The Do’s and Don’ts of Content Syndication for SEO

December 28th, 2016 by Search Influence Alumni

A few weeks ago, I received a question about the value of content syndication in marketing strategies. Because it’s one that I also asked when I first started at Search Influence and began learning about SEO, I wanted to actually address this question in a full blog post.

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What Is Content Syndication?

Content syndication is the process by which a piece of content (blog, news article, graphic, video, etc.) is pushed out to other sources. You see this, for example, when online news outlets pick up press releases or other articles and repost them verbatim to their own sites.

From a UX point of view, this can be a great way to increase your reach to potential customers. From an SEO point of view, content syndication can garner valuable backlinks and help to increase website authority. And from an overall marketing point of view, the efforts spent on syndicating content can also build great relationships with other websites and organizations.

Backlink and Authority Building

The process for syndicating content is similar to that of general link outreach and is for a similar purpose as well: to generate authoritative backlinks that, down the line, contribute to your own site’s authority. Coupled with the opportunity of increasing reach to your business’s original content, this can be a worthwhile tool in your marketing arsenal.

The Caveats of Content Syndication

That said, there is a right and a wrong way to syndicate content when it comes to SEO. Here are some things to think about when considering it for your marketing strategy:

1. Duplicate Content

Syndication is inherently creating duplicate versions of your content and putting them on other websites. In the case of written content, this can actually detract from your SEO efforts if done incorrectly. It’s important to understand the policies and practices of the websites you’re syndicating to and ensure they are declaring yours the primary version.

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This can be done a number of ways but the primary ones are:

– Rel=canonical – This is a meta attribute that basically tells search engines that the page they are on is the same as another page. In this scenario, syndicated versions of your content will set your original URL as the canonical. For more information, check out Google’s own post on the rel=canonical attribute.

– Noindex – This is a robots meta tag that tells search engines not to index a page at all so that it won’t appear in search results. Ideally, in this case, syndicated versions of your content will be set to noindex so your original post isn’t competing for rankings with them.

2. Backlinks

Remember to include an actual backlink to your content when syndicating. This can be forgotten when you get caught up in pushing your content out there or when syndicating images and videos. Ideally, this would go to the original content’s URL, rather than another page on your website.

3. Site Authority

This is an oft forgotten consideration when choosing a syndication site. Quality and quantity both have their place when creating your syndication strategy.

In an ideal situation, if you were to get one backlink from content syndication, you’d want it to be from a site with the authority equivalent of Google itself, and you’d want it to have a follow link back to your website.

But, we don’t live in an ideal world, so it’s important to keep in mind the actual authority of syndicating websites and find out if the links you’re getting are follow or nofollow. Check out this resource to learn a little more about the importance of follow and nofollow links.

With all this in mind, content syndication can be a great opportunity for websites. But, like I said in my last post “The Importance of Content Marketing to Your SEO Strategy,” it doesn’t matter if you don’t have great content to start with.