A Comprehensive Guide to Content Syndication and SEO

Every content marketer knows how frustrating it can be to spend long, painstaking hours of writing and rewriting a piece of content, only to find out that it didn’t get as much reach as expected. Don’t get me wrong – just because your content hasn’t gotten many eyeballs doesn’t mean it’s stale. Sometimes you have […]

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Every content marketer knows how frustrating it can be to spend long, painstaking hours of writing and rewriting a piece of content, only to find out that it didn’t get as much reach as expected. Don’t get me wrong – just because your content hasn’t gotten many eyeballs doesn’t mean it’s stale.

Sometimes you have to demand attention by getting the word out. You need a better amplification strategy.

No – not emailing your audience about your piece or sharing it with your social media fans. You’ve already done that. Definitely not creating a new blog post you think is a “better version” of your previous post. That will only undermine your efforts.

Heard of content syndication? This is the strategy we’re going to talk about today. In this article, you will learn what content syndication is, the benefits it carries for your business and SEO, and effective ways to use it.

What is Content Syndication?

The term content syndication may sound too technical to you. Content syndication simply means republishing a blog post (originally published on your website) on other sites.

After you write a piece of content, you’re going to look for another site or syndication partner where you can republish it for free or for a fee. Note that you can syndicate the entirety of your content or only a portion of it.

There are many potential blogs that you can send a content syndication pitch to. On the other hand, there are sites where you can self-syndicate your content on such as Medium and LinkedIn. The latter means that you can immediately copy and paste the original version of the content yourself and hit publish.

Now, wouldn’t that be a form of duplicate content? Will you get penalized by Google? Yes, this presents the possibility of duplicate issues. However, there are effective ways you can address these problems which we’re going to tackle later in this article.

Content Syndication and Guest Posting: Is There a Difference Between the Two?

Before we proceed, let me clarify this one thing: Content syndication is not guest posting/blogging. With guest posting, you create a new post for another blog and leave it there. There’s no republishing in guest posting.

However, both strategies benefit small and huge businesses in a way that they introduce them to new audiences, to an established community.

Why Use Content Syndication?

A lot of marketers are toiling day and night to scale their websites yet fail to get the exact results they want. The truth is, content syndication is being leveraged by today’s most successful writers like Jeff Goins.

How does syndication positively impact your business?

1. Maximum results in less time

Content syndication applies the 80/20 rule or Pareto Principle to content marketing. This rule means that 80% of your results come from 20% of your efforts. Syndication is an optimal activity that gets you massive audiences real quick.

I know you can agree that being a content creator is no easy task. It takes a huge deal of time and effort to write a single piece of quality, detailed blog post. If you’re serious about scaling every piece of content you make, then you need to amplify it further.

Syndication comes in handy if you don’t have all the time to write unique content seven days a week. After all, there is no use in writing daily blog content if you have all your posts sit and gather dust. Again, content that goes unseen is wasted effort.

When compared to guest blogging, republishing a piece of content multiple times on several places outside your blog puts you at a great advantage. You only write once. This gives you more freedom to focus on other areas of your business.

2. Boosts your brand awareness

Increased brand awareness is one of the factors that bring success to businesses. By being discovered by more people, you boost your chances of getting more conversions which eventually leads to sales.

Remember that brand awareness is not something that is achieved overnight. When it comes to increasing people’s awareness about your blog ten-fold, your number one solution is repetitive exposure. This is where content syndication becomes extremely useful.

Since you’re going to republish your content in other places across the web, specifically on authoritative and established websites, existing readers on those sites start recognizing you. But here’s the thing:  When you submit to a website only once, not everyone there gets to read it and become your new followers.

To be able to gain repetitive exposure on a single website is almost impossible unless you have all the time and energy to produce new high-quality content for that site every time. This is why syndicated content makes an awesome tactic for brand awareness.

3.Backlinks and increase in site authority

Is there any SEO value in doing content syndication? Of course, there is. Similar to a general link outreach campaign, content syndication allows you to point links towards your site from authoritative sites.

So, if one of your goals includes boosting your search rankings through link building, content syndication helps you accomplish this – regardless of whether you repetitively republish on a third party site or not. Just make sure that your syndicated content is on a site that allows dofollow backlinks.

In fact, an ideal practice you must follow when republishing content on another site to prevent duplication issues is to include a link to your original content. In the screenshot below, you will see this particular advice from Google:

Google Syndicate Carefully

Linking back to your original blog post content does not only give attribution to it, but at the same time, lets search engines know that the version of your post on another site is republished.

Tips to Minimize the Risks of Content Syndication and Use It to Your Advantage

When there are two versions of a piece of content, you should know that search engines rank the version they determine to be algorithmically relevant. This is a scenario you can expect for newer websites that republish on older sites with a higher domain authority, traffic, and engagement.

For example, if you just started a blog and immediately choose to syndicate out to Medium or The Next Web, there is a big possibility that Google will choose to show the syndicated version on search results. That is why you must always proceed with caution with this technique.  

How do you make sure that you minimize the possibility of getting outranked by your syndicated content? What are effective ways syndication can help you achieve your content marketing goals?

1. Avoid being outranked on search

To prevent duplicate content issues and make sure that you avoid penalties from search engines, here are a few things you should do:

Rel=canonical tag

Marketers who republish content successfully implement a “rel=canonical” tag on their syndicated content. This is a way of telling Google that the page on which this tag is included is the duplicate version.

At the same time, it points to the URL of the original content that you prefer Google to index and rank. Make a request for your syndication partners to add the canonical tag to your content.

Meta no index tag

Another way to avoid any duplicate content problem, adding the noindex tag to your syndicated page instructs Google to remove it from their index.

However, between the canonical and noindex tag, go for the rel=canonical tag as much as possible. Rand Fishkin of Moz highly recommends rel=canonical. But if you can’t get a syndication partner to add this tag, the noindex tag becomes your second best option.

Direct attribution link

As I’ve mentioned previously, adding a link from the syndicated page to the same article on your blog is another option to let search engines know that the republished content belongs to you. This helps Google recognize you as the original author.

Include an attribution link if a syndication partner refuses to include the rel=canonical tag or noindex tag. Also, do this if you’re republishing on self-syndication sites where it is impossible to add these tags.

Examples of sites where you can self-syndicate content are the following:

  • Medium
  • LinkedIn
  • Kingged
  • Quora
  • WordPress.com (the free version)

Build your credibility first through guest posting

Here’s what you need to do before you can scale your content marketing efforts using content syndication: Guest blogging.

Don’t make the mistake of jumping into content syndication without building your credibility. Contribute unique content to several websites first with good domain scores – preferably a domain score of at least 20. Start looking for potential guest posting sites using these Google search strings (suggested by Brian Dean of Backlinko):

Brian Dean Backlinko

Having a good number of published posts outside your blog establishes you as an industry expert and a proficient writer. The scenario even gets better if your guest posts have a lot of social shares and engagement.

Later, when you’re ready to syndicate, it will be much easier for you to reach out to huge syndication partners with massive audiences. Make sure to include your published samples in your pitch.

Write quality blog posts from the get-go

Content syndication won’t bring you success if you don’t write something that’s worth reading. Make sure to create content that huge sites will love to republish. Your content should not only be relevant to your niche but must also resonate with your potential readers on those sites.

Aim to solve your audience’s problems through your content. Start researching for potential share-worthy topics to write on your blog by using Quora, trending topics on Twitter, and BuzzSumo. Why not share your personal struggles and how you overcame them?

Prioritizing quality content gives your existing blog readers something great to look forward to. At the same time, it helps you grow your exposure and build trust with new audiences on the sites you choose to republish it on.

Build a massive email list in no time

Contrary to what some sources may tell you, you can use content syndication to grow hundreds to thousands of subscribers. This was the experience of Benjamin Hardy, a blogger who frequently republishes content on Medium. In as little as 6 months, through syndicating out to Medium, he grew from 0 to 20,000 subscribers.

Jeff Goins also grows his subscribers by republishing on Medium. Using Medium to increase your number of email subscribers, what you must do is to add a call-to-action at the bottom of your syndicated content. End your post by inviting readers to get more tips on your niche by signing up for your free newsletter. Link back to a landing page of your website.

Jeff Goins CTA

Benjamin Hardy gets creative by offering an opt-in bribe (a free checklist). After readers click on the link, they are directed to his landing page where they are required to enter their email addresses.

You can easily collect email addresses on self-syndication websites. But for big publishers, most likely they won’t allow you to do this.

Stick to websites that are within your industry

In addition to choosing websites that are popular, consider syndicating out to those within your industry. Doing this ensures that you are placing your content in front of qualified prospects who are likely to become your customers.

No matter how interesting and well-written your content is, it won’t get any traction when promoted to the wrong crowd. Remember that you should refrain from syndicating for the sole purpose of getting your content out more.

If you discover third-party websites that allow syndication but do not reach your target audience, do not include them in your content syndication efforts.

Wrapping it up

Content syndication is an incredibly valuable strategy that amplifies the reach of every content on your blog. If you consistently focus on delivering value through your posts, syndicating out to authority and established websites enhances your brand awareness.

You can also use self-syndication sites to grow your subscriber list. When it comes to SEO, syndication allows you to benefit from a huge website’s domain authority.

While syndication helps you maximize your content creation efforts and build your brand, it presents the risk of duplication. You can effectively prevent this by using the right tags for a syndicated content and linking back to its original version on your blog.

But before you leverage syndication, focus on building a great writing portfolio through guest posting. Having a number of unique and quality published posts significantly adds to your credibility, making syndication easier.