So you typed, typed, typed away and wrote a kickass blog. This isn’t just any ol’ blog. You poured some serious time into it— including some heavy research and collaboration. Some sweat. Maybe a few tears.
You celebrate by sharing it on social media and in email blasts. And boy is it a hit! People love it. In fact, people love it so much that some other outlets reach out and ask to publish your work on their website.
Wait? Is that a thing?
You betcha. It’s called content syndication, and it could mean big things for your business.
What is Content Syndication?
Perhaps you’ve heard of syndication in terms of broadcasting, where a popular TV show airs reruns on a completely different network. Well, today the term has been stretched to include the sharing of online content.
Content syndication is the process of republishing content from your website to another third-party platform, such as LinkedIn, Medium, etc.
Let’s say you just published an article on your blog. To “syndicate” it would mean to display that same (or slightly adjusted) content on a different domain. Your content will live on both your blog as well as another website.
The Benefits of Content Syndication
There’s a number of benefits to syndicating your content across multiple domains.
More traffic. // Although it might seem like this duplicate content could steal views from your website, in many instances, syndicated content sends users back to the original source for more information. (We’ll discuss below how to make sure you’re not getting outranked by the third-party publisher).
Brand awareness. // If one of your objectives is to simply get recognition and establish yourself as a relevant source in your industry, syndication is a great way to start building a name for yourself.
Engagement from a different audience. // For those who know nothing about your company or work, posting on a popular platform gives you a chance to interact with a different crowd. Many sites who syndicate content are authoritative domains, with bigger audiences and better rankings than smaller businesses— passing these benefits onto you!
Saved time. // Syndicated content makes up about 10% of top-performing marketer’s overall content, according to a study by Curata. Ten percent! What would 10% less writing mean for your business? If your writer spends 30 hours a week typing away, that’s three hours saved by syndicating— time they could be devoting elsewhere.
Virtually no investment. // You could spend less than 30 minutes tweaking content to syndicate, and reap the extra traffic, brand awareness and engagement without costly pay-per-click ads or the domain authority to rank easier.
More backlinks. // If you set a rel=canonical tag on the original post, all of the links that the syndicated copy receives will send juice to your original article (we’ll elaborate below).
Common Misconceptions About Content Syndication
Although lots of companies are syndicating their content, some are still hesitant to hop on the bandwagon. Let’s address some of the most frequent concerns about syndicating content to quell your doubts.
“Won’t I get flagged for duplicate content by Google?”
Google ain’t no dummy. The search engine developers understand that content syndication is alive and well, and that third-party duplicates of content are mostly innocent— not malicious attempts to steal your information.
Google’s pretty good about determining which piece of content was the original and giving credit where it’s due. Even one of Google’s very own, Matt Cutts, said, “I wouldn’t stress about (duplicate content) unless the content that you have duplicated is spammy or keyword stuffing.”
The search engine only cares about sites who republish content from credible sites to “cheat” their system, in an attempt to undeservingly rank on their search engine results pages (SERPs). If someone did indeed steal your content without your permission, called “scraping,” you can report alleged copyright infringement to Google. But again, this is a different beast entirely!
“Won’t I lose traffic to my website?”
Probably not. Your republished content will likely be reaching a totally different audience than those who saw your original post— and if you follow our best practices for content syndication below, you can use this syndicated content to generate new traffic to your original content.
Plus, if your objective is to educate, or bring general awareness to your brand or cause, traffic isn’t always the only goal. Dharmesh Shah, one of the founders of HubSpot, hits the nail on the head when he said on growth.org, “My motivation is for the content I've created….to reach and help as many as possible, so it doesn't matter that much to me where people read it.”
Still, if done correctly, Google will serve your original (canonical) content on the SERPs and not the syndicated material— meaning, you should still get yourself that organic traffic, if the original source ranks.
“Doesn’t duplicate content look spammy?”
If done correctly, no! Big dogs like the New York Times and Huffington Post push out syndicated content all the time. Do you think they look tacky?
These high-ranking domains simply attribute credit back to the original source right at the beginning of the article, like depicted below in an article from HuffPost:
If anything, it makes you look more authoritative to be featured on one of these popular domains.
Best Practices for Syndicating Content
Before you turn into a republishing machine, read through these best practices for syndicating content:
Don’t repost the entire article. // Leave this new audience something to be desired, back on your website. Post the first few paragraphs of the article on a syndicated page and link back to your original post to direct traffic your way.
Don’t repost immediately. // Give Google some time to crawl your original post and recognize it as the first source. We recommend waiting at least a week before syndicating your content on a third-party site.
Don’t repost every article. // It’s okay to be choosy. Wait until you produce a really juicy piece of content worth sharing, so you don’t overwhelm your audience with too many shares.
Link back to the original article. // Google itself stated, “It is helpful to ensure that each site on which your content is syndicated includes a link back to your original article” to alert the search engine which is the original.
Ask syndicators to add a no-index meta tag if ranking is an issue. // If you really want to ensure the article posted on a third-party site isn’t competing with your website on the SERPs, ensure it has the proper meta tag. Here’s some tips from the search engine itself on doing this.
Spoon-feed Google the canonical. // Canonical is a big word. Really, it’s just the page that the search engine deems the original, and serves above other duplicate content. “If you don't explicitly tell Google which URL is canonical, Google will make the choice for you,” the search engine explains (in third-person) on their Search Console Help page about consolidating duplicate content.
Try to rank for a new keyword. // Instead of reposting the same content, try restructuring it to rank for a different semantic keyword. Toss that term, and similar terms, in by reworking the content. Here’s some tips for finding the right keywords for your business.
Modify the post to address a similar topic. // On Neil Patel’s blog, the famous SEO guru’s company recommends trying what they call the “Evil Twin” technique, where you flip the purpose of the original post. For example, in this post we talked about “Best Practices for Reposting Blogs.” If we republish this on Medium, perhaps we could discuss “The Top Content Syndication Mistakes.” Most of your research is already there, you’re just adding more value.
Maybe Reoptimizing is Actually Your Answer, Not Republishing
Although reposting your blogs on third-party websites can certainly widen your reach and help you attain external credibility, it’s not always your answer.
If organic traffic is actually your problem, republishing an unoptimized article won’t do much to help you rank. That post that didn’t perform well on your website probably won’t perform well on another domain either! Why?
You might need to look at your previous content and give it an overhaul, or make updates to old posts to increase your traffic from the SERPs. From adding keywords to optimizing your images for web, sometimes your blogs are in need of some SEO love.
But remember, even a very well optimized post could be a snooze-fest if not written well. Take a look at your content and try to add some length and depth to really engage viewers.
Get Ready to Blog Better
When done right, content syndication can really help channel more traffic to your site and build greater brand awareness.
But first, you must create content worth sharing. If your business is new to blogging, download our Beginner’s Guide to Blogging. This 70 page e-book is jam-packed with ideas for generating new blog content, insights on how to optimize, promote your posts and more.