I received an email today from a client being told to invest in building a Posterous presence for their real estate business. They were told that posting to Posterous is no different than posting directly on Facebook or posting the same content on their Tribus website.
Own Your Content
I hear this push for using auto posting tools, and any other tools where your content is tossed about the Internet. Unfortunately, I believe it to be terrible advice. And that comes from someone who 3 years ago was one of the first people to embrace the benefits of Posterous for real estate. Sure it’s easy, you post it one place, and it magically goes everywhere. Only problem is it’s simply not the same thing as doing it the right way. Below you’ll see my unfiltered email back to the client about why autoposting tools are not the way to go.
1) The issue I was primarily referring to was Edgerank, Facebook’s ranking algorithm to decide what you see in your newsfeed, which is not necessarily the same thing as SEO. When you share something on Facebook, each item is given a score relative to each person that could potentially see it. It’s based on a lot of different factors, such as how often you’ve commented back and forth with the person, how often you are tagged in photos together, if you’ve poked each other etc. But most importantly for this discussion, it takes into account how the content was shared. If you share through a sharing service like Posterous, Ping.FM, NetworkedBlogs, etc. Facebook knows you didn’t physically click the button to share it on Facebook and that it used the Facebook Connect system to send it the data. It considers this content to be autoposted to their site and that automatically gives is a lower EdgeRank score. It is immediately lower ranked and has a much lower propensity to show up on people’s walls. One study found that your post was 650% more likely to be viewed and ranked prominently if you manually share it as opposed to autoshare.
2) There is a HUGE difference about posting to Posterous or any other site vs. posting to your own site. You own your content on your site. You do NOT own your content on other sites. If Posterous went out of business tomorrow what would you do? Where would your links go? All of the traffic that Google would be generating you would be gone in a flash.
Furthermore, when you post a link on Facebook manually back to your own site, if someone likes the content and wants to read more if it’s an article for example, or if it’s a photo perhaps they want to see a larger version etc, but when they click the link when shared from Posterous it takes them to…. Posterous. When you click the link on something you originally share on your own site and manually post it to Facebook, it sends them back to your site, where they can then engage with your other content and you can pick up that person as a lead perhaps. I see this regularly, someone sees an interesting article on their community, they click to one of our brokerages pages, then next to it is real estate search, they get into searching and suddenly the broker has a lead they can work with that person together on and proactively market to them with information about the community they are interested in…
3) Google does by definition segregate content between your own site and your Posterous page. When Google indexes a site, part of the ranking that they give you is around the entirety of content on your site. When you share things on your page, they are indexed on your page. When you share things on Posterous to push out to Facebook. The content lives on Posterous, and therefore when Google indexes the content it’s going to show the Posterous page instead of your website. The more content you can have on your site that is relevant and recent about your topics the higher you will rank for harder to reach search terms like Homes in Los Angeles. When you spread your content all around, you’re unfocused strategy will hurt your long term SEO efforts.