Understanding and Profiting From Content Syndication

Content syndication means publishing a piece of content (text, image or video) already appearing on your website on another site. For the site publishing your content, content syndication provides greater depth and immediacy of information, thus giving visitors more reasons to come to the site. The benefit for you is that syndication drives exposure across new online platforms. Given you have embedded one or more backlinks in the syndicated content, the process creates new traffic for your site—meaning syndication is an easy and relatively inexpensive marketing tool.

You can think of content syndication as an effective strategy for link building. Links embedded within the syndicated content should be optimized around anchor terms that point back to a specific landing page on your website. Although the SEO value of keyword authority is not completely clear, backlinks in syndicated content tell search engine algorithms that the website being linked to is an authority for the keyword used as the link anchor text.

In some cases, syndication just involves publishing a snippet of the content (including a link) on the partner website or even just a link embedded in a few key words as a subhead or part of a list.

Where to Put Your Syndicated Content

You can take a “natural” approach to content syndication, that is, simply contact the owners of websites related to the topic of your content and ask if they will post your content (offering to reciprocate makes sense in many cases). Another approach is to contact commercial websites that focus primarily on syndicated content in that sector — you might contact Seeking Alpha, for example, if you had content relating to financial market topics you wanted to syndicate.

Paid syndication is another possibility. Paid syndication firms have arrangements with a wide range of large web operations and can get third-party syndicated on well-known websites. In most cases, you pay the syndicator by the click, so you are only paying for the traffic actually driven to your website from the links in your syndicated content.

Syndication Works Best At Established Websites

Although you can send content to your syndication partners as an email attachment or via FTP etc., it’s easier to use an automated syndication tool. The two primary web syndication tools (formats) are RSS and Atom, with RSS being the most well known.

Web Syndication Formats – Rich Site Summary (RSS)

Creating an RSS feed is easy, and visitors that subscribe to your RSS feed have instant access to your syndicated content as soon as you upload the content to the feed. Having website owners subscribe to your RSS feed means they can check out your syndicated content and choose to publish it on their website if they think it is high quality content that complements the content on their site or because you are paying them.

Content Syndication Best Practices

  • Deep linking within content: It’s a good idea to provide links in your content to other relevant to your site. That said, do not overdo it. Only provide links to strong content that provides relevant information readers legitimately might want to know.
  • Avoid parameters: Avoid adding parameters onto links in syndicated content. Search engines see parameters as a different URL. If the use of parameters is mandatory, make sure you are using parameters exactly as specified in Webmaster Tools.
  • Check for link stripping: Visit the website where you syndicated your content a day or two later to make sure that the links in your content have not been altered or removed.
  • Use the rel=canonical tag: It’s also a good idea to request your partner to add the rel=canonical tag to the head of pages as this specifies the article URL on your site as the canonical. This tag tells search engines that of the version of the content at your site is the canonical, or primary, version.
  • Always self-publish content first: Another important consideration is to always self-publish all content on your own site before syndicating it out to partners. Publishing content first identifies your website as the source and can naturally lead to additional links from other sites.
  • Limited text syndication: Instead of syndicating the entire article or blog, you only provide partners with a limited amount of text that includes a link that readers can click to read more that will bring them your site. This largely eliminates problems with duplicate content as the full article is only found on your site.
  • Noindex: You can also request that syndication partners insert a noindex tag in the header of your syndicated content pages on their site. Visitors to the website can still view and share the content, but the content on that page will not be included in search engine indexes.