What is content syndication?
Content syndication is the process of publishing your content out to third party websites. Your content could be blogs, snippets of blogs, videos, articles or even pages of your website. Third party sites would then publish your content on their own websites.
What are the benefits of content syndication?
The benefits for the recipients are that they have tonnes of very high quality, interesting content on a range of topics or highly relevant topics on their site all the time with minimal effort.
The benefits for the ones syndicating their content is that the content is published on multiple sites that regularly receive high traffic, therefore expanding your audience.
Who, typically, is content syndication most useful for?
Small publishers and writers who have yet to make their mark can find content syndication particularly useful in expanding their audience and getting their name out there.
What are the SEO challenges of content syndication?
The problem with standard content syndication is that it is duplicate content. This means that Google may only show one version of the content in search results. If the websites you are syndicating your content to have more traffic than your own site they might have more authority in Google’s eyes and therefore your site wouldn’t even rank for your own content even if the original version was on your site.
If you are looking to generate sales, leads or traffic then this could actually be detrimental to your digital marketing. Your high-quality piece wouldn’t rank and another site would be gaining all the benefit from your hard work. Syndicating entire articles is usually not the correct approach if sales, leads, traffic or high rankings are your aim. It could still be valuable for brand awareness or creating viral content but again only if the third-party sites appropriately credit you.
Worse still, if you syndicate content frequently and/or use syndicated content for your own site, you could have high levels of duplicate content or be mistakenly regarded as having high levels of duplicate content. This could result in a Google penalty. Since the September 2016 Google algorithm update Penguin works in real time and only penalises individual pages not the whole website. This is still negative if you have created an incredible piece of content but your original version is mistakenly viewed as the duplicate. If you syndicate a lot of your content and multiple pieces are penalised, you could start seeing the negative impact on your SEO.
How to carry out good quality content syndication?
• To side step the duplicate content problem the appropriate use of rel=canonical can save you. This is also great for any potential similar content and especially useful for e-commerce sites listing similar products. By adding rel=canonical you tell Google which version of the content is the one that should rank in search results. Other alternatives are to no index all but the original versions. The other versions will still open up new audiences for you and potentially drive traffic without complicating your SEO.
• Syndicating your headline, a short snippet and a link to the original content could be more useful than syndicating your entire blog. Users who discover your content can click through to the original source and become traffic to your site.
• Ensuring you are properly credited as the author is the best way to build reputation for your brand with your syndicated content. Quality is always better than quantity so approaching one high quality, relevant site could actually be more beneficial than syndicating your content out to lots of sites. If you want your content to reach a larger audience for the purpose of generating leads, consider guest posting rather than content syndication. A small amount of guest posting high quality content that is 100% original is considered a higher quality content marketing strategy than content syndication.
• If you do proceed with content syndication, rather than guest posting on one high quality blog, then at least save it for your most impressive pieces of content. This way you can try to produce a viral effect whilst maintaining high quality SEO and content marketing.
• Ensure you use rel=canonical on pieces published on third party sites.
• Always consider what your business goals are before engaging in content syndication. Consider which is more important to you: conversions, traffic, rankings or brand awareness.
We always believe great content speaks for itself and a high quality, less is more approach is better for content marketing and SEO, however if you are determined to pursue content syndication there are number of software options and syndication plugins out there. Just remember to follow the route to a good quality approach listed above. If you want to use content syndication and are prepared to pay for it Outbrain and Taboola are well known for providing a good service with a large base of well-known publications in their content network. They are often regarded as some of the top platforms for content syndication and monetising content.
Remember great SEO and great content strategies should go hand in hand.