Content syndication is still a core practice of many SEO agencies and website owners. Google algorithm updates have made it a dangerous territory and you’ll find a number of marketers steer clear of it altogether.
The obvious question that many business owners come up with is whether they should dabble in content syndication or not. The promise of winning multiple links form a single piece of content is very tempting, but anyone who has seen the effects of Google search penalties is understandably concerned.
Is content syndication safe?
The answer to this question depends on a number of things – mostly how you go about it and where you choose to do it. The quick answer is yes, that syndication can be both a safe and beneficial part of your content strategy – but you do have to be careful.
Duplicate content is a no-no when it comes to Google algorithms and you don’t want to set any alarm bells ringing. That said, it’s not the biggest SEO sin out there and you can distribute your content to other sources quite safely with the rel:canonical tag. This tells Google that any given piece of content isn’t the original and prevents any drop in search ranking for duplicate content and URLs alike.
You still need to syndicate with caution though and make sure any publisher you use will insert the rel:canonical tag on every piece of content you send them.
So syndication can be safe, but is it worth it?
Now this is a different question altogether and the most important one you need to ask yourself. If you want to syndicate your content to gain links then the truth is this strategy has become far less effective – and will most likely continue to decline.
This is because Google has changed the way it values links and the type of link you typically gain from safe syndication holds less value than others. Generally speaking you will have a link to your website in some sort of profile snippet, but search engines want to see editorial links published in the main body of the text.
You can do this yourself of course, but as soon as you stick commercial links into your content you compromise the trust and authority of your content. Search engines and people alike both want quality content – not an article design to promote your own services.
Should I syndicate content?
If you want to use syndication as a tool to reach a wider audience with your content then you’re thinking along the right lines. Doing so purely for links can still offer some benefit, but you can expect this to become a redundant practice in the near future.
Either way, content syndication is murky waters when it comes to content marketing and safe SEO. If you want to take a more conservative approach then think about guest blogging as an alternative. This also comes with its own set of dos and don’ts in modern SEO, but if you stick to the right guidelines you’ll find its an effective way to reach a wider audience – although it does take longer.