Content syndication is a great content marketing and SEO strategy that can significantly help you improve your online presence, website traffic, and search engine ranking. But, if it’s carelessly performed, you can get penalized by search engines and even damage your brand reputation.
Google, for instance, has already issued several warnings about duplicate content. Careless content syndication can also result in your original content getting outranked on search engines. Instead of contributing to the increase of your own domain authority.
“Duplicate content generally refers to substantive blocks of content within or across domains that either completely matches other content or are appreciably similar. Mostly, this is not deceptive in origin.” – Google
When you’re just getting started with content syndication, it’s easy to get lost or overwhelmed. Fortunately, there are best practices to help you avoid SEO problems and duplicate content issues. Following these techniques will ensure that you’re maximizing your content syndication endeavors.
A 301 redirect is a permanent redirect. When users find the syndicated content on SERPs and click on it, they are automatically sent to your original content instead of the syndicated content.
This technique also tells search engine spiders to crawl and index your original content instead of the syndicated versions. This strategy isn’t as common because it doesn’t facilitate good UX.
Defining a canonical page for your original content will tell search engines which one is the original version. Using canonical tags will prevent duplicate content issues, as search engines are pointed to the master copy when the same content appears on several URLs.
So, you need to ensure that the syndicating website places a canonical tag (rel=”canonical”) on the URL of the syndicated versions (version 2, 3, 4, and so forth). This way, the authority and relevance associated with that piece of content rightfully pass to the original.
Using canonical tags is a commonly understood thing. Syndication sites will normally do this as a standard practice. But yes, you should always make sure that a canonical tag or “link to original” is included. This is essentially the best way to avoid search engine penalties.
When the syndicating website does not allow canonical tags, your second best bet is to avoid duplicate content issues is to get them to NoIndex their version. A NoIndex essentially removes the syndicated version out of the search engine index.
Keep in mind, despite not being indexed, backlinks from the syndicated version to your original content will still boost your website’s authority.
Do-Follow links are essentially direct attribution links to your original content that tell search engines that the backlink should be counted as a point to boost your page rank and placement in SERPs.
Some syndicating websites only provide no-follow links but don’t fret. While no-follow links don’t give you any page rank boosts, they still provide other benefits like referral traffic.
What primary keyword is your content trying to rank for? Try to use that keyword as the anchor text for the link to your original content. This will contribute to your SEO and minimize the chance of the syndicated content raking higher than the original.
Choose High-Authority Websites
When it comes to SEO and content marketing, quality always supersedes quantity. In the effort to push content to syndicating websites, domain authority is often forgotten. Be sure to take into consideration the authority of a website in their specific niche, as well as their traffic quality.
Create High-Quality Content
This should be at the top of your list. If your content is of poor quality then high-authority sites won’t be interested in syndicating your content.
Furthermore, a combination of human intuition and sophisticated algorithms can now determine the relevance and value of your content. Gone are the days when it was just about keywords, so be sure to provide helpful information.
Before you send your content over, read the fine print of your contract or deal. Have everything in writing! Some syndicating partners don’t offer links to competitors, so double check how the links will be treated.
Consider paid partnerships. In most cases, there’s a minimal cost per link where you’re only asked to pay for the traffic gained. More importantly, many content syndication networks allow you to target specific audience segments to increase your chances of conversions.
Furthermore, most paid syndication partnerships will allow you to gain traffic and engagement visibility on high-authority sites, which is great for brand awareness and trust building.
Some argue that content syndication does not directly contribute to growing your email list or lead generation. But if you’re able to syndicate your content on an authoritative site with a prominent link back, each time a visitor clicks through to your site, chances are, they’ll be a quality lead.
So, make sure you’re using CTAs within your content to drive those reading the syndicated content over to your website and sales funnel.
Avoid 302 redirects at all costs. Essentially, a 302 redirect is a temporary redirect.
When SERPs encounter a 302 redirect, it’s basically telling them to keep the original page in the index (in this case, it’s the syndicated version) and prevents it from passing the page rank to the destination URL (your original content).
Always publish your content before reaching out to syndication websites. When search engines see the published date, it gives them an idea about who published the content first, which then determines what page ranks higher.
Plus, if users see multiple pages with the same content, the post date will indicate that you published it before the others.
Content syndication has been around for decades, but a lot of marketers take it for granted. As such, they don’t maximize the SEO benefits it can potentially offer. Other marketers, on the other hand, syndicate their content but fail to follow best practices. As a result, their pages don’t rank on search engines.
If you’re getting started with content syndication, be sure to follow the best practices. They’ll help you avoid issues with duplicate content and help you improve your SEO tactics to drive organic and referral traffic.