What Is Content Syndication?

Content syndication is the act of re-publishing content on another platform to boost the visibility and reach of that content.

A Simple Guide to Content Syndication

Content syndication is the act of re-publishing content on another platform. This is not exclusive to blog content, or even online content in general. Content syndication has a long history on platforms such as television and print publications as well. However, we will be focusing on content syndication as it pertains to online content, and more specifically how it can be utilized as part of an SEO strategy

Content Syndication vs. Guest Posting

Content syndication and guest posting can both be hugely beneficial strategies for link building. However, while similar, content syndication and guest posting are not the same thing. The major difference between the two is whether or not the content is original. 

In the case of guest posting, a writer will produce an original piece of content for a website they don’t have a contractual affiliation with. 

Meanwhile, content syndication happens when a platform re-publishes a piece of third-party content with permission. 

Content syndication and guest posting have many similar benefits, such as backlinking opportunities and the ability to reach a wider audience. However, they each have their drawbacks as well. Notably, guest posting is not as scalable as content syndication, and content syndication may suffer from several issues regarding content duplication.

Pros and Cons of Getting Your Content Syndicated

Getting your content syndicated can get you new eyes, but at the risk of being outranked by your own content. 

Pros

For original publishers, the primary benefits of content syndication are potential audience expansion and backlinks. Many websites and content creators choose to re-publish on other platforms as a means of finding a larger audience. Although this can be a benefit to any content creator, this is especially helpful to those who have little to no existing traffic of their own yet.

Having their content re-published on another website that caters to their desired audience can familiarize readers with the brand. Additionally, linkable content can improve the authority of the website through backlinks. 

Cons

The major drawbacks of content syndication for original publishers are problems resulting from content duplication, such as being outranked by their own content published on another platform. When syndicating content, it is vital that the original publisher takes measures to ensure that the duplicate content does not outrank their original post. Otherwise, they may seriously undermine the benefits of content syndication by cheating themselves out of opportunities for organic traffic. 

However, it is important to note that, contrary to popular thought, Google does not have an official penalty specific to duplicate content. Google may take manual action in the case of spam or content theft, but it will not automatically take action against a webpage just for being a duplicate. Although, it may omit duplicate copies in SERPs.

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Pros and Cons of Syndicating Content on Your Site

It can be incredibly difficult to post a large amount of content on a regular basis if you or your company are entirely responsible for producing it, which may encourage a publisher to seek out options like content syndication. However, it is often the case that content sourced from elsewhere will have conditions attached to its publication.

Pros

For re-publishers, the greatest benefit of syndicating content is the increased capacity for content publication output, which can, in turn, boost ad revenue. As stated previously, an advantage content syndication has over guest posting is the potential for scalability. It is a lot easier to publish a large amount of duplicate content than a large amount of unique content. 

Cons

The major drawbacks for re-publishers are the need for alternate means of generating traffic, and the potential for Google to categorize your content as spam. 

It is common practice for the original publishing site to ensure they post the content first, and/or to require that others hosting their content restrict the content’s ability to rank. This is due to concerns about being outranked by their own content on a different platform. As a result, the host site is unlikely to rank for the re-published content, and their organic traffic derived from syndicated posts is likely to be limited. This means that they often need to find other ways to draw traffic to their website. 

On another note, although Google will not penalize you for posting duplicate content, it may well take action if it seems as though you are producing spam. Therefore, although scalability is a great potential benefit of syndicating content on your website, it can also become a problem if you’re over-publishing low-quality content.

Best Practices for SEO-Friendly Content Syndication

Among concerns about how content-syndication could harm your SEO efforts, many may wonder how to successfully use syndicated content to their advantage. The following are some strategies that can improve your chances of success:

  • Include links to your website. For original publishers, the inclusion of backlinks to your website can draw traffic to your site and improve your site’s authority.
  • Publish the content on your website first. If another website publishes your content before you do, it may be indexed first, which will make it more likely to rank in place of your own web page. 
  • Require that platforms re-publishing your content use the rel=canonical tag or a NoIndex tag on the content. This is another way to prevent the re-published content from outranking your own web page. The canonical tag points web crawlers to the original piece of content, while the NoIndex tag entirely prevents the re-published content from being indexed. 
  • Choose a platform frequented by your target audience. As the purpose of syndicating your content is often to expand your audience, it is important to make sure that your efforts aren’t wasted on a site that sees little to no traffic from your desired demographics. 
  • Be prepared for the long-game. Content syndication usually takes a long time to yield results, and therefore should not be approached as a quick fix. 
  • Require that the platform cite or mention your site. If your company or website is explicitly named by the publishing platform, it can improve brand recognition.

Platforms for Content Syndication

Some common platforms for content syndication are:

  • Medium: Medium is a popular platform for content syndication because it is a simple means of publishing full-length articles.Slideshare: Articles aren’t the only content that can be syndicated. Slideshare provides a means of syndicating presentation and infographic content.
  • Social Media: Social media is a great way to syndicate blurbs and other short-form content.
  • Forums: Forums like Quora offer the opportunity to syndicate content with almost no barriers to entry, and allow the original publisher to be in control of the publication as well. 
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