You will know that you are creating a successful legal blog when other online marketers start reaching out to capitalize on your success. They will see your solid rankings, web traffic, and domain authority and try using it for their own gain.
In some cases, you may benefit from their efforts. In most, though, what you stand to gain can actually undermine your success and hurt your online legal marketing efforts in the long run.
Republishing your legal blog content is one example.
How Republishing Content Works
While the practice is in decline, there are still numerous sites on the internet that exist by republishing articles that were written for other domains. They often hold themselves out to be a kind of “trade journal” for the internet. These sites are very similar to content scrapers, but there is one important difference: While content scrapers act of their own accord when they copy your content, republishing websites ask politely, first.
Just like other aggregating websites, republishing websites aim to republish articles by “thought leaders,” attract a web following as a reputable and reliable source of curated information, and then capitalize on the resulting web traffic with advertising revenue.
When your legal blog begins to attract a following, these republishing domains see you as a potential asset. They may reach out to you with the “generous offer” of republishing some of your content on their site. They’ll claim that it will expose your article to a wider audience and bring in more web traffic, and may even offer what they claim is a “lucrative backlink.”
Republishing Can, Sometimes, Drive Traffic
A few republishing opportunities can be worthwhile – like those that come from reputable journals or bar associations. These can lead to significant exposure with an audience that you care about and can far outweigh the drawbacks of having your material posted elsewhere on the internet.
Most republishing opportunities, though, fall flat on the exposure side of the bargain. Worse, what few views your article gets on the republisher’s website count for nothing unless they follow the link to your law firm’s website. If a backlink to your site is provided, it will likely score few SEO points because it comes from a republishing website that is almost guaranteed to have a low domain authority.
There are 4 Drawbacks to Having Your Content Somewhere Else
While there is an element of consent to republished content that does not exist in content scraping, all of the downsides of scraped content exist with republished content.
1. Split Backlinks
Readers who engage with your article and decide it’s worth linking to will almost always link to the version they see first. It’s rare for a reader to take the time to search for the original source. If they engage with your article on a republisher’s website, first, you won’t benefit from that backlink.
These split backlinks will undermine the SEO potency of the version of the article that’s hosted on your law firm’s domain.
2. Any Internal Links in the Article Suddenly Look Suspicious
A key component of legal blogging is distributing internal links throughout the text in a way that signals to search engines what other pages on your site are about, and to help readers dive deeper into what your site has to offer.
When you let another site republish your article, all of those internal links become backlinks. This might seem like a great thing, until you realize how spammy all of those backlinks look. You may end up getting penalized.
3. Your Article Ends Up Competing With Itself
An identical article will rank for identical keywords. When you let someone else republish your article on their site, you’re creating a competitor for your post. Depending on the SEO potency of the republisher’s website, you may even see your article get eclipsed in the rankings by the duplicate.
4. Duplicate Content Repercussions
Finally, Google and other search engines frown on duplicate or copied content. They know that it frustrates search engine users when they run a search query and see multiple entries in the results page that are actually the same. To prevent this, search engines try filtering out duplicates.
Unfortunately, search engines can have trouble determining which article is the “original” and which is the “duplicate.” In some cases, your original post can get incorrectly flagged as the copy and held out of the search results. When this happens, all of the time and effort that you put into that post gets taken by the republishing site.