Cover Image Credits: @stefanbc
This article is meant for Forem Creators to help explain to their community members how they can go about reposting content from other websites on Forem easily without losing SEO credit.
EDIT: When I mention "reposting" here I mean copying a full post and sharing it again as it originally appears. I consider this to be different than aggregating content which often involves posting a small snippet of a post and linking to it with a "Read more" hyperlink.
Many content creators out there are worried about reposting content they've created on one site to another site. In other words, if a person posts an article on Site A, they're often afraid of sharing this same article on Site B. But why?
The reason folks are most often nervous about re-sharing content is that they've read that posting duplicate content causes issues for their SEO. They are afraid to post content in multiple places because they don't want the SEO ranking to drop. SEO stands for search engine optimization and commonly refers to a specific site's ranking to search engine algorithms like Google. Having "bad SEO" generally means that the content in question is low ranking in search engines — no one wants bad SEO.
Generally folks who are reposting content are worried about:
a) their post becoming less discoverable in search engines
b) their website becoming less discoverable in search engines because the newer place that their content is published at might replace the first place that the article was published at.
Luckily, we've built Forem with content creators in mind and allow authors the ability to easily tell search engines where a reposted article originally came from by inputting the canonical URL. So long as authors can specify a canonical URL, then they should not have to worry about getting penalized for reposting content.
First off, the author will want to see which editor version they are using from /settings/customization.
Rich + markdown and reposting an article, the writer will need to click the gear icon at the bottom of the page next to "Save draft". They'll then see an input for "Canonical URL" where they can list the URL for the original location of the post. This will tell search engine crawlers that the post first appeared on whatever URL you set it to be.
Basic markdown and reposting an article, the writer will need to add
canonical_url: X to the front matter of their post to specify where the post first appeared, like so:
--- title: "" published: false tags: canonical_url: https://mycoolsite.com/my-post ---
After you've explained to your users that there is tooling available to designate canonical URLs and avoid SEO issues, you also might want to point out that there is a feature for easily importing content that exists elsewhere on the web.
"Publishing from RSS" allows users to import posts from an existing website onto Forem. This feature is found in settings (/settings/extensions) and gives users the ability to input an RSS Feed URL to import any articles that are added to the RSS. So, if a user has a personal blog that they've set up RSS for, they can continue to create articles on their blog and import them onto a Forem; this way they only need to write the article in one spot, but can easily import and post it onto whatever Forem they choose.
When reposting via RSS, the user has the option to mark the RSS source as canonical URL by default. The user will definitely want to do this if they hope to keep their SEO ranking high for the original source when reposting content.
Now that you know how to repost content without losing any SEO credit, we hope that you'll share this with your Forem community and encourage folks to repost any content that they wish to while using the guidance provided above.
Of course, if you have any questions about reposting content on Forem, don't hesitate to get in touch!