February 08, 2016
Google may pick a syndicated version over the publisher: you!
By Maureen McCabe
Content syndication involves permitting third-party sites to publish content that you have already published on your own website or blog. You can give other parties permission to post an article in its entirety or just an excerpt.
The objective is usually to increase engagement with your content by having it published on relevant sites. This can boost your traffic or provide exposure for your brand. However, it is important to note that content syndication comes with several major drawbacks, and here is a look at some of them:
- Search Engines May Not be Able to Determine which Site was the Source of the Content
Search engines like Google will try to find the content’s source and show it on their results pages. With syndicated content, this may not be possible. The search engine may pick a syndicated version over the publisher, which means the source will not rank first. This is especially likely if the source is a newer site that has syndicated content on an older, more established one.
- Syndicating Content Means Duplicating It
Search engines do not like duplicated content. Whenever more than one site has the same content, the duplicates may not show up in results pages. The search engine may simply pick the best version and hide the others rather than show duplicates to searchers.
- Unscrupulous Webmasters Could Make Unauthorized Changes
One of the big problems with content syndication is that some syndicators may feel they have the right to alter your content. They can also repurpose content without giving you credit. They may do these things even if they are expressly forbidden to do them by the license you have granted.
- Loss of Social Benefits
When readers who find content useful want to share it, they tend to share the page where they first found it. If they first encounter it on a syndicator’s site, you will be missing the social media traffic and attention that your content generates.
- Your Content May Become Obsolete
Your articles will eventually become outdated unless they are about topics that never change. This is because you lose control over your content when you syndicate it to other sites. You have no power to change it and bring it up to date. If you are using content syndication as a tool for building awareness of your brand, this can be problematic since outdated content gives the impression that you are behind the times.
As you can see from the list above, content syndication is not exactly an easy path to high visibility for your website. The rules are constantly changing, and unless you know which publishers are reputable, you may not be able to get the maximum value from your content.
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