Does Content Syndication Hurt Your SEO?

Sometimes, no matter how many hours you spend writing a piece of article and how well you do it, it just doesn’t bring the results you were hoping for.

Hence, republishing or content syndication.

You take your well-researched, quality article and republish the exact same piece on a third-party website. 

Or a video. Or an infographic.

It’s a win-win for both parties involved as it can bring more traffic, visibility, and more subscribers if done right.

But can it hurt your SEO?

Many webmasters are rightly concerned about this and it is a rather complex question. The truth is that it depends on the situation. 

Content syndication is a valid strategy for reaching a wider audience if done right, but there are some risks involved.

Below, we talk about syndicated content and SEO and dive deeper into this whole strategy.

  1. Content Syndication vs. Guest Posting vs. Repurposing

Content syndication is not the same as repurposing content or guest posting.

To repurpose content is to find a new use for it. For example, turning a blog post into a video. 

You can split an article into pieces or turn it into an infographic.

This is also a good way to use content you’ve worked hard to produce and maximize your return on investment. 

Guest posting is writing an entirely new piece of content for a third-party website. While it is a great technique for building backlinks and driving traffic, guest posting takes time and effort, and it often isn’t consumed by a large audience.

Writing a quality piece of content will take you several hours at least.

Neither of these content techniques are the same as content syndication.

Content syndication, on the other hand, requires minimal effort. All you have to do is post an article from a third-party site to your website or allow other sites to republish your article.

And when you (or a third-party platform) dedicate hours or even days to produce an outstanding piece of writing, it would be a shame not to use its full potential and get some link juice from it, right?

Especially if you’re syndicating content from an authoritative source such as Huffington Post, for example. 

But there are certain complications. 

  1. Content Syndication and SEO: What About Duplicate Content?

Content writing is an integral part of the website development process. But it’s also a time-consuming one. 

The whole idea of content syndication is to get as much exposure for your existing content as possible. If your piece is published on one or more established platforms, a lot more people will see it. This means a potential stream of new visitors that can boost your SERP rankings.

It makes your time spent writing this piece well worth it.

But the dilemma here that many have is, won’t republishing an exact piece on third-party sites put you at risk for duplicate content?

The fear of duplicate content penalties is a bit exaggerated, so we wouldn’t worry about it. You won’t be penalized by Google in such a harsh manner as many expect. Or at all.

In fact, one study showed that 29% of pages crawled contained duplicate content in some form

If Google really penalized duplicate content, it would have to penalize almost every publisher you know.

Even Google admitted that it doesn’t penalize duplicate content unless you had malicious intent meaning that you wanted to deceive search engines.

This doesn’t mean that having duplicate content doesn’t have any ramifications. But the penalty that many are so afraid of is not exactly what they think it is.

  1. The Ranking Issue

However, there is another problem here and that is the possibility that another website that has republished your content ranks higher in the search engine results than you.

How so?

When Google comes across a duplicate copy, the algorithm decides which URL should be indexed. This means that when an article is indexed on two different websites, Google will choose the more relevant one to show to users. 

This means that Google will rank the most authoritative version of the piece. 

But while Google does want to rank the original source first, its method isn’t an exact science, so a lot of it depends on the context. The risk of not ranking for content you produced is real.

If you’re worried about duplicate content, you should do your best to tell Google who the original source is when syndicating content, so your website ranks for the specific query.

  1. How to Tell Google Which Site to Rank?

When you have multiple pages with similar content or several URLs leading to a single page, you can use a canonical link tag to tell Google which URL is the primary source. Google then considers the rest of the pages as duplicates.

It’s worth mentioning that there isn’t a 100% guarantee that this will work because Google can choose to ignore a canonical link in favor of a different URL it deemed to be more authoritative. But its’ certainly worth a shot.

Even Google agrees that you should use a canonical tag, according to their official info.

When syndicating content, one of the ways to tell Google which source is the most relevant is to ensure that the website where you’re republishing your post has links to your site as the original source.

For example, “Article originally published here.”

Another way to prevent another site from ranking above you for your content is to ask the websites syndicating your content to add a no-index tag on the page in question.

A no-index tag would block the page from appearing in Google search results, so your authority here stays intact even if many platforms republish your content.

  1. Benefits of Content Syndication 

If content syndication wasn’t a valid method for driving traffic and generating buzz, it wouldn’t be used so frequently. 

Obviously, there are several key benefits of this method, including:

  1. Backlinks

When someone republishes your content, they tell their readers where the article was originally published and include a link to your website. 

If they like the piece, chances that they will click on the link and visit your website are huge.

This means a huge pool of potential backlinks and referral traffic while no time was invested in creating new content. 

The website syndicating your content gets a free article and you get to expose your content to a whole new audience.

This helps your SEO efforts and can improve your SERP ranking.

  1. Exposure

Having your content on other platforms means more overall exposure for your brand, which is always a good thing. Whether it’s an article, an infographic or an e-book, you can expose your content to a much wider audience and increase the visibility of your brand and the piece you’ve worked hard on.

  1. New Leads

Content syndication can get you more leads and lead to increased revenue, especially if the website syndicating your piece targets the same consumers.

This way, you can expand your reach to a whole new pool of potential customers.

Just make sure to track the leads you acquire through content syndication and follow up with them as soon as possible. You can get their contact info and target them in your email campaign.

  1. Doing Content Syndication Right: Key Takeaways

To conclude, content syndication can be great for you and it doesn’t have to hurt your SEO.

However, be mindful of the best practices when syndicating content, such as:

1.Produce outstanding content. 

So many platforms and publishers are all up for syndicated content, but they won’t republish a piece unless it’s absolutely amazing.

Think about it. Over 4 million blog posts are written every day.

Only a handful of them will be republished by other platforms. 

If you’re republishing someone else’s content, you will likely pick an authoritative platform such as Reuters, for example, not a random blog post from an unknown website.

And vice versa.

So, focus on quality and invest time and invest time into a piece of writing to increase your chances.

2. Always ensure you have permission to republish a post.

When republishing someone else’s post, make sure you have their permission to do so and credit the original source accordingly.

3. Protect your SEO efforts.

If a third-party website is republishing your content, protect your SEO and ask them to add a canonical tag or a no-index tag. This will help ensure that Google ranks your site as the original source and not the third-party websites.

The same applies to you if you’re republishing someone else’s content.

4. Syndicate content on more than one platform.

If you aim to grow your reach, there are more ways to republish your content than to wait for a third-party website to pick up your content. You can use free platforms such as LinkedIn or YouTube or platforms accessible to everyone that feature content for free like Medium.

For example, you can go to Quora, search for topics related to your post, and answer users’ questions by sharing your content.