of traffic, we’re talking Guy Kawasaki here… but every month a few blogs here and there do something similar and that can bring you a couple of hundred visits. Awesome!
The Dark Side Of The Moon
Not all aggregation is created equal and while it doesn’t necessarily mean there are bad intentions behind it, it still affects the source. Let’s take a look at this other case…
I gotta admit this example has a couple of elements that are funny or even ironic, they have emphasized the first line of the post, which reads “Writing content is not easy, no doubt about it.”, which I didn’t in the original post, you know, the one that was not easy to write…
Also, at the end of the post, in the related posts section they list a post called “Tips On Creating Content For Your Blog“. Are you kidding me?
The previous image shows the beginning and end of the post because it’s too long to show the whole thing.
Now to the serious stuff:
- The headline is exactly the same as the original post
- The byline says that the post is “by kwpreston” (the “kw” stands for Keller Williams)
- There are parts in which I wrote in first person and they were left like that giving you the impression that is actually kwpreston writing it
- They have posted the entire content of the post, which has a word count of 1,280
- They are also using the same images without any attribution to the sources
- At the end of the post, they give credit to SocialMouths WITHOUT A LINK and gracefully added a nice call to action that reads “Check it out”… There is nothing to check out anymore
But besides getting pissed off at someone that just hijacked your content, there are other issues you need to consider:
- In my case, I make an effort to provide value week after week by offering free content, that means it is there for you and I hope you get to leverage from it
- Sometimes, people that reads my content turn into clients because they like what I do. Thank you for that
- Sometimes, people find SocialMouths on search engines because I wrote about a specific topic
So what happens now? not only we are misleading readers but we are also confusing the search engines by having duplicated content.
What To Do?
I’ll give you 3 more bullets before I go:
- Read this great post from Jason Falls: How Share Alike Copyright Can Hurt Your Brand And SEO
- Head over to Creative Commons and learn about how to protect your content (even if it’s free)
- And tell the blogger in question that you’re happy to have your content aggregated as long as it’s done the right way
What Do You Think?
So what’s the point of writing a post like this? First hoping that we all learn a little more on what aggregation is and how to do it properly and second, so we understand that even if you offer free content, you should protect it.
What are your thoughts on the whole matter? Share in the comments section of this post and feel free to disagree with me if you need to.
Photo Credit: Franz Patzig