Content syndication is a marketing strategy that you may have heard of before, focused on republishing content across other platforms to appeal to a wider audience. Intended to push for better brand awareness benefits and more traffic, it has become an interesting prospect to many SEO experts.
However, like any SEO strategy, the results you get depend entirely on the way you approach things. How does syndicated content work, and what should you expect if you are trying to syndicate content successfully?
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What is Syndicated Content
In simple terms, syndicating content is when you distribute your content to new audiences through other platforms, whether those are specialized networks or an individual blog site.
By working with influencers and other content creator groups within your industry or niche, you can push your content to a range of platforms, each of which has its own target audience that overlaps with your own.
If you choose the right content syndication partners and approach the content itself correctly, you can theoretically syndicate your content to entirely new audiences – giving you a much wider audience to target than you originally had.
The Benefits of Content Syndication
Syndicating content gives you more reach, letting you create content that goes beyond your own website or your own blog. By placing it on third-party sites, you expand your content marketing strategy to cover a much larger audience.
Not only does this increase brand awareness if you pick relevant partners, but you can also get yourself better known as an authority or a voice to trust. This means that your broader audience is more likely to spread word of you further or even visit your site for themselves.
If you can arrange for links to the right pages, this can also become an invaluable way to get consistent traffic from a third-party platform back to your own. Even if the link does not draw in much traffic, though, the SEO benefits from a relevant website can be significant and hard to ignore.
In other words, using this as a method of lead generation provides benefits to both SEO and traffic while also opening up an entirely new target audience to generate leads with.
Content syndication relies on two things: quality content and somewhere that will allow you to share it. However, this does not just mean creating comments on the blog posts of major sites or setting up accounts on business directories – both of which are already SEO strategies, for better or for worse.
In content syndication, you republish content that originally appeared on your own site, placing it on other sites that are willing to accept the syndicated content from you.
While this might sound like a strange strategy considering how often the idea of duplicate content is brought up online, the entire point of content syndication is to avoid simply being another piece of repeated content.
A syndication network is a group of syndication partners (individual sites open to syndicated content) that all connect together. In general, if content is placed on one of these sites, the same content is also placed on other sites within that network.
In many cases (but not all), these syndication networks will include a lot of sites focused on similar topics that are not direct competitors with one another – for example, video game blogs and VR tech blogs.
These (often paid) content syndication services make it easy to spread your syndicated content to a range of target audience niches, shifting the same content from blog post to blog post and article to article without upsetting search engine platforms.
As mentioned before, we all know by now that Google and other search engines hate duplicate content. However, syndicated content is not the same, even on paid content syndication platforms, because it is being posted with explicit permission and referrals back to the original.
Most syndication platforms will include disclaimers like “this article originally appeared on [website link] and has been published with permission” or “this article was originally published at [post link].”
These disclaimers are important since they mark that the content was taken from other websites and republished legitimately rather than being stolen.
In some cases, paid content syndication may even include adding in a few extra paragraphs or comments specifically to separate the syndicated content from the original, although this is not always the case.
What Happens When You Syndicate Content?
Once you arrange to syndicate content and have it posted on the third-party website (or websites), your content syndication strategy has effectively already begun and ended. As long as the sites state where the content was originally published and follow a few other guidelines, most search engines will accept it.
The exact details behind this syndication strategy will obviously vary based on what you arranged with the network, as well as the nature of the original content itself.
When you decide to syndicate content, there are a lot of ways to approach the task. While all of them eventually end up with your content on a third-party website (or a network of sites), there is no perfect way to handle the process.
If you want to syndicate your content, then you need actual decent content to syndicate in the first place. Ideally, you would want to choose existing content to minimize the extra effort required on your part, but this will not always be a viable option.
Like with any content marketing strategy, you need to think about quality and relevancy first and foremost. Content syndication is about placing your content in front of new audiences who are still interested in what you can offer and that you have a reason to target in the first place.
This means that you need to think about which content would be most likely to gain extra attention across those sites or networks. Even if it is not necessarily the most relevant content to your own business, something that is highly relevant to those audiences can be just as powerful.
Remember that there are a lot of ways to approach syndication depending on who you work with, so you may be able to arrange for alternative titles or slightly adjusted versions of the content that are more in line with what their audience will be willing to read.
Choosing Sites and Networks
Whether you are going for an individual syndication platform or a network, you need to remember that there are not necessarily any wrong choices to make – but there can still be mistakes.
While all syndication options will help your SEO in one way or another, unless they are entirely irrelevant and low-quality sites, you need to think in the context of content marketing rather than just looking for sites with a lot of regular readers.
Sometimes, it is important to look at their typical content formats and guest post types, too. If your own content is distinctly different from what that content syndication platform prefers, your content might not be accepted or might not perform as well, even if it is shared on the platform.
Free Vs Paid Content Syndication
There are both paid and free content syndication options out there, with free syndication being easier if you are wanting to take a DIY approach.
Remember: the goal of trying to syndicate content is to place your articles somewhere where they will be relevant content and get attention. Sites like Reddit and Quora can sometimes be invaluable as a free lead generation strategy, but only if you make your approach subtle.
Paid ways of trying to syndicate your content are usually less hands-on and are far more subtle, with the entire article being republished in places where a niche audience will find it.
Naturally, both are effective options in the right hands, with budget being the biggest limiting factor. Overall, paid content syndication will be more “professional” than free content syndication most of the time since you are able to use actual networks instead of relying on your own luck.
Pitching Your Content
A big part of content syndication focuses on actually getting the content accepted. Even if you are willing to pay, these platforms are not always just going to accept anything they are offered, especially if it is far lower quality than their other articles.
Remember, these networks are often still major publications that push for valuable content as often as they can. This means that they only want to use a syndicated article if it actually meets their standards and would not stand out as a poor article to their audience.
Be sure to look into any editorial guidelines they offer or any other details they have about choosing/creating content to syndicate on their platform. This is especially important for networks since all of the sites within the network will usually follow the same standards as one another.
Arranging the Content Syndication
There can be a lot to consider when you arrange for the content syndication itself, too. For example, you might have to agree on where to put contextual links or what kind of title the article should have on the platform compared to the original site.
Beyond this, there are also elements like rewriting portions of blog posts or trying to add in extra commentary, like the article is a guest post. Sometimes, this will be a good option that the network will accept, and other times, it will not be – it all depends on context.
Using The Syndicated Content
Even once the content is in place, you still need to use that content syndication to your advantage. There is no point in having content placed on these networks if you are not making an effort to capture the resulting traffic and SEO benefits properly.
For example, if you have a carefully crafted account-based marketing strategy in the works, syndicated content could be more effective than regular native advertising for driving users to create accounts and look at what you can offer.
It is important to have suitable landing pages for the referral traffic, whether those are the original blog posts/articles or entirely bespoke landing pages full of original content that can capitalize on the new audiences you are trying to draw in.
Syndicated Content FAQ
Content syndication can be a fairly confusing thing if you are brand new to it, especially if you are not entirely sure how the content syndication process is meant to work as part of your overall marketing.
Here are some answers to some frequently asked questions that might clarify a few things or at least set you on the right path.
Is Content Syndication Allowed by Search Engines?
The answer to this question is yes and no, and it depends entirely on whether the content is actually syndicated or not.
With the right disclaimers in place, content syndication is totally fine, and search engines will not penalize two sites for having duplicated pieces of content.
Search engines do not like duplicated content and will generally demote pages or remove them entirely if they are found to contain identical text. Without the right disclaimers and link types, expect SEO penalties rather than benefits.
What’s The Easiest Way to Pitch Content Syndication?
A well-written and highly-customized outreach message is usually the easiest way to pitch content syndication.
For a start, make sure the platform knows who you are and that you have read their editorial guidelines before you pitch anything.
Remember: it is not all about the article itself, and they will have a very specific style or format that they want the articles on their platform to have.
Do I Need To Pay for Content Syndication?
Not at all; there are many content syndication opportunities that are absolutely free and that are a great way to build your lead generation list and improve your backlinks.
Paid content syndication can be useful if you are targeting specific audiences and want more effective or larger-scale results, though.
How Does Google Choose to Display Syndicated Content?
Since most content syndication involves using the same piece of original content over and over again, Google tries to avoid sharing it from every site at once.
According to Google Search Central, the Google platform will always show the most “appropriate” (most likely meaning relevant) version of the content to each user.
Does Content Syndication Work on Social Media Platforms?
Content syndication does not only apply to blogging or web-based syndication. The idea is that you can spread your original content through other means, like social media posts, email newsletters, or even press releases.
Of course, this all depends on which options would work for you best and what opportunities you can find to spread your content around.
How Do I Choose Good Content Syndication Platforms?
In order to choose the right content syndication platforms, you have to first figure out what your digital marketing goals are.
What do you want to get out of the process? What kind of audiences are you targeting, and why?
Major publications are always a good option for an effective syndicated page and valuable backlinks, but they can be highly picky and may not even allow paid syndication.
How do I Know If Another Website Has A Relevant Target Audience for My Business?
All third-party websites have a target audience, and you have to consider if your audience matches theirs or overlaps at all. In some cases, this could mean that you can get a better return on investment than on other platforms.
However, if the two audiences are too different, the backlinks (and the content itself) might be too irrelevant or too low-quality.
Like any other form of digital marketing, you need to research sites before you decide to work with them.
Is Paid Syndication Always Better?
Paid syndication can have better results, but there are a lot of factors at play. You need to be able to afford to pay, you need the right audience, and you have to pick your sites and networks carefully.
Free options can be just as effective in the right circumstances, even if they require a little more legwork.
In general, a service you pay for will at least be more reliable, especially if there is a legal agreement in place that prevents them from simply walking back on their agreement after you have paid them.
Does All Syndicated Content Need To Be The Full Article?
Not all syndicated content needs to be the entire original article. Sometimes, only a section will be taken, and in some cases, a site will literally syndicate just the headline with a link back to the original site.
This can depend a lot on the syndication platform and what their audience wants to see, as well as how well the content would work in their context.
Is Article Syndication Reliable?
As long as you are working with relevant networks, then yes, content syndication can be highly reliable.
The only real risks come from poor decisions or working with networks that are not entirely trustworthy, but these are usually obvious scams or poor-quality groups that are only looking for easy money.
Should I Use Other Marketing Methods Alongside Syndication?
The answer to this question is definitely yes.
Content syndication, no matter what kind, is rarely an end-all-be-all strategy for marketing, and you will need a full approach to make the most of what it can do.
While it can be powerful, it is not a single-step way of overhauling your marketing – just another piece of a larger puzzle.
In addition, if you do not use any other digital marketing methods, there is no guarantee that content syndication will work perfectly for you. To get the most out of the process, you need a mix of marketing techniques and tools in your business’ arsenal.
Searcharoo is a Link Building & Content Marketing company run by SEO’s based in the UK.
Our goal from the start has been to provide premium links and content services, at fair and affordable prices.