Content syndication is a slam dunk for B2B marketers. It combines the art of content marketing with the science of data analytics to expand visibility among ideal customers and identify purchase-intent sales opportunities from the targeted bunch. When executed effectively, you and your marketing can reap the benefits of increased brand reach, boosted brand credibility, and high-quality lead generation, among many others.
But what about SEO (search engine optimization)? What impact does content syndication have on your SEO? Does it help or hurt your ability to drive organic search traffic? And how do you avoid getting penalized for posting duplicate content?
Truth is, content syndication creates a lot of SEO benefits. And as you continue to leverage content syndication as a lead gen strategy over time, your efforts will sharpen, resulting in higher rankings in organic keyword searches. As for duplicate content penalties, don’t worry—it’s less of a concern than the internet would have you believe. But you do need to adhere to content syndication best practices to minimize any potential risk of sharing content to third-party platforms. For example, partnering up with a content syndication vendor allows you to skirt those unpredictable pitfalls all together while ensuring positive campaign ROI for you and your team. That’s because content syndication vendors use data-driven analytics to map out the most optimal strategy for your campaign, taking the responsibility off your plate and onto theirs. However, if you opt to manage content syndication in-house without the assistance of a vendor, you’ll need to keep a few things in mind if you want to improve SEO performance with your DIY syndication efforts.
Still, no matter which approach you take, there’s plenty of SEO benefits to gain. So, let’s explore them now and get a better understanding of how content syndication provides a welcome boost in organic keyword search rankings.
SEO benefits of content syndication
While content syndication can improve your SEO performance, remember, results don’t happen overnight. It can take some time to see the positive impact of your campaign efforts. But little by little, you’ll find small incremental improvements not only help boost your SEO rankings; they also help you measure and improve the quality of your content, which is a major factor in carrying out a successful syndication campaign.
Here are a few examples of how strategic content syndication can increase your SEO value gradually over time:
1. Improved backlink authority
A huge benefit of content syndication is the ability to expand brand awareness and visibility to larger audiences, and backlinking is a critical part of the process.
A backlink is a one-way link found on one website that directs web traffic to another website through an anchor text. Here’s an example from our own blog:
In this instance, we cited information from the Activate Marketing Services web page and created a backlink to their site, which signals a vote of confidence in their company’s content. Backlinks, therefore, act as individual “votes” that let search engines know: “Hey, this is important content.” The more backlinks your content generates, the higher it will rank in searches.
Not only that, but backlinks also determine the strength of your content from a relevancy standpoint. This measurement is known as backlink authority, and it factors into your organic search performance. When search engines notice an increase in backlinks to your site from other reputable publishers, it’s a signal that your site is a relevant, trusted source of information. As a result, your content will rank higher than other brands with less backlink authority.
2. Increased referral traffic
Let’s say another company publishes a piece of content on their website, and that piece of content contains a backlink to a blog on your website. When people click on that backlink, they get redirected to your page. And that’s what’s known as referral traffic. The more referral traffic you can drive from these backlinks to your website, the more chances you have to connect with potential buyers looking for a possible solution to their business concern. So, if you think about it, referral traffic is simply a measurement of how impactful your content is in drawing prospects to your webpage.
But referral traffic also helps boost other key performance metrics, like time spent on site and average session duration. If you find a significant number of referred visitors not only click through to your page, but also spend additional time navigating the site itself, it’s a tell-tale sign you’ve got an engaged group of prospects, who could convert to customers later in the sales journey.
Search engines will quickly pick up on the increased volume of referral traffic to your webpage, validating it as a credible source of information. As a result, your page will perform better in search engine rankings.
3. Increased organic traffic
Unlike referral traffic, which finds its way to your site via backlink navigation, organic web traffic is the result of people finding your page through organic, unpaid search engine queries. As you continue to improve your content syndication efforts over time, driving more positive ROI with each iteration, you’ll simultaneously reap the benefits of increased organic traffic as well. And that’s for two good reasons:
- Improved backlink authority
The stronger you can build backlink authority via content syndication, the stronger your content will perform in search rankings overall, which lends to increased organic traffic.
- Expanded brand awareness
Building greater brand awareness through content syndication makes your content more discoverable across the web, which allows you to drive higher click-through rates among targeted audiences. Search engines see this as a sign of confidence in your content, and therefore, rank it higher on search engine results pages (SERPs).
As you continue to leverage content syndication, you might also experience an uptick in organic traffic from branded searches. That’s when a person includes the name of your brand or business (or a variation of the two) in a keyword search, and it’s an important metric to track when evaluating the performance of your syndicated content. If you notice an increase in branded search volume, it’s a good sign you’ve been able to achieve increased brand recognition and top-of-mind awareness among larger audiences, which also lends to a significant jump in organic traffic.
Avoid an SEO pitfall
We’ve covered the major SEO benefits of content syndication. Now, let’s look at the potential challenges involved with publishing content to third-party platforms. You’ll want to keep these factors in mind as you plan your next syndication campaign, as it’ll help you avoid running into SEO-related snags.
Duplicate content penalization
Duplicate content, as the name suggests, is when significant portions of your content appear on other sites besides your own. Whether it’s a product description, a blog post, or even a page footer, search engines can easily detect duplicated text from entirely different websites.
Search engines use web crawlers to scour individual web pages from over 1.8 billion sites across the web. They then index that information into a proprietary database, which allows them to detect instances of duplicated content among those pages.
And while many believe search engines like Google impose penalties for publishing duplicated content, that’s not entirely true. Search engines don’t run on a points system, and your content won’t feel the burn of a negative search ranking. However, what search engines will do is identify the most credible page of the bunch and rank that one instead.
But how is it possible for search engines to gauge the credibility of one website over another? Here are a few factors they take into consideration:
- Search intent
Search engines can detect the intent behind a user’s search query by comparing it to other similar searches archived across the web.
- Web page relevance
Search engines use keywords, meta tags, and other critical meta data to detect which web pages appear most relevant.
- Content quality
Search engines assess web pages’ expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness on any given topic.
- User experience
Search engines prioritize web pages that offer more user-friendly experiences.
How to avoid search engine flags
To avoid getting flagged for duplicate content, you want to make it crystal clear to search engines that your syndicated content is not only credible, but also shared with intention. And you can do that by following these three tips:
- 1. Publish content to your site first before syndicating
This is content syndication 101—you can only syndicate content that’s already been published on your own site. It’s a simple way of communicating to search engines that yours is the original piece.
- 2. Include links back to your original piece of content
Whenever you syndicate content to outside channels, make sure to include links back to the original piece on your site. It’s a signal that lets search engines know your page contains the original asset. To make it even more obvious, add anchor text to your hyperlinks that say, “Originally published on yourwebsite.com.”
- 3. Use canonical tags
Here’s where it gets a little technical. Canonical tags are page-level meta tags you can include within the HTML header of a web page. They provide clear signals to search engines that a specific URL contains an original piece of content. And since search engines prefer to rank pages containing original content, it’s a good idea to include them in your HTML coding.
Let’s say you publish a blog on your site, which you plan to syndicate to outside channels. You’ll want to use a canonical tag in the URL of the original page so search engines know it’s the preferred source of content. Using DemandScience as an example, here’s what that looks like:
<link rel=”canonical” href=”https://demandscience.com/resources/blog/create-content-for-syndication” />
Also, it’s important to note that canonical tags are only viewable to search engines, so web page visitors won’t be affected.
Playing the SEO waiting game
Putting these elements to work takes time, so don’t expect your SEO performance to skyrocket overnight. In fact, it could take a few months to see the impact of your increased backlink authority, enhanced brand awareness, and improved click-through rates. And since a lot of SEO magic happens behind the scenes of impenetrable search engine algorithms, its performance can be tough to track. But the more you practice effective content syndication, the stronger your efforts become. And little by little, you’ll start to see an uptick in your web page search rankings.
Syndicate content with confidence
To learn more about strategic lead generation through content syndication, check out our on-demand webinar, “Supercharge Your Strategy With Content Syndication”. Our experts have plenty of advice, best practices, and guidance to help you scale content ROI without hurting your SEO.
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