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As a digital marketer, creating good content is just the beginning. You also need to distribute it to as wide of an audience as possible, which is why many marketers focus on content syndication. If you don’t already have a strong social media presence capable of syndicating your own content, it doesn’t hurt to have a third-party website do it for you. But that raises all kinds of questions about duplicate content and Google search results.
How Google views syndicated content
But does Google really penalize duplicate content? The answer is a resounding “NO.” Google has stated again and again that there is no “duplicate content penalty.” In other words, if your content shows up in multiple places on the web, Google is not going to directly penalize your content and assign it a lower search ranking.
However, there is an “indirect” Google search penalty for duplicate content. Here’s how it works: you publish a great blog post and decide to syndicate it out to a number of top media publications. By a stroke of good fortune, your content gets picked up by a mainstream media publication that has a huge Internet presence.
When it comes time to rank the search results for a certain term, you can bet that the content appearing on the website of this mainstream media publication is going to rank higher than your content. And it really doesn’t matter what the topic is, what the length is, or how influential the article is. So there’s an “indirect” penalty here.
The reason is simple: Google has a bias towards “authority.” If you think about it, this makes sense. Google has a natural incentive to show you the most authoritative site on the Internet that matches your search query. And since you run a company – and not a media business – it’s only natural that Google will assign an article that appears on a website like the New York Times a higher ranking than an article appearing on your own website (and that’s even if yours is the original version and not the “copy”)_
The pros and cons of content syndication
As a content creator, this just goes to show that there are several different pros and cons that you must weigh when you decide to syndicate your content. The pros are obvious – you get to boost your reach and build your audience by reaching new readers. Content syndication is also highly scalable – once you have a syndication deal in place, it doesn’t take much more effort to syndicate 100 articles than 10 articles.
The cons, though, are that you will lose some search traffic if your article appears on high-authority sites. Moreover, you will lose control of the end customer. It’s common courtesy for any site to provide back links to the original article and credit the original author of the piece, but sometimes things can get pretty hazy on the Internet. It’s always a bit jarring to see something that you’ve written excerpted in a way that changes the overall message, or for an article to include images that you never would have included to help tell the story.
Content syndication can take different forms
Weighing the pros and cons, though, it’s easy to see why content syndication can be so successful. In today’s social media world, content syndication no longer means just content sites like blog. Platforms like Twitter and Facebook can also be very effective in syndicating your content. So don’t think that you have to turn to the “usual suspects” when it comes to distributing your content. Everything is fair game when it comes to boosting your reach across the Internet.