12 Days of Data 2021, Day 11: Content Republishing


Welcome to the 12 Days of Data 2021 Edition, our look back at the data that made marketing in 2021. We’re looking at the year that was (and oh, what a year it was… again…) from an analytics perspective to see what insights we can take into the next year. Sit up, get your coffee ready, and let’s celebrate some data and look forward to the year ahead.

Content Republishing

On the eleventh day of the 12 Days of Data, we examine content republishing. Content republishing is the act of taking an existing piece of content, potentially making changes to it of some kind, and then publishing it again on a new date. This practice has become far more commonplace in the last few years as publications of all kinds have focused on enhancing SEO strength (continually reposting their best content for new inbound links) as well as journalistic publications facing staffing shortages simply republishing to fill a content queue. But does content republishing work? Does it generate results? Let’s take a look.

Content republishing

At a high level, content republishing:

  • Earns 14% fewer shares on Twitter
  • Earns 71% fewer shares on Pinterest
  • Earns 0.45% less traffic
  • Earns 175% more linking domains
  • Is done so frequently, content is rarely more than 30 days old
  • Is 23% longer in terms of word count

Out of 104 million English language pages published in 2020:

  • 5.4 million pages, 5.21%, were republished intra-year
  • Republished pages earned 7.78% less traffic than new pages
  • Republished pages had 5.6% less traffic value in terms of organic search value
  • Republished pages had 23% fewer social shares
  • Republished pages had a 32% increase in referring domains

When we look at the trend of when content was republished, we see:


We see this clear, massive wave of content that’s consistently being republished and kept fresh; rarely is republished content allowed to simply sit and age in place – if it’s worth republishing once, it’s worth continuing to republish.

So What?

Republishing content is a useful technique to refresh and update old content, but new, original content performs better for the third year in a row for traffic and social shares – but not for inbound links.

With this insight, it’s important to weigh the considerations about a republished page versus a new page. If you don’t have the resources to consistently crank out new, high-quality content, republished content is better than poor quality or no content, but it’s less than optimum. If you’re pursuing republishing content as a way to make up for staffing shortfalls, just know that it will not perform as well. If you’re pursuing it for long term SEO benefit, you’ll receive some benefit from potentially increased inbound links.

This remains a marketing opportunity for those who excel at creating original content. If you identify a publication in your industry or niche which is relying heavily on republished content just to keep the lights on, you may be able to submit new, original content for publication that is better than what they’re recycling and have a very low bar of entry for your content. That in turn can be used as leverage to publish content on ever-increasing quality publications, as you develop a reputation for being a source of high-quality, original material.


Trust Insights used the AHREFS crawling engine to extract 1,793,796 articles from the 2021 index. Pages were selected using English language stopwords with adult content filtered out and homepages of sites filtered out. The dataset was merged, then de-duplicated by article URL. Articles were limited to the English language, and republished articles from prior years were excluded. For top stories, article headlines were aggregated and then parsed into bigrams, then frequency counted as a representation of the most important stories. The measure of centrality used for this study was the median. The period of the study is January 1, 2021 – December 20, 2021. The date of data extraction is December 21, 2020. Trust Insights is the sole sponsor of the study and neither gave nor received compensation for data used, beyond applicable service fees to software vendors.


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