I stumbled upon an interesting service I don’t think many SEOs know about – at least, not the few I’ve asked. It’s called repost.us. Looks like it’s about 2 years old.
Simple premise: Add your site to the database, and others can republish your content. They say, “It’s the wire service reinvented for the web.”
Click any image to enlarge
A user of repost.us can login, search for content, and simply copy and paste the blue embed code (with a couple checkbox options) right into their website. See below – one of my articles, straight from this blog, has been added to their database. This is how a user sees it:
Notice above, circled in red, there is an Adsense block as part of the copied code. This isn’t my Adsense code; instead it appears to be added there by the repost.us team, and does appear to wind up in your posted article. This gives repost.us a chance to monetize for the service. This also gives a publisher, who embeds Adsense, a chance to swing their publisher ID over as well. Interesting way to earn more Adsense clicks.
What About Duplicate Content?
Right. The dreaded D word. Here’s a site that took my content and reposted it:
Did you notice the attribution links (in red) at the bottom? These particular links don’t show in the source code either (but others do – read on).
<div class=”rpuArticle rpuRepost-7af546614f6b5e93c9c6053b466c1a0f-top” style=”margin:0;padding:0;”>
Let’s face it – the SEO industry has a tendency to stomp a tactic into the ground. Some of us even get lazy (pleny of this kind of junk around). Directory submissions were once wildly valuable, then SEOs started creating directories by the thousands…
</div><!– put the “tease”, “jump” or “more” break here –><hr id=”system-readmore” style=”display: none;” /><!–more–><!–break–><hr class=”at-page-break” style=”display: none;”/><div class=”rpuEmbedCode”>
<div class=”rpuArticle rpuRepostMain rpuRepost-7af546614f6b5e93c9c6053b466c1a0f-bottom” style=”display:none;”> </div>
<div style=”display: none;”><!– How to customize this embed: http://www.repost.us/article-preview/hash/4917fea1ea6f6df42de6a8f3d7cb3d4d –></div>
See the links in red above? The The Kind Of SEO I Want To Be (via http://www.greenlaneseo.com/) links? Those are the only two links that appear to link back to my original, canonical blog post. They live in the source code behind the full injected content. Sadly they are both the same shortened URLs (in this case http://s.tt/1MWo1) but they are at least 301 redirects. If you believe 301′s dampen PageRank more than straight links, despite statements from Matt Cutts, then this is probably disappointing.
In my experience, this small amount of duplicate content, with one or two links back to the original document (including 301′s), don’t seem to cause any duplicate content issues. I’ve had my content posted on Business 2 Community in full with an attribution link, and Google still seems to figure it out. My posts still wind up ranking first – even if it takes a few weeks.
Seems SEO Friendly Enough… But How Were The Results?
I emailed the team at repost.us and asked for a user count and activity. CEO John Pettitt kindly responded:
“We don’t give exact numbers but you can assume between 10K and 100K sites embed content in any given month. There are over 5000 sites contributing content. We have not quite 4 million articles in the system and we republish between 50 and 200K articles a month.
The average reposted article gets ~150 views per post, that goes up a lot for new content where it runs ~2000 and we regularly see content getting 20-50K views for an article if a bigger sites picks it up. The usage is very quality sensitive, if it’s content farm quality “seo bait” it probably won’t do well. it’s it’s original well written content it will do better.”
Pretty awesome numbers! Unfortunately, I didn’t fair so well.
After running at least 3 months, with only 6 domains republishing my articles (one apparently being repost.us itself), I received a total of 40 total impressions (disregard the chart above that suggests 21 for just for the few they show in the summary). Still, that’s 6 links I got without really doing anything but writing for my own blog.
Also, out of all the posts on my blog, there were only 6 different posts shared through the 6 different sites (I have blog posts dating back to 2007). I did see a year old post, but for the most part, all the content that got republished was newer content. I don’t know if that’s because their system chose to suppress old posts, or just a coincidence.
Finally, after spot checking the 6 sites that hosted at least one article, all but the repost.us domain were extremely poor. DA of less than 15 with virtually no external links according to Moz. Now I’m much less excited about the handful of links I received.
So it wasn’t a success for me, but in light of the numbers John (from repost.us) shared, I could very well be unlucky or simply not in line with what the user base is looking for. I write for the SEO industry. The users of this service may very well not have any interest in SEO. Or, maybe I’m just not writing interesting stuff (but I refuse to believe that!).
But I do believe in the power of reposting content. I’m not completely afraid of duplicate content over getting more eyeballs onto a piece of my content strategy. At the end of the day, republishing for eyeballs – even in traditional paper media – was a marketing goal. Again, I believe Google is good enough at sorting most light duplicate content eventually, whereas repost.us also took precautions to make sure they helped avoid adding noise to the signal and misguide the algorithm into mistaking the canonical URL. We actually just started to use repost.us for some of our clients as well, taking note of the different categories the service supports.
My only concern with the service is, based on an unfair sample of 6, there may be a lot of spammers republishing and looking to achieve an article marketing type of model (ie, post everything, monetize with ads). Could the spam links hurt? Probably not, but I would definitely keep my eyes open as an SEO.
My one sentence bottom line review: Absolutely worth a try. It could yield some great SEO and marketing results, especially when / if the service grows.