So, you’re doing content marketing. Things are going great. You’re publishing blogs, infographics, videos, stuff like that. Now, you’re ready for the big leagues. You want to take it to the next level by growing your audience and attracting a wider swath of the Internet community.
So, how do you do that?
One of the ways you do so is called content syndication. Syndicated content can help you grow your brand, your identity, your product, and your business. In this article, I’m going to share how you can unleash the power of syndicated content in your marketing efforts.
To organize this article, I’ve asked six questions about syndicated content that should help you both understand and apply this information.
1. What is Content Syndication?
Let’s get terms straightened out so we’re all on the same page.
Content syndication is allowing multiple websites to feature the same content. Take your blog for instance. If you were to syndicate an article from your blog, you would make that content available to third-party sites. Maybe you provide just a quote, maybe just a link, or maybe the whole article.
RSS is a type of syndication. You’re probably familiar with RSS — Rich Site Summary, or more commonly, Really Simple Syndication. The logo is universally known on the web:
RSS is basically a form of automated syndication in which the content is published in XML for multi-channel compatibility.
Many popular website are content syndication sites. For example, Business2Community.com syndicates content. Typically, at the end of the article, B2C provides attribution and links to site where the article was originally published.
Other sites like the Huffington Post, Social Media Today, and even CNN feature syndicated web content.
It’s probably obvious, but worth mentioning here, that content syndication isn’t the same as guest posting. When you write a guest post, you provide a unique article for another website. When you syndicate your content, the same article goes to different websites.
2. Why Should You Syndicate?
In the introduction to this article, I told you that syndication can grow your audience and expand your influence. More specifically, however, syndication gives you a new audience.
Your own website should be your primary place of authorship and reputation. That’s where you form your identity. In the case of a business, your website is where conversions happen. But your website has a limited audience. When you syndicate your content, not only do you have the audience of your own website, but you gain the audience of other websites as well.
The more you syndicate your content, the greater you can grow your content marketing. Syndication is, quite simply, one of the tools in your toolbox that will expand the reach of your content.
3. Where Should You Syndicate?
There are plenty of sites that syndicate content. How in the world do you find them, especially the niche ones?
The easy way is to simply use a syndication service. They do the work for you, and may even provide exposure to high-profile sites including CNN and Time. I’ve created a list of syndication services on my own site that you can check out.
4. What Should You Syndicate?
Syndicated content has the possibility of going big time. The better the content, the more likely it is to hit the big time syndication sites.
That’s the kind of content you should syndicate — your top articles. Create the best content you possibly can, and syndicate away.
5. Wait, But There Are Problems, Right?
We’ve talked about the major upsides of syndicated content. Can there be a downside?
If you’re not careful, yes, there can be at least two negatives. Let me share those with you, and explain how to avoid them.
Problem 1: Duplicate Content
Duplicate content is a real problem in the SEO world. Google’s stance on duplicate content is a little bit confusing. For all the SEO rage against duplicate content, it’s not something to get too panicky about.
Here is Matt Cutts saying the same thing:
Spammy or keyword stuffed duplicate content might get an algorithmic frown. As much as 30% of the Internet is duplicative! Not every occurrence of duplicate content is a spam signal. So when Google looks at duplicate content, they categorize it, organize it, and return it in the SERPs in the most relevant way. Duplicate content is out there, and it’s going to be okay.
That being said, Cutts recommends using the rel=canonical tag to avoid any duplicate content confusion.
Problem 2: Getting Outranked by Other Sites for Your Own Content
What if the other site gets higher ranking than your own site for relevant keywords? It happens. In fact, it is very likely to happen, especially if your site has low authority, and the syndication site has high authority.
It’s not the end of the world. If the syndicated site provides you with exposure and/or a link, it will help pass pagerank and value to your site. The goal of content syndication is not killer SERP rankings, but rather overall trust and authority.
That being said, if you know that your content is being scraped (not syndicated), then you may want to tell Google about it. They have a scraper form where you can report the offending site.
6. What Are Some Tips For Syndication?
Finally, let me give you some practical how-tos for making syndication work for you.
- Post it to your website first. The best way to gain unequivocal ownership of the content is to host it on your site. The search engines will be able to tell that your website first published the content, forming a chronological record and ranking hierarchy for the content.
- Don’t do it just for the backlinks. One reason why syndication has some spammy connotations in some people’s minds is because some web marketers tried to do it just for the linkback. This can easily become a spam signal, and put you at risk for penalization.
- Get credit. When you syndicate content, you want to make sure that you’re getting credit for the work. The point is to gain a larger audience and improve your brand reputation and exposure. If you’re not getting credit for it, it’s a wasted effort. Thankfully, if you’re using a reputable syndication service, then this shouldn’t be a concern.
- Choose your best stuff. Syndication sites will probably have a lot higher readership than the website you normally posting on. You want to feature your very best articles.
- Use killer titles. Syndication sites have a ton of content. If you want your post to stand out from the crowd, you’ve got to give it a great title.
- Do it again. Once you’ve dipped your toe in the water of article syndication, you’ll want to do it again. Most syndication platforms will allow you to track the analytics of your site, so you can determine its performance and readership. Once you get a sense of these metrics, you can syndicate your content again, this time with a greater understanding of what might work better next time.
Long Live Syndication
We’ve seen SEO techniques rise and fall as search engines wax and wane. With Google’s current domination of the search engine market, and their recent devaluation of some guest blogging networks, content marketers need to be extremely careful.
As it stands right now, however, syndication is a powerful and legitimate way to expand your web presence. It’s a method that every content marketer should remain aware of as they pursue the greatest possible reach.
What is your experience with content syndication?