Is Content Syndication Spammy?

Imagine this…

The editor of a popular site emails you and says, “I love your work! Can we syndicate your content on our site?”

What should you do?

Celebrate and do the deal right then? After all, syndicating your content puts your writing in front of a brand new audience. One already-written post could result in massive site traffic.

Or, tell her that Google wouldn’t approve of two sites with the same post?

First, let’s define content syndication and discuss what it is…and what it’s not.

According to Search Engine Watch, content syndication is, “the process of pushing your blog post, article, video or any piece of web-based content out to other third-parties who will then republish it on their own sites.”

As an content syndication example, I write for a site called Biznology. Whenever I write a new post for them, it’s syndicated to sites such as Business Insider.

But, is this an OK practice? After all, online forums detail some scary syndication scenarios…

…Google may flag your post as duplicate content (aka, spam.)

…The other site that’s syndicating your content may position for your content instead of your site.

…Google’s Larry Page may tie you up and march you through the streets, while your neighbors throw garbage and chant “Shame. Shame.”

Seriously, this won’t happen.

You don’t want to spam Google, but you also want your posts to get maximum exposure.

What should you do?

Finally. Some good news

Good news — we don’t need to worry about the first and third possibilities. Google engineers understand content syndication, and they don’t consider syndicated posts duplicate content.

Nor will syndicating your content cause the Google gods to come after your site. Larry Page will not march you through the street. You will not have garbage thrown at your head.

In today’s Brave New Google World, syndication is a non-issue.

BUT (because there’s always a but…)

Here’s the problem.

When it comes to content syndication, Google may not choose the original site as the “primary” authority. Yes, even if you wrote the article months ago, and Google has already indexed it.

Which means other sites can out-position yours for your own content.

Ouch.

Fortunately, there’s a signal you can give Google that says, “Hey, even if there’s another similar post out there, THIS post (meaning the post on your site) is the post to index.”

Ideally, the site syndicating your content places the rel=canonical tag on the page with your article, with the tag pointing back to the original article on your site.

This tells Google, “We’re republishing the original article, which you can find HERE.”

The result? Your site (should) stay the primary authority for the post (meaning, appear in search results) and you can freely syndicate your content.

This gives you a great best-of-both-worlds situation. You can expand your content’s reach, while still protecting your search positions.

Pretty cool, eh?

Want more details? Here’s some additional information about content syndication, plus Google’s take on canonical URLs. Enjoy!

What do you think?

Do you syndicate your content now? Do you plan to, now that you know it’s A-OK to do? Let me know in the comments!

 

5 replies
  1. Marcin Kordowski
    Marcin Kordowski says:

    Thanks for awesome article. Another good practice is publish content on your own site, if you are owner of the content, add URL via the Google Search Console to the Google index and after that syndicate on third-part websites. Best, Marcin,

    Reply
  2. Steven
    Steven says:

    Hi,

    Great article this is my opinion on it from the point of view of a hardcore SEO. Personally, i believe the way it works is if you are syndicating your content onto another site then you should look at two things first.

    1) Has my site had the content indexed first and does Google understand that i was the original poster.

    2) Is the site syndicating my content a better resource?

    The way i see it is i only want other sites to post my content if they are going to be bringing in new visitors and if they are worth it in terms of the backlink i get. For example if i posted to one site then Forbes or Business Insider wanted to post it then fine but if it’s just some random tiny blog then no thanks.

    Steven

    Reply
  3. Gary
    Gary says:

    Hi Heather – great article. My education continues. To syndicate, or not to syndicate – that was the question!
    Now I know it’s fine.

    Thanks,

    Gary

    Reply

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