As a new blogger, you may have a lot of things you wish to say. The problem is getting someone to listen – or in this case, to read what you have to say.
While your blog posts may be full of engaging, original content, driving traffic to your website is not easy. This is where the controversial but effective method of content syndication steps in.
What is content syndication, and what’s so great about it?
The origin of content syndication derives from its pre-internet grandfather: Print Syndication.
For as long the printing industry has existed, articles, columns, cartoons, comic strips, etc. would be purchased from notable journalists by an ‘agency’ and sold to magazines and newspapers who then had permissions to print this content.
Content syndication is the 21st-century edition: It is the process of re-posting original content (articles, blog posts, and videos) on third-party websites; in other words, republishing it on sites with heavy traffic where it’s origin will be cited.
The power of content syndication is undoubtedly outstanding for bloggers as it allows you to repurpose the same content numerous times. So instead of just having your content on one website with little traffic, you can have it posted on popular news or blog sites such as BBC, Huffington Post, Medium, and others.
Your article, post, or video will be published with a disclaimer such as “This article first appeared on…” that affirms you as the original creator of the content. Syndication websites often have a vast social media following and encourage users to share content on social media platforms. In addition to this, these websites share the content themselves with their social media audience. Research shows that engagement on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter can be doubled, tripled, and quadrupled by content syndication provided that you offer high-quality content and use a great publishing platform.
SEO And Content Syndication – The Big Debate
So far, content syndication sounds like a great idea, right?
Many digital marketers suggest that content syndication is detrimental to SEO. One of their main concerns is duplicate content. Google discourages duplicate content and may even penalize websites for it by lowering their ranking in search results or even completely removing it from their search index.
However, Google does admit that between 25%-30% of web content is indeed duplicate content and insists that unless content duplication is a blatant attempt to manipulate search engine results, they will not penalize the website.
According to Google, “If you syndicate your content on other sites, Google will always show the version we think is most appropriate for users in each given search, which may or may not be the version you’d prefer.” It is essential to syndicate your website correctly, and Google offers advice on how to do it correctly.
For example, when the website that publishes syndicated content, they must include the original content’s creator’s link. Ideally, they should use the ‘NoIndex tag’ to prevent Google from indexing the syndicated version of the page. To ensure this happens, you must reach out to the publisher. But do note: the ‘NoIndex’ tag is just an instruction, so search engines may not follow it.
Another suggestion is using a rel=canonical tag that tells Google and other search engines, which is the original or preferred source of the content. Since syndicated content is available on multiple URLs, it is possible to lose search engine ranking, but with this method, you can “pick” which version of the webpage you prefer. It is a method that marketers and entrepreneurs like Neil Patel swear by and one I agree with, and use.
This method should avoid the second most significant problem with content syndication: losing ranking. What you don’t want is the website that republished your content to outrank your blog. Google states, “If your site suffers from duplicate content issues, and you don’t follow the advice listed above, we do a good job of choosing a version of the content to show in our search results.”
Essentially, Google has no issue with syndication and is sophisticated enough to understand that “Originally posted on…” means genuine content syndication rather than shady scraped or stolen content.
If you’re going to syndicate, do it well!
There are many outlets where you can publish your content, and it is wise to repurpose the same content on multiple platforms. Some of my favorite platforms for beginners are:
- Medium: a publishing platform designed for sharing ideas, stories, and perspectives through articles. Members receive personalized suggestions on what to read based on their interests and the previous articles they’ve browsed. What stands out about Medium is that it allows you to import materials directly from your blog and backlink. Based on your niche topic, you can reach a broad audience and even publishers who are looking for paid contributors.
- Linkedin: the Facebook of business that is used by different levels of professionals, entrepreneurs, and business influencers, offers a built-in publishing app called LinkedIn Pulse. Whenever you publish a post on Linkedin Pulse, it sends a notification to everyone in your network. If the content gets a lot of engagement, the app will boost it to reach more users with relevant interests. Important point: make sure to link back to your blog manually when syndicating with Linkedin.
But big, multi-author blogs like Huffington Post, for example, require a little more than just a post. First of all, you have to pitch your article to their editors for them to consider syndicating. For you to meet their criteria, you need to either have your articles published on other websites that The Huffington Post syndicates with, or you need to have a popular blog of your own with a large number of followers.
The Huffington Post has over 100 million contributors (a lot of them are unpaid) and is the largest publisher on Facebook. Contributors and syndicator content are vital for blog/news portals like the Huffington Post as it helps them reach talented writers and influencers around the world and produce better quality content for their readers.
How does this benefit you? Well, being associated with a great brand name like Huffington Post helps you build your reputation as a blogger, of course, but mainly it will allow you to share your articles with a greater audience and help you reach more people.
What if you’re the syndicator?
Content syndicating doesn’t need to be a one-way street – you can offer other bloggers to
feature their content on your website or blog. It’s essential to pick the featured content carefully and ensure it fits your niche.
For example, if you run a lifestyle blog, you have plenty of influencers to contact. But if you a female traveler, it’s a good idea to find an influencer with the same orientation.
Understandably, high-profile influencers will be unlikely to guest post for you. Still, by sharing their content on your website, you can offer your readership access to more exciting content and keep them coming back to your blog.
Content syndication can be through manual submission, which means you need to submit your blogs directly to the publishing website’s editors. Or, it can be through RSS feed submission, which is a crucial SEO element. Not only does it improve rankings, but it can also submit your blogs automatically for review.
Guest posting V.S Content Syndication
I will be honest: both are important. When guest posting, you mostly submit content to a publishing website as a contributor. 99.9% of blogs and websites that welcome guest blogging require original content. Type ‘Write for Us’ in your search engine of choice, and you will come across plenty of platforms interested in guest post submissions.
What’s excellent about guest posting is that it allows you to build and promote your brand name as your articles appear on well-known blogs and websites, provided that you offer great content, of course. The problem with guest posting is you cannot utilize the same content more than once, and generating excellent content takes time and effort.
In addition to this, you cannot scale your reach quickly. Content syndication allows you to check your referral traffic through Google Analytics by checking your ‘Acquisition’ report.
What I like to do is mix both: as a new blogger, I suggest you start with guesting posting that will help you build relationships with large content publishing websites. As your name and blog become better known, you can incorporate content syndication in your strategy.
Content syndication is a great marketing strategy. But even as marketers, it is necessary to remember the importance of relevant content marketing: creating valuable, intriguing content without worrying about how many referrals, follows or likes you get. Nonetheless, when you are producing good quality content, remember to make sure it doesn’t stay unread.