In today's fiercely competitive digital marketing landscape, amplifying your brand's voice is crucial. Paid news content syndication partners promise to help you achieve this goal, but what happens when these partnerships start eating into your traffic instead of boosting it? This is a recap of original research by newzdash. Their team explored the complex terrain of paid news content syndication and its implications for your SEO strategy.
Disclaimer: All the data used here in the analysis are public data based on Google rankings and have no private or Google Search Console data!
Grasping Paid News Content Syndication
News Content Syndication is when a news publisher syndicates their content with other syndication partners. Syndicated content is original content that is licensed to be republished by other publishers.
Many media companies, newspapers, and other publishers have active syndication deals with Yahoo News, Bing News, and other syndication partners.
It is one of the revenue sources many publishers utilize to help with the growing financial challenges publishers face. Most of these syndication paid deals are either full content syndication - which pays more - or condensed content.
Paid news content syndication involves republishing your original content on third-party news aggregators and news websites, typically for a fee. These partners promise increased brand exposure, broader audience reach, and a boost in website traffic. However, with the benefits come some SEO challenges that need careful navigation.
Content Syndication SEO Challenges: Outranked by Partner Sites!?
While it can be an effective way to generate additional revenue for the site, it could also backfire if SEO is not managed properly.
The biggest SEO challenge when it comes to syndication is for the syndicated content to outrank original content, which means the loss of well-deserved traffic to your original content site. The higher authority site (which may not be your site) often gets preference.
There are a few reasons why this is happening:
Canonical Tags are not as strong as we once thought: The use of canonical tags is one of the most effective ways to avoid potential duplicate content issues with syndicated content. In theory, this is how it should work, but Google has stated that Canonical Tags are not recommended for syndication.
Speed Matters: When it comes to news, Google can't afford a delay in surfacing new or old news articles. In other words, the speed of delivering news is more important than finding out the original source.
Syndicating to Higher Authority Sites: Google may ignore Canonical Tags for News Syndication when the syndicating site has higher authority or when the syndicated content is discovered and indexed first before your original content.
News Content Syndication SEO Best Practices
Understanding these potential challenges and based on the past 25 years of experience, the researchers recommend the following SEO practices to mitigate syndication risks:
Use Canonical Tags
While Canonical Tags may not work perfectly for news articles, it's important to provide Google with all needed signals to determine the original content, especially when it starts rendering the content.
NOINDEX Syndicated Content
The official recommendation by Google and Google News is to block any syndicated content on other sites to avoid crawling that content. If the site on which you're syndicating your content is open to it, you can use a 'NOINDEX' meta tag on the syndicated version.
Ensure your content is indexed by Google before syndicating it to other publishers. This helps Google understand that the original content came from your site.
Syndicate Condensed Content Instead of Full Content
Instead of syndicating the full article, provide an abbreviated version or summary of the content.
Use Alternate Headlines
Syndicate with different headlines that may not rank as effectively.
You don't have to syndicate every piece of content you create.
Be Part of the Legal Agreement
Work with your legal team and highlight the challenges with syndicated content. Make sure your contract states certain terms to be included in any syndication deal like NOINDEX, Canonicals, Dofollow Backlinks, backlinks to original content, etc.
Monitor Your Syndicated Content Traffic
Regularly monitor how your syndicated content is performing.
Use the Publisher Center
If you appear in Google News Surfaces, you already have a Google’s Publisher Center account.
Regularly Audit Your Syndication Partners
Conduct regular audits to ensure your syndication partners are adhering to your agreement.
How to measure the impact of syndication
Many SEOs will search for the exact title in Google and determine if their partners are outranking them. However, this is not a good way to determine it. Instead, you can utilize SEO tools to compare traffic for your pages to syndicated content traffic. This provides you with a number that you can later utilize to measure revenue loss.