By: Sorab Ghaswalla
ld players in the content ecosystem are all too familiar with the concept of content syndication. Newspaper columns and magazine cartoon strips are but some examples. When the World Wide Web came along, like other old world concepts, content syndication, too, moved on to the Web.
Till the “fear” of duplicate content tag by search engines kinda put the brakes on it.
Some of the biggest names in the online publishing world use syndicated content. If done right, you have nothing to lose but the fear of the duplicate content mark. Even if you are a blogger, content syndication shall benefit you.
From the point of view of SEO, there are mixed feelings on content syndication. Duplicate content can hurt your site’s search engine rankings but here’s the thing: it only kicks in if you are trying to game the system.
As far as I can tell, Google or any other search engine does not have any specific rule against content syndication; meaning, technically it does not represent a violation. The only problem is that when any search engine bot maps multiple entries of the same piece of content but from different sites, it gets confused since it does not know which one is the most important. Some SEO experts claim this could damage the ranking of all the sites that have joined hands in the syndication. Others say as long as the “message” is clear enough to the search spider, you will not be harmed.
Then, there’s also the problem of a site that has re-produced your content getting more hits for your work than your own site where it was published originally! Which means a “friendly site” is ranking better than yours using your own content. That’s something that can’t be avoided. But the positives of content syndication far outweigh such negatives. In fact, content syndication is (and must) be part of anybody’s content (and its marketing) strategy.
You need to do it right, and very soon, you will see its benefits. Remember, content syndication is a “give-and-take” process. Some say every site should have about 15% of syndicated content.
Here are some ways:
Syndicate Other Content On Your Site: Whatever reader niche your site serves, it is always beneficial to occasionally publish content other than yours. Make a list of sites and seek their permission to feature part of their content on your Site.
Syndicate Your Content On Other Sites: Get into a partnership with sites that serve the same niche (or near about). Request these partners to occasionally use your content.
Your Content On Syndicate Sites: Find out sites whose sole business is to publish syndicated content and get in touch with them with a request to have your content published too.
Being a publisher myself, I have often re-published (entirely or in part) pieces of content such as infographics, videos, etc sent to me by other site owners or publishers. The one thing that helps me make up my mind of which content to re-publish is — what value does it have for MY readers?
As to the question of the 2nd site getting more traffic on your piece of content, one way out is get your content on sites where the advantage of getting referral traffic outweighs the hit in SEO.
For individual bloggers, content syndication has other pluses. It can, for example, turn a blogger into an influencer/subject matter expert in their particular niche. For B2C and B2B companies, such syndication can help generate leads to chase.
The bottom line? If content syndication is not part of your content marketing strategy yet, it will be worth your while to include it.