Are you searching for ways to promote your site and increase your audience? Have you heard about content syndication but been confused about how to get started using it?
Producing high quality content on a regular basis is the best way to grow your readership organically, but don’t overlook other ways to leverage assets you already have. Today’s post focuses on syndicating content, a sometimes controversial topic that can nevertheless be beneficial if used wisely.
Content Syndication Defined
Some bloggers confuse guest posting and content syndication, but these are very different things.
- Guest Posting: you create new content for another blog or third-party website. This can be similar in subject and tone to posts on your website, but should be entirely original content.
- Syndication: you give another site the rights to republish material that has already appeared on your site. This syndicated content can be all or only part of a post you have previously published.
Benefits of Syndication
The chief benefit of syndication is that you gain exposure to a separate audience without additional work. Obviously you’ll want to find sites that are the best fit for your business. Carefully consider the readership and reputation of the site. Syndication to a highly respected authority site will tend to confer some authority to your message.
Article syndication can be a great way to gain exposure. Syndication sites, because of the amount and quality of the content they share, are able to draw, and expose your blog, to a large and usually targeted readership. – Brent Carnduff, EchelonSEO.com
What Should You Syndicate?
You do not want to syndicate too much of your content, as your goal is to draw readers to your site, and you want them to find unique content when they visit. However, you should consider syndicating some of your strongest pieces. This may seem counterintuitive, as you want to save the best for your devoted followers, but remember that your goal is to expand your audience by building a reputation with new potential readers.
The amount of content you syndicate can depend on how aggressively you are recruiting new readers. When starting a new venture, it is in your best interest to get your name out there in every way possible, including searching for guest posting and syndicating opportunities. Just remember that your goal is to reach a larger audience on a site with a high reputation. As your site becomes more established, you may reconsider how much of your content you are syndicating.
Aren’t There SEO Drawbacks?
SEO experts always preach that duplicate content can weaken search standings. But even though syndication does create duplicate content, search engines won’t find fault if you use one of these methods:
- Best Option: Place the tag rel=canonical on the page where your article appears, with a link pointing back to your original post. This designation tells Google that one URL is the equivalent of another. It also means that links made to the syndicated article are credited to your original in terms of page rankings. The tag goes in the Head section and looks like this:
<link rel=”canonical” href=”http://www.yourwebsite.com/article.html” />
- Second Best Option: If the site you are working with won’t use the canonical tag, ask them to use NoIndex instead to keep search engines from indexing the syndicated article. You won’t get the benefits of links to the syndicated site, but you also won’t get penalized for posting duplicate content. The code to prevent indexing is:
<meta name=”robots” content=”noindex”>
- Better than Nothing: If you can’t get a publisher to use one of the other two methods, use a Direct Attribution Link as a last resort. Direct attribution will usually ensure that the search engine knows which version of the article is the original, but the search engine still might get it wrong. To improve the odds of success, make sure that the attribution link goes directly to the article on your site, not to your home page.
If a publisher is not willing to use any of these tagging methods, you have a decision to make. Do you refuse to do a syndication deal? Alternatively, do you decide that the potential audience gains are worth the risk?
Since you are aiming to syndicate on sites with higher traffic than yours, you run the risk that search engines will credit the syndicating site as the original publisher, and mark your copy as the duplicate. This leads to the syndicating site getting page rank credit instead of you.
When does it make sense to go ahead? If you judge that the reputation you’ll build and your exposure to potential new readers is worth it, then you may make an exception for a site that does not offer an ideal arrangement.
If used wisely, content syndication can be a tool for spreading your message and increasing your audience. There is some SEO risk to posting duplicate content on the web. Make sure you understand the terms of the agreement for syndication.
Do your research and search for sites that match your sought-after readers and have high traffic and a strong reputation. For further information, check out Content Syndication: How to Get Started.
Have you experimented with content syndication? Share you experience in the comments box below.
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