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When is Content Syndication beneficial?

A lot of bloggers are afraid to have their content syndicated because of several reasons – dupe content penalty, brand dilution resulting to reduced site stickiness, and ultimately potential loss of traffic, among others. Connie even stretches it as a form of exploitation in some cases. However, that’s not always the case and here are some thoughts when content syndication can be beneficial to you as a blogger.

First, lay down the terms of the syndication. What’s in it for you — link and referral traffic? That’s it? Maybe there’s more to that than meets the eye. Here are some of the things you’ll need to consider when agreeing to content syndication.

  • First, who is syndicating? Is it a fairly new site, an established portal or a huge media company launching their online presence? The profile of the entity syndicating your content plays a huge role in determining the worthiness of the content partnership. It could bring you several intrinsic benefits such as — reach to market segments you don’t currently have access to, the visible profile of the partnership, connections and possibility of bigger and better future deals. It could even land you an ad deal because of the exposure.
  • Second, what and how much is being syndicated? Is it all or just part of your content? You’d much prefer it to be just the golden pieces and not everything. Otherwise, there’s no more reason for readers to go to your site/blog and read more.
  • Third, how much exposure are you getting from the deal? Is it a link, a byline, a combination or more? Maximize these benefits to include any or all of the following — text link at the bottom of the title on their page (top of the fold exposure plus link traffic referral), highlighted byline at the end of the content (a blurb about the author, the blog and other blogs, and a direct link to the original content plus a nice come on invitation to read more), link to your RSS feed, an avatar or a small picture or logo with the byline, and a site wide link from their site (if not, just the specific channel you are categorized). Do the same with the photos or illustrations used.
  • Agree on who chooses what. Will they be the only ones to choose which content to syndicate or you can give suggestions too. This will be beneficial if you want to push a campaign later on. It could be an event, a project or a contest.

Okay, let’s answer some areas of concern.

  • Duplicate Content Penalty. We know that search engines like Google penalizes a site for duplicate content. It is in my opinion that they only penalize the one who makes the duplicate and not the one with the original content. So how to tell the search engine you have the original content — a linkback, of course. That’s the reason we’re maximizing our options in #3 above. Two similar content from two websites, one linking to the other — Google should be able to easily determine which one’s the original.
  • SERPs. Most are afraid that the one syndicating their content might end up higher in the Search Engine Result Pages. Yes, this is possible (happens all the time with Digg). Again, it’s in the link — make sure you get links with relevant keywords from your byline. This can also be remedied by having the syndicated content published with a different title than your original one and at the byline, get a deep link to your page using your title as anchor text. Besides, in the event that you only place second in the SERPs, you stand to attract twice the traffic — the direct one and then possibly from the referral on the syndication.
  • Potential loss of traffic/revenue. It could go both ways. Yes, readers might view the content somewhere else besides your site/blog but if they wanted more, they’d easily spot your link at the end of the article. But who says it’s just on the byline? Remember that you also pepper links on the content itself and where do those links go — yup, to other pages on your blog or your other related blogs. You are more likely to get more pageviews because of it.

There are two main points I’m trying to pin down here.

Discoverability. You stand to get new visitors/readers you won’t otherwise attract if you did not enter into this syndication. We did a really simple syndication agreement with Globe two months ago. Now I realized that the few hundred visitors coming in to the blog from their 3G Portal is a segment I would not have reached if it weren’t for that agreement. And I couldn’t count how many readers and bloggers tell me “hey, found your blog on myGlobe!”.

SEO. This is one factor that could have been overlooked. If the entity syndicating your content has a bigger profile (like a media company or a portal), you stand to benefit from the massive link love. Think old highly trusted domain with permanent anchored text links. Aside from the foot traffic, those links will not only benefit the blog that had the original content but other blogs/sites you might have mentioned and linked in your syndicated content. That’s hard to put a price on that one (unless you regularly buy links from TLA).

Even if it’s a new site, think about where the syndication partner will bring it in the next couple of months or years. Last time I met the people behind GMANews.tv, they told me they’re pulling somewhere around 14 million pageviews/month for their newly launched portal. That’s just the first 6 months.

Next time you get a syndication offer, think about it real hard. There are short-term benefits and long-term ones. You might think you’re getting the shorter end of the stick in the beginning but wait a year or two when the real benefits come in.

Abe is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of YugaTech. You Can follow him on Twitter @abeolandres.

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6 Responses

  1. Connie says:

    You missed the point. There is more to life than utilitarian considerations. And when a blogger projects an eager beaver front, he’ll never get respect. He might fool the gullible (admittedly, there are far too many out there) but the thinking crowd will always laugh at him.

  2. yuga says:

    I’m approaching the arrangement in general (not just your specific case). Likewise, you may take my perspective as a businessman rather than a blogger (trading content now for potential future traffic -> revenues).

    I think I get your point. Yes, I agree with you from the point of independent and well-established blogger — some things just cannot be casually traded.

    But to others, it could be a good opportunity to get exposure and more. At the end, I stand that it’s a case to case basis.

  3. Some good thughts offerred up. But I am mystified by your explanation in the Duplicate Content Penalty paragraph … a seemung riddle which I still don’t see the answer to. It is logical and indeed would be the most fair solution for Google to give full credit to the original publisher and then less and less to those places where the content is published later. However, how will Google know3 which site published the content “first”?

    Individuals run their servers in all combintions of the 24 major world time zones … are you suggesting that when crawling a site Google will convert the time stamp to WTC and then determine the order of publication based on a standardized time?

    Determining “who published first” may well be more difficult that one thinks, me thinks.

  4. yuga says:

    Dave, I think the problem of which content is original is not about the timestamp but which content is linking to. The link attribution will tell Google which duplicate is the original.

  5. OK, if I understand your take correctly, Abe, it is all about the links. So if I post an article on one bog and post the same article on another blog … with no links …. Google does not see this as duplicate content?

    If this si so, then alot of people worrying about the duplicate content penalty don’t really have anyhting to fear … because typically ‘scrapers” and other unauthorized syndicators do not link to the content they are duplicating. So if it isn’t linked, it isn’t duplicated?


  6. Connie says:

    The “long term benefits” approach works in many ways. You can get the much needed break by saying yes even with gritted teeth but you can also be setting an image that may be hard to shake off when you’re not so needy for exposure anymore. So, mahirap din basta na lang kumagat. Mga tao pa naman sa corporate media, they can smell suckers from 10 miles away.

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