If you write a blog post and no one reads it, did you really write a blog post?
Let’s assume you’ve mastered the writing and publishing of good content. Many companies have made it this far. Where they run into trouble, though, is attracting readers.
It takes time to build an audience: you need to attract them to your site, which they’ve likely never heard of, and convert them into loyal readers, so they come back and tell their friends — and eventually turn into customers, which is the whole goal of content marketing. To do this, you need to ensure you’re distributing content to reach potential readers off-site and then bringing them back to your own site.
Content syndication is one way — and, most notably, the simplest way — to accomplish this. In basic terms, after you publish content on your own property, you can turn to a third-party site to republish your content, taking advantage of its authority and larger, engaged audience. Syndicating your content is a scalable way for you to reach new audiences, as opposed to guest blogging, which requires you to create many more content assets.
“…But wait,” you ask. “Doesn’t Google penalize duplicate content?”
Just as in life, good things don’t come without a price. Google does penalize duplicate content — if it’s spammy. According to Google, websites are not penalized for duplicate content. This has been the case for years — at least as far back as 2008, when Google’s Susan Moskwa wrote, “Let’s put this to bed once and for all, folks: There’s no such thing as a “duplicate content penalty.” At least, not in the way most people mean when they say that.”
What she means is that Google will recognize duplicate content and rank what it deems the best source at the top of the search results. So, it could affect your SEO. If your site is relatively new with low traffic and you syndicate a blog post on Inc.com, it’s very likely that Google will show the version on Inc.com instead of your website.
Here’s where you need to weigh the pros and cons of content syndication in the context of your own goals:
- Minimal effort required for a scalable process
- Reach many more eyeballs and build a name for yourself or company
- Increase inbound links from authoritative sites
- Duplicate content and potentially lose search traffic due to third-party sites outranking the content on your domain
- No possibility to collect emails or visitor info on third-party sites
If you’re starting out, it’s likely the pros outweigh the cons. It’s super important for you to reach a larger audience, and content syndication allows you to do that without dedicating unreasonable man hours.
It is possible to skirt the SEO issues by using a rel=canonical tag — however, not all content syndication sites will agree to this. If they don’t, you should, at minimum, have an attribution and link back to the original article on your site.
Here are some other resources you can peruse as you set your content syndication strategy:
This post was originally published on the Metis Communications blog.