As a former newswire employee, I was often asked about syndicated content. What exactly is it, and how can one use it to boost SEO—if at all?
Likewise, what impact—positive or negative—will this have on my organization due to Google’s strict guidelines on boosting traffic via non-organic results?
First, let’s start with the basics. Syndication is the process of making content from one site available on a multitude of other websites, platforms and feeds. The most common type of syndication typically takes the form of a press release pushed out by a national newswire (e.g. Business Wire, PR Newswire, Marketwired).
How Can This Benefit Your Company?
Think about the last time you searched for something online. If you’re like 75 percent of the world, you never make it past the first page of results. So, how can you ensure that your website will appear in page-one rankings when potential prospects are searching for your products and services?
If you’ve syndicated content that includes quality backlinks that let readers directly connect with your website, then you’ve accomplished step one in enhancing your search engine ranking. According to Brian Dean of Backlinko, “The number of domains linking to a page correlates with rankings more than any other factor.”
Thus, backlinked syndicated content gives you the page-one visibility that will increase web traffic to your site. It may also enable you to add to the bottom line. In theory, the more traffic and activity a site receives, the more opportunity a company has to directly impact sales and engage with its core audiences. Not to mention, this no-cost tactic plays extremely well with management, and CMOs often reap the benefits of this praise.
Syndicated Content and SEO Backlash
So let’s tackle the next part of the question: Will Google penalize a company for distributing identical content in an effort to boost SEO?
In theory, yes. Some history for context: Google’s mission is to provide its users with quality content that is useful and relevant to their needs and provided by an authorized source. Back in the days of “writing for robots”—scamming search engines by using algorithmic science to exploit the way Google indexed content, thus artificially boosting SEO—Google and other web-search services were unable to provide the quality results we get today.
Through the use of practices like keyword stuffing and paid backlinks, companies selling housewares could show up on page-one queries for tennis shoes. The results were not generating the information desired, so Google sought to change that.
By reevaluating its search criteria, Google came up with a new set of principles and guidelines that serve as today’s SEO how-to, and Google does penalize companies that attempt to outwit the system. Getting caught can be detrimental to a business and—from what I have heard—can be extremely difficult to bounce back from.
So how does this relate to syndicated content and whether or not it is safe to use in today’s heavily monitored SEO world? Well, let’s take a look at the facts. We have already established that increasing web traffic to your site is a key way to boost SEO. We’ve also determined that the number of sites driving traffic to your site is essential to the ongoing health of your search engine ranking. Thus, it would seem safe to conclude that syndicated content can benefit an organization in both capacities.
Here’s the Caveat
When distributing syndicated content, “no follow” links must always be implemented, whether you’re sending it out yourself or using a third-party distributor such as a newswire. “No follow” tags are included in the HTML of most, if not all, links found in syndication. They indicate to Google that the link is placed there purely for informational or interest purposes and not to generate SEO. However, although Google reads the link as non-impacting, the actual boost in traffic to your site inherently enhances your SEO.
The short and sweet of it: Syndicated content is your best friend and does not negatively impact your company’s rankings.
So go ahead! Syndicate your content as often and regularly as possible. In fact, I recommend using a newswire to do so. Newswires are constantly up to date on the latest directives and protocols sanctioned by Google and, in turn, Google considers press releases issued by commercial newswires highly reliable source content. That’s because it’s company-sourced material, straight from the horse’s mouth. This is in part why your latest press release often shows up in the Google News feed when searching your company name.
For more information on SEO tools and tips, and to learn how simple PR tactics can boost awareness, relevancy and interest in your brand, please feel free to contact Tech Image with your questions. Or, download our Digital PR Best Practices Guide for more information.