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It is essential to stay up-to-date on new methods for marketing online traffic to your site. Content syndication is a method that has become increasingly popular over the past few years, and it can offer multiple benefits to your business and its online success.

Here is everything you need to know about content syndication, its relation to search engine optimization (SEO), and how to create a content syndication strategy that will help you foster strong business relationships.

What Is Content Syndication?

Content syndication, also known as link building or web syndication, is the process by which already published content gets republished on third-party sites. Republishing allows companies to recycle old content while also gaining additional organic traffic to their website. Here is some more information about content syndication which outlines its history and its future role in lead generation:

History

Business owners and media outlets have used content syndication since the rise of print media, radio, and television. In fact, in 1924, the United States Federal Government encouraged syndication across radio programming so that authoritative figures like the President could communicate with the public on a national level.

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In 1996, Ramanathan V. Guha created the predecessor to web syndication: The Meta Content Framework (MCF). The purpose of this framework is to generate metadata for websites and their components.

The use of syndication as a means to spread information to a broader audience has expanded to include forms of web media from commercial websites, online publishing companies, newspapers, and blogging sites whose goals are to spread their content across these other mediums.

Future Role in Lead Generation

Hajnen Payson, an expert SEO consultant, believes that content syndication will continue to be a significant contributor to businesses’ organic marketing strategies. The biggest worry is that syndicated content will diminish in quality due to strict algorithm changes that won’t allow instances of duplicated content. Despite potential changes to web algorithms, the cost-saving marketing tactic will still be considered a valuable method for reaching a larger online audience.

Types of Content Syndication

Content syndication can take on multiple forms depending on the type of content, republishing rules, and methods for displaying the republished content. Here is a list of different types of content syndication that are common among businesses:

Content Syndication: Paid vs. Unpaid

You can further define content syndication by classifying it as paid or unpaid. Here is how you can differentiate between the two:

  • Paid: Paid content syndication, also called financial content syndication, is when a third party-site requests payment in exchange for publishing your content on their site. By paying the requested fee, your content might receive more priority on a webpage, and you might have a better chance of achieving high traffic back to your website.
  • Unpaid: Unpaid content syndication is when a third-party site does not request payment in exchange for publishing your content on their site. This could be because the third party needs content, and they are willing to accept pieces without pay. However, unpaid syndication can also be the result of an agreement between the third party and content creator to allow content to be republished on their website if they will do the same in return.

Image via Flickr by Rawpixel Ltd

Content Syndication: Inbound vs. Outbound

Another way to classify content syndication is by labeling it as inbound or outbound. These content methods encourage link-building and lead generation back to your site by using different types of content and marketing tactics:

  • Inbound syndication: Inbound syndication includes multiple content types including co-marketing in which multiple websites publish an eBook, white paper, or another informative piece and share the leads. Inbound syndication also includes PPC promotion. In this situation, website owners pay syndication company to carry out the process on their behalf. Lastly, inbound syndication strategy also includes social syndication, which is when two different companies content swap. Content swapping is when two companies with similar values or business models exchange content pieces with one another for mutual benefit and lead generation. These are categorized as inbound because they look for ways to draw attention inward to company websites.
  • Outbound syndication: Outbound syndication refers to content found in press releases. A company writes  a short, newsworthy piece for distribution on news sites. Then the news site can link the company’s abbreviated piece to the full story on the company website. Companies can also incorporate outbound syndication by partnering with telemarketing advertisers. These advertisers can verbally communicate a company’s products or services to their customers over the phone or visually display products in email advertisements going out to a third-party’s subscribers. These are categorized as outbound marketing because they draw attention from outgoing sources back to specific content or product pages on a company website.

What Is Syndication-Friendly Content?

Several types of content can be repurposed on third party sites as long as the proprietor has a valid use for them. These are the following types of content that other sites can republish:

  • Blog posts: One form of syndication-friendly content are blog posts. Use your company’s informational platform to receive offers for republication on other sites. Your repurposed blog post can include a link back to the original copy.
  • Articles: Articles that you publish on your site can be a type of content you use for syndication. Like blog posts, you can offer them to websites that republish them and link your website as an authoritative voice.
  • Video content: Syndication can also take form through republished video content. A republishing party can use the video itself, or you can distribute your video content by completing a write-up of the main points and provide a link to the full video on your website.
  • Infographics: Infographics, a visual way to outline important information, are also a form of syndication-friendly content. You can republish your infographics on another company’s website as a visual image with a link back to your company page.
  • Social media posts: You can use your company’s social networking sites to create posts that link content back to your company webpages. Another great way to use social networking sites is to post your content to group pages where members discuss specific topics.
  • EBooks: For eBooks, you can write up a summary of the points discussed and coordinate with the republishing partner to link the eBook description back to your site.
  • White papers: White papers can also be used as a form of syndicated content, providing viewers with a wise and resource-based report of a specific topic. This can be useful to your company’s credibility, and you can reach a broader audience.

Where Can You Republish Your Content?

Now that you understand what types of syndicated content are available, you might wonder where you should begin republishing your content. Here are a few common places where you can potentially get republished:

  • Multi-author blogging sites: This is a multi-functional medium where you can republish your content. What is excellent about multi-author blogging sites is the potential to tap into niche areas of interest that would not otherwise have a place to gain traction.
  • News websites: Similar to blogging sites, you can potentially expand your audience by targeting a niche area. You can submit your blog posts or articles to online newspapers or publications, and gain attribution along with blog or website links once the site republishes your piece.
  • Commercial websites: A commercial website is any site that sells a product or service. It is not uncommon for commercial websites to have a blog or article section, as written content is a great way to target keywords and generate traffic that could convert one-time site visitors into loyal customers. You could potentially form partnerships with these websites to republish your content if your content is relevant to their business.
  • Social media platforms: You can use social mediums as a republishing tool for your content. You can do this by creating posts on your company’s profile that links back to your main webpage, or you can post your content in groups for specific audiences to view and hopefully engage with your site.

The Difference Between Content Syndication and Guest Blogging

The main difference between content syndication and guest blogging is the type of content that gets published on a third-party webpage. Content syndication is when you take a piece of content from your website and have it republished on a third-party website, whereas guest blogging is when you write a piece of content specifically for a third-party to publish on their website. Therefore, with guest blogging, there is no republishing taking place.

Despite this difference, content syndication and guest blogging work toward the same goal: link building and organic traffic back to your company page.

The Difference Between Content Syndication and Content Curation

The main difference that distinguishes content syndication from content curation is how your content is used by a third-party. As mentioned, content syndication is the process by which you republish your content on another website. You could shorten or alter your content to fit the requirements of the third-party, but regardless, this is your finished piece that is contributing to the site.

In contrast, content curation is the process by which a business collects multiple sources or pieces of content to create a collective and informational piece about a relevant topic. You will receive credit for the information your original content contributed to the third-party site, but your entire piece will not be used. Still, the third-party uses your piece to gather quotes or factual anecdotes to support a larger piece of content written by editorial staff.

Another way to differentiate between content syndication and curation is to identify the way someone uses your content. For example, in content syndication, the republishing site uses your original piece of content on their website. In contrast, in content curation, your content acts as a source of information to support a much larger piece of content. So the republishing site might include quotes or statistics from your original piece, but they will not republish your entire piece on their website.

Who Can Benefit from Content Syndication?

Content syndication can be beneficial to a diverse number of businesses and individuals operating in several different industries. Content syndication helps companies who want free content to publish on their site, as well as companies who wish to expand their organic traffic by spreading their content to third-party websites. Here are a few types of businesses that can benefit from incorporating content syndication into their marketing strategies:

  • Sole proprietors: Sole proprietors of a business benefit significantly from content syndication.  This is especially true for bloggers, writers, and graphic designers who create their own content for their blogs and websites. These professionals gain additional site traffic by getting their content published on other websites and blogs. Content syndication, in addition to SEO  tactics, helps them expand their audience and obtain new business ventures.
  • Small businesses: Small businesses also benefit from content syndication. By getting their website content republished on other sites, they increase their brand-awareness while also building business relationships with related content creators.
  • Content-driven businesses: Another area that benefits from content syndication is content-driven businesses. These businesses earn traffic and revenue by creating consistent articles or blog posts. They benefit from using content from other websites to build up their site’s credibility while also obtaining free content.
  • B2Bs: Business-to-business companies benefit from content syndication as well. B2Bs use their blog posts, product tutorials, or eBook excerpts to draw in potential customers who require similar services. This is an excellent way for B2Bs to target specific web platforms to republish their content and generate organic leads to their business.

What Are the Benefits of Content Syndication?

There are multiple ways that content syndication can benefit you and your business. Here are a few of the most common yet effective reasons why companies turn to content syndication for organic marketing:

  • Builds brand awareness: One of the most beneficial parts of content syndication is its potential to help build your website’s brand or reaffirm a brand you already have. Contributing niche content to third-party sites establishes your business within a particular industry and enhances your credibility because other sites want to republish your content.
  • Is cost-effective: Content syndication is still a relatively cost-effective marketing method for those who do not have the revenue to fund a full-blown marketing campaign. Even if there is a fee involved, there is ample opportunity for lead generation and getting more potential customers engaged in your marketing funnel. There are also cost-effective benefits for the third-party as well, as they can get free content for their site.
  • Saves time: Content syndication is a time-saver for both the original content creator and the republishing site. For content creators, it offers more engagement and more benefits from the same article than they would see from another original piece of content on their website that would most likely take more time and effort to produce. For the third-party site, content syndication saves them valuable time creating their own content, and they can instead generate traffic by consistently publishing a mixture of both original and republished content to their site.
  • Creates more backlinks: Backlinks are links that direct traffic from one website back to the original website that produced the content. The basis of content syndication requires its users to implement canonical links that credit the original post and the original webpage. Similarly, the more backlinks there are to the original website, the more credibility search engines assign to it. This helps the website appear more frequently in search engine results and increases the chance for organic traffic.
  • Encourages traffic to the original piece: Content syndication encourages traffic back to the original source as the republished content is typically an abbreviated version of the whole article, which they can access on the original publisher’s site. Therefore, readers click on the republished article, gain interest, and then click the link provided to read the full article.
  • Introduces a broader audience: Content syndication gives its users the opportunity to engage with an even more diverse audience than they would be able to reach on their niche site. This can be achieved by republishing content on larger websites with more diverse topics and a larger pool of traffic. This is also helpful to companies that want to expand their business to include multiple industries, products, or services.

Search Engine Optimization and Content Syndication

You might be wondering how SEO and content syndication relate to one another, as content syndication creates an organic method to drive traffic back to your site. In contrast, SEO is a strategic placement of keywords to increase the visibility of your content.

To put it simply, you should not use content syndication as a method to replace SEO tactics. Rather, content syndication, if used correctly, can work in tandem with SEO to generate additional traffic to your content and build awareness of your company and its services.

With this in mind, you have to be methodical about applying content syndication to your web material. Search engines such as Google only acknowledge one link to be indexed in their algorithm. What this means is that search engines only give credit to one of two websites that share the same content, making one website appear higher up in the search engine results than the other.

Duplicated content could confuse search engine technology and assign credibility to the republishing site, rather than the original website. For this reason, it is essential that you understand how to index your syndicated content.

Indexing Your Syndicated Content

The first thing you should do before attempting to syndicate your content is to make sure you correctly index the content that you want to republish on another site. These are the three ways you can override or workaround a search engine’s indexing rules:

Meta Noindex Tag

The republishing site should apply a meta noindex tag to your content’s feature page. This action makes the search engine remove the index from the page and in doing so, relieves any issues with duplicate content. This is important because it will keep Google from assigning the republishing site as the indexed site, and the original site will remain as the indexed result for SEO.

Rel=Canonical Tag

Another way to help avoid duplicate content and make sure that Google indexes your original webpage for SEO is by applying a rel=canonical tag to the original webpage. This tells a search engine that the page is the master copy of a piece of content. This tag is important as the additional webpages that hold your piece of content will not be mistaken as duplicated content or marked as the indexed page, allowing your website to receive maximum traffic from additional publications.

Clean Linkage

If the site that is republishing your content does not want to apply a tag option to the page, there is another way to keep from creating duplicated content. They can do this by inserting a clean link to the original content piece within the text of the republished content. If you have a canonical link attached to the original webpage, then search engines will recognize the republished content as belonging to the master copy, and this will remove any confusion with proper indexing or duplicate content.

Restructuring Original Content

You can also discourage duplicate content by restructuring the piece of content before sending it to the republishing site.  Here are a few tips that help you limit duplicate content while reworking your original piece:

Only Include the Most Valuable Information

The first way you can restructure your original piece to avoid duplicate content is by revising it to only include the most useful points or information. For example, you could take blog or article content and restructure it to become a listicle, infographic, or white paper. This changes the format and structure of your content while still providing the most valuable points for readers. You can include a link back to your site for those who want to read the full piece.

Only Include the Heading and Caption

Another way you can restructure your original piece is by only including a heading and caption with a link back to the full article on your site. Including a heading and caption ensures that there will not be duplicate content issues, and both you and the republishing site benefit from the extra traffic and content.

Create an Alternative Piece

If you want to use some of the same keywords and statements mentioned in your original piece, consider flipping your article to address an opposing topic. For example, instead of saying “5 Inbound Marketing Strategies to Use”, restructure the article to be “5 Inbound Marketing Strategies to Avoid”. You can link this altered version back to the original article, saying, “Now that you have seen what strategies to avoid, take a look at some strategies that are useful to inbound marketing.”

Focus on a Different Keyword

If you are keen on using much of the same content in the republished piece from the original, you can avoid duplicated content by restructuring the article to highlight another top-ranking keyword for the article topic. You can also modify your content by combining some of the other strategies mentioned above, such as only including the most valuable points.

What Is a Syndication Network?

A syndication network is a group of partners with whom you can disperse your content. You need a network because the traffic your syndicated content brings in initially might start to dissipate with time. This is due to the fact that content syndication is a form of organic marketing. That is why it’s so crucial that you build a network of contacts willing to collaborate with you and continue to incorporate your content on their site more than once.

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How to Build a Syndication Network

Before you can create your own syndication network, you have to understand how to build one that enables you to continuously share your content on multiple platforms. Here is a list of steps for building your own syndication network:

1. Establish a List of Credible Syndication Partners

Before you start contacting website owners about republishing your company’s material on their site, you first need to establish a list of credible syndication partners whose audience would respond well to your content. Researching potential syndication partners will help you identify brands that align with your company’s purpose and values. Here are some tips on how to find syndication partners:

  • Use inurl:[domain]. When you are first starting to search for syndication partners, it might be helpful to add inurl:[domain] after your initial search term in the search bar. This shortcut helps produce SERP results of syndicated content related to your brand or topic of interest. This can help you identified one or more sites that willingly republish other people’s content. From this, you can establish a list of websites to contact about republishing material on their site.
  • Look for evidence of republished content. Another way to find potential syndication partners is by looking for key phrases that suggest that they are accepting of syndicated content from other sites. You can do this by going on websites that have similar brand identities and looking on article pages for phrases such as ” republished with permission,” “originally published in,” or “originally appeared on,” to see whether or not they publish their own content versus republished content. To make it even more specialized, type in one of these phrases into a search engine followed by the inurl:[domain] tag for targeted search results.
  • Identify level of authority. The other way you can discover credible syndication partners is by measuring a website’s level of authority in comparison to your site and the quality of content that you produce. Preferably, you should look for well-known websites that have a larger audience than yours. This allows you the potential to reach an even larger audience and gain second-hand credibility by getting featured on their site.

Example: Say that you are an event planning company that writes blog posts promoting your venue spaces and event packages. You cater to three distinct areas, weddings, corporate events, and private parties.

You have blog posts describing each of these events and what your venue and planning staff can offer. You want to try to generate more traffic back to your website to hopefully increase awareness about your company and increase the number of bookings your receive.

To cater to each area of your business, you come up with a list of wedding websites, magazines, meeting venue sites, and event planning websites and magazines whose audience and business purpose reflect your own. Once you have done this, you can start contacting these companies.

2. Make Initial Contact and Inquire About a Continued Partnership

After you have created a list of potential syndication partners to add to your network, you need to contact them. You can do this in the form of an email or written letter. Explain the purpose of your company, the audience you are trying to reach, and the content you have to offer.

You should attach links to your website and specific pieces of content for your recipient to review, and most importantly, you should express your wish to start a partnership with their company. It might be helpful to mention benefits for them, such as mentions on your website or the opportunity for their content to find its way onto your website.

3. Create a Syndication Schedule for Your Partners

To properly execute content syndication as an organic marketing tactic, timing is everything. You need to set a timeline to republish your content and how to distribute the same content across multiple platforms to maximize the amount of traffic your site will receive over a specific timeframe. Here are a few things to keep in mind, to help you establish some scheduling metrics for your content syndication partners:

  • Wait until Google has indexed the original version: In order to receive maximum impact from both your original publication and additional republications, you have to give your original piece the time it needs for Google to index it as the original version. Place ‘site;’ in front of your URL to see which pages have been indexed by Google, for example, ‘site:website.com’. Once your original content has been indexed your can republish it with links back to your site, knowing that the Google Algorithm won’t mistake it as a duplicate page. This is important so that your original piece on your website is the one that Google will acknowledge for SEO ranking.
  • Distribute one piece to multiple outlets: As mentioned, you should have multiple syndication partners to ensure that your content is generating the maximum amount of leads that it can at a time. With this in mind, you need to spread out the republishing of your content so that each partner receives traffic to their site, and your site receives its maximum amount of traffic as well. This means that you will most likely have to establish a timeline for one third-party to republish your content before allowing the next third-party to republish the same content from your site. For example, You allow only one website to republish your piece for two weeks, and then you allow a second partner to republish the same piece at the end of those two weeks and so on. It is important to note that each third-party site might have its own way of displaying and formatting your content, but they must link it back to your original piece.

4. Consider Enlisting a Syndication Service

Finding it challenging to come up with credible and reliable content syndication partners to add to your network? Consider paying a syndication service like Bing partner network to help you find the right partners for your specific business and its syndication needs. Many of these sites offer you the ability to republish content on their platforms immediately, and it can be a useful way to establish more syndication partners as a result of your republished content on a syndication networking site.

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How to Implement Content Syndication Into Your Business Practices

Using the tactics and advice mentioned in the previous sections, follow these steps to implement content syndication into your routine business practices for the best lead generation results:

1. Identify Your Goals

The first step to creating your business’s content syndication strategy is to identify the goals you want to achieve by getting your content republished on third-party websites. For example, if you identify your goals as those of lead generation, you might consider syndicating portions of your content, or the title of one of your blog posts.

This can encourage viewers to go to your site to view the full piece. In contrast, if you want to increase your company’s brand awareness or credibility, you might consider including a full blog post as syndicated content that you allow to go on a third-party site.

2. Create a Marketing Pitch

Now that you have identified your goals, you need to create a sound marketing pitch that you will use when contacting third-party sites about publishing your content with them. You should research their site, their background, values, topics, and writing style to craft your message.

Your marketing pitch must highlight your business’s qualifications while also paying particular attention to what your business’s content can do for the third party. You can include links to your content for them to review.

3. Generate Partnerships

Once you have received acceptance offers from websites who want to republish your content, you need to continue to develop those offers beyond a singular post. If you maintain professional relationships with these third-parties, you could potentially become a routine contributor to their site.

4. Decide How to Present Your Content

Depending on the preferences of the third-party site where you are republishing your content, you may or may not be able to publish the same version of an article or blog post that is on your website.

You might have to work with the guidelines of the third-party publisher to rework your content piece to fit their requirements. You might also be subjected to a full-rewrite so that the third-party site has ‘original’ content, but it will have links to your company page.

5. Plan a Method for Distribution

If multiple sites accept your marketing pitch and you have officially had your content republished on their site, this is not the stopping point for content syndication. You now need to identify a continued method of approach so that you can continue to benefit from your syndicated content.

Review the traffic generated as a result of your republished pieces. Which ones generated the most traffic? And which third-party sites were the most helpful in bringing in new traffic to your site? Restructure your focus toward the content and websites that generated the most traffic to your site.

You can create a schedule and coordinate with the third-party to determine what kinds of content they need, and when you could get your repurposed content published. You can plan it so that your content gets republished at the same time your business releases a new product or service so that the traffic directed back to your site will immediately see your latest offerings.

Content Syndication is an organic way to make the most of your content. Once you understand how to navigate Google Analytics and prevent instances of duplicated content, you can use its principles to republish old and new content to your syndication partners. Amplifying your traffic and potentially bringing new customers into your marketing funnel. Consider giving content syndication a try. It could expand your business in more ways than one.

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