Quoting News in your Blog

Some blogs are just running excerpts from news articles. These are generally worthless for marketing and have negative SEO value. We’ve written about duplicate content before, so we won’t go into that here. But there are times when you want to use part of a news article in your posts.

The first issue is permission. You can use a certain amount of text under “fair use” but you can’t quote the entire article or a huge segment without reprint rights. Often reprint rights are accessible – you just contact the paper via their web site about reprint rights and specify your reason and that it’s for a business blog, etc.

However, under “fair use”, you could probably reasonably quote a couple of paragraphs without a problem. We’re not giving a professional rule of thumb or legal advice about the length of a quotation – fair use is vague in the law – intentionally – so they can go after people selectively rather than evenly. But personally this writer will quote a couple of paragraphs at a time without incident.

Assuming you’re going to do that, for maximum SEO (search engine optimization), quote the piece in the context of your own post, article, or blog entry – with at least 100-200 words before and after. Examples are [here], [here], and [here].

If there’s enough of a lead-in, the article will be more likely to get treated as unique by google, even with the quotation in it. That way you actually get seo value out of it. Plus, it’s bad form to just slap a quotation on your site with nothing else – because visitors see it as lowering the value of your site – there’s nothing there they couldn’t have gotten elsewhere. Best practice is put quotations in the context of you making your own set of points.

Originality is king. If you see something in the news you just have to use, write a short (less than 500 words) article that’s the article that *you* would have written for the NYTimes, Wall Street Journal, or whatever, and include the quotation section in the middle of it, at the appropriate point. It’s fine to even take an article in a completely different direction than the original writer, because that’s precisely the point – borrowing the quotation but using it in the context of your own purposes and direction. You don’t want to represent it out of context, but you’re entitled to do more than just mimic someone else’s article – again added value is what’s important – don’t make it a rip off of someone else’s piece, because then they just don’t need your site – they can go to the source. Remember, search engines make the big internet small.

Lastly, you could include just a link to another article, with a few comments, but that’s bad form. It sends people off site without good cause. Plus – just a link, by itself, can lower SEO (you’re giving away juice). Instead, put a link to the original article in the quotation source. Like this:

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