A beginner’s guide to understanding content syndication
Content marketing strategy is often at the centre of your overall online marketing plan. After all, it is the content that drives traffic, connects you to your audience and potential customers, helps drive sales, and also supports other marketing campaigns.
Regardless of the importance and amazing potential of content marketing, it does have some problems — especially for people who are just starting.
The biggest problem is building traction.
When you have a relatively new website or blog, almost nobody visits it and reads what you have published. The time you spend on creating, publishing, and promoting all seem to go to waste when you don’t get enough readers.
There are many ways to solve that problem. Content Syndication is one of those ways.
What is content syndication?
Content syndication is when you publish the original version of your content on your website or blog and then republish the same content on a third-party website.
The article can be republished completely, or it can be just an excerpt with a link to the original source. That depends on the third-party publication or the agreement you have with them.
In all essence, it seems very similar to a guest post. However, the one big difference between a guest post and a syndicated content piece is that the latter would have already been published on some other website.
Three big reasons for content syndication
Now that you know what content syndication is let’s dive into the possible reasons why you would want to syndicate your content.
There are three big reasons why many content marketers choose content syndication:
- Backlinks. Although content syndication isn’t primarily a link-building strategy, it is a valuable bonus that comes with it. You can contextually add valuable backlinks for various articles on your website — or even the homepage, if it makes sense. Backlinks are a powerful search engine ranking factor and can help your site with search engine rankings.
- Increasing readership. As we discussed earlier, many blogs do not have any readers — especially at the beginning. Increasing readership almost instantly by syndicating content on established websites is a proven tactic.
- Brand awareness. If used correctly, content syndication is an excellent strategy to increase brand awareness. Syndicating one piece of content on one website may not help achieve that result, but syndicating multiple relevant pieces on multiple websites can trigger a multi-channel brand awareness campaign.
Two potential problems with content syndications
Content syndication looks almost too good to be true.
You create an article once, publish it multiple times, get backlinks, increase readership, and promote your brand.
But what’s the downside?
There are two potential problems with content syndications, and there are ways to bypass those problems:
- Content duplication issues. With content syndication, you are basically duplicating a single piece of content and publishing it on multiple websites. This may lead to a potential content duplication issue and related penalties. Moreover, content duplication may also impact the search engine rankings of your web page.
- Search engine rankings. Content duplication affects the search rankings because Google does not know which version of the content should be ranked higher than the other. Generally, Google prefers to rank the original source higher — whenever it can.
There is always a possibility that your web page may be outranked by another website that you syndicated your content to. It may also mean that Google only ranks the other page and completely discard yours.
How to overcome these problems
Most of these problems can be solved by telling Google which one is the original source. You can do that by creating a canonicalized link.
Another method is to ask the third-party publisher to add a no-index tag on their page. This ensures that the syndicated page does not get ranked on the search engine results pages at all. That will leave the field open for your original version in the SERPs.
However, as the other page won’t rank in the SERPs, this would limit the potential reach. Second, you probably may not get as much benefit from links that are coming from a no-index web page.
Our recommendation is to go with canonicalization. We also recommend adding a separate line at the top or the bottom of the article that says something like, “This article was originally published on [your website name]” with a link back to the original source.
These techniques will help you minimize the potential SEO issues of content syndication, so you can enjoy the many benefits that come along with it.