content syndication

Is Syndication Scary? 3 Rules to Successful Content Syndication

Crafting original, relevant, engaging content on a regular basis is only half of the job that any small business owner has to complete on time and on a budget. The other half is represented by the implementation of content marketing strategies set in place to make sure that your writing is visible amongst all the other options that search engine result pages (SERPs) normally deliver.

Content syndication makes your job a whole lot easier by allowing you to gain visibility on various other platforms without actually being forced to redirect one dime towards the creation of new content pieces.

Sounds almost too good to be true, doesn’t it? You may ask: what’s the catch? Should you see syndication as a somewhat scary practice that may jeopardize your relationship with Google, potentially exposing you to penalties or should you actually give this tactic a try to keep your business into the spotlight? Let’s look.

Can Content Syndication Become the Most Convenient Method to Promote Your Business?

In most cases, the scariest things are the ones that you are not familiar with. Simple, but true.

Those who already explore the full potential of a correct content syndication strategy have nothing to fear.  By mastering the rules of syndication you could profit from the widest range of benefits ensured by this strategy, including an increased exposure for your products, services or brand, more traffic to your main website, a larger segment of potential buyers and ultimately more money in your bank account. According to Search Engine Journal, through content syndication, you are basically allowing multiple online sources to feature your original content.

You can offer a link, a headline or the entire article. RSS is perhaps the most popular form of (automated) content syndication; moreover, some of the most reputable sources that you visit regularly, like Business2Community for example, are huge content syndication websites.

B2C and many other websites of this kind provide links and proper attribution to the source where the content piece that they feature was initially published. In this particular set of circumstances, how much can you actually depend on content syndication to boost the visibility of your content, increase brand awareness and establish meaningful partnerships that could keep you in the public eye for the longest period of time? As long as you play by the book, syndication represents a valuable tool that you can use to your best advantage to achieve your marketing goals without actually having to invest in new content pieces.

3 Guidelines to Risk-Free Content Syndication

Should you turn content syndication into a major focal point in 2015? According to Business2Community, now would be the perfect time to start looking for syndication opportunities enabling you to place your web content on other people’s websites to increase brand exposure, reach a broader audience and make a name for yourself without having to put the extra time, cash and effort in content creation and distribution strategies. On the other hand, you should know that there are several appealing paid and free content syndication options, so you should feel free to choose the one that makes more sense to you from a practical and financial standpoint. No matter which path you choose to follow when it comes to syndicating content, make sure you follow these rules to stay in the safe zone.

  1. Apply a Few Preventive Measures. Undoubtedly, content syndication is seen by many novices as a practice that involves a certain degree of risk, because of its unfortunate association with duplicate content issues. This may make you wonder: how can I direct my content syndication efforts in the right direction to avoid penalties from search engines? According to Moz, there are three ways in which you could syndicate your content conveniently and absolutely risk-free.
  • By using a rel=canonical tag. As Google points out, when it comes to handling syndicated content, your goal is to “consolidate page ranking to a preferred URL”. You can achieve this goal by indicating the preferred URL by using the rel=”canonical” tag.
  • By adding the meta no index tag. The meta no index tag implemented by the authority website on their page tells search engines not to index this page, allowing you to prevent a potential problem revolving around duplicate content.
  • By posting a link to the original content piece published on your blog/website. By implementing a clean link from the version of your content that they have rolled out on their website to your website, the content syndicator will let search engines know that you are the actual author of the content that is promoted across multiple platforms. 
  1. Make Sure There Is a Solid Balance between Syndicated Content and Original Content on Your Website. All the simple measures of precaution listed above allow you to make the most of the benefits ensured by correct syndication while staying in Google’s good graces. On the other side of the coin, if your content marketing strategy is based solely on syndicated content, now would be the best time to rethink your strategy and focus on your own writing. Glenn Gabe from Search Engine Watch makes this recommendation, revealing that a number of companies that suffered tremendous Panda hits losing more than 60% of their overall organic traffic in the blink of an eye had a major syndication problem left unattended. The syndicated content promoted by these websites had an incorrect technical setup; in other words, the websites that got hit by Panda 4.0 did not rely on the three preventive methods listed above, which do a great job at keeping duplicate content penalties at a distance. Is syndicated content a great friend or a foe in disguise? Should you nuke all forms of syndicated content to play it safe? According to Glenn Gabe, instead of putting your syndication efforts on hold for an indefinite amount of time, you should analyze how this strategy is currently being handled, attribution-wise.While building your entire communication with your audience around content “borrowed” from other sources is definitely not a smart move, quoting other people and reproducing fragments of their blog to build authority, credibility and trust is an acceptable practice; in this case, you would have to focus on correct content attribution technique based on nofollow links.

    Instead of neglecting your very own content creation efforts and shoving large chunks of syndicating content down your readers’ throats, you may want to let mobile/web apps and social networking websites handle content syndication and aggregation. On the other hand, it’s only fair to say that syndication has gained a bad rap over the past few years because of its association with duplicate content problems. Moreover, there are several other myths related to this tactic that should be debunked. According to Huffington Post, content syndication will not eat your very own audience. Since the syndicated content promoted across multiple platforms contains a link to your original article, it will actually help you build brand recognition, eventually giving you the opportunity to boost your website traffic.

  1. Add Value to the Content Pieces That You Choose to Feature. To avoid a potential traffic crash associated with an incorrect content syndication technique, you should make sure that you don’t publish and promote content coming from third-parties without adding value to the pieces that you feature on your website. Sources that deliver thin content created to serve SEO enhancement purposes and will never enable them to win anything in the long run. On the contrary, this approach to syndication could only attract further penalties impacting their rankings, good name and profit margins.
  • Rely on High-Authority Websites to Syndicate Your Content on. You can simplify your selection process by choosing one of the websites that actually go through the trouble of reviewing each content piece manually, as opposed to using automated RSS feeds. Also, you should make sure that your content matches the profile of the site that will feature your written materials.
  • Keep Your Eyes on Your Content Quality and Flow. According to Search Engine Watch, you should stick to a strict publishing schedule for approximately three months before reaching a syndication network and trying to promote your content across different platforms. Some of the most respectable networks see consistency as a selection criterion when it comes to screening potential candidates who are willing to syndicate their original content. The quality, writing standard and consistent theme of your writing represent other decisive factors that any high-authority network will also factor in before giving you a final answer.

Exploring the Fine Line between Syndication and Duplication

Should you ditch your syndication efforts, in an attempt to avoid potential penalties from Google? Is syndicated content a cleverly disguised form of duplicate content that will eventually make the wild Panda slap you in the face with a major penalty? When in doubt, it is always advisable to listen to what Google has to say about content syndication. According to Google, duplicate content commonly refers to large chunks of web content across or within domains that are appreciably similar or identical to other content pieces. In an attempt to index and show pages providing distinctive, high-value information, Google has always kept duplicate content on its black list, penalizing players who refuse to stay away from this shady tactic. How does Google feel about syndication? When it comes to syndicating content, Google advises you to proceed with caution. In this case, you would have to ensure that the websites where your writing is syndicated also features a link to the original article. In addition, you could also ask the partners who syndicate your content to add the noindex meta tag to stop Google, Yahoo and Bing from indexing your content available in their version. You should never attempt to cross the line between content syndication and duplication. To avoid this risk, you may want to avoid syndicating your content with way too many websites. Internal links and canonical tags will let Google know that you’re determined to stay far away from unorthodox tactics that could trigger a duplicate content penalty.

The “craft less and promote more” strategy may come in handy especially when you count on very limited resources. In 2015, content syndication remains a solid ally for any small business owner, as long as it is properly handled. On the other hand, fresh, original content is one of the main factors that keep people in business these days. By achieving an ideal balance between original and featured content and mastering Google-friendly syndication tactics you could promote your brand in the most effective manner, without being forced to break the bank to reach this target.

Photo credit: NKMandic / iStock



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