Best Practices for Syndicating Your Content

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I have a client who was contacted by Written.com, a content syndication company, about syndicating one of their blog posts for a three month period on one of Written.com’s customer’s websites.

My client wanted my opinion of content syndication so I gave them some advice based on my own knowledge of the topic.

I haven’t syndicated any of my own content, but this is a common question I’ve received over the years, so I’ve done a fair amount of research on it.

The Types of Content Syndication Licenses

To start, here are the different types of licenses that Written.com offers.

  • Content & Traffic License – The original content is republished on the brand’s website and the original article must be redirected, sending all traffic from the originating site to the brand’s site. The article will have a byline and link to the author’s website
  • Branded Post License – The article remains on the original publishers website, but the design and branding of the page is changed. The brand is now a sponsor of the page.
  • Syndication License – The brand republishes the article on their site while allowing the original publisher to also keep their article online. The brand will rel=canonical the brand’s page so that search engines don’t see it as duplicate content.

Content & Traffic License

This is probably the worst of all three options because it sends people away from the original publisher’s site.

I don’t know if Written.com requires a 301 or a 302 redirect, but I would request a 302 so that the search engines know that the original page is coming back.

Another potential issue here is that a random redirect to a different domain can be seen as spam or unnatural link building by the search engines.

That’s obviously not what’s happening here, but we don’t know if the search engines can tell the difference. Google might think something shady is happening and could inflict a penalty.

Branded Post License

The Branded Post License isn’t terrible since the content is still on the original site.

Written.com says that the styling around the original article is changed, but in their image example, it looks like they just want to add advertisements to the page.

It really depends on how much of the design they change before I can make a decision on this one.

If they are completely changing the style of the page, I would say no to this license because it could be jarring for regular readers, but if the only changes are the addition of ads, it’s probably not a bad deal.

Syndication License

The SafeSyndication license is the best model in my opinion and one that most online marketers seem to recommend as well.

Moz has actually done a Whiteboard Friday on syndicating content and this type of license is exactly what was recommended.

Conclusion

Written.com looks like a neat service.

I don’t know what they pay, but it’s nice that they offer various options based on the needs of their customers.

I was especially surprised to see that they were open and willing to place rel=canonical tags on the republished content.

There are some benefits to syndicating content.

It’s a great way to get noticed by different audiences in places where you otherwise could have never reached them. It can send new customers and also help build your brand.

But if you’re not careful, it can also do just the opposite. If your content is being syndicated on low quality sites or if the proper precautions aren’t taken (such as rel=canonical), you could risk penalties.

If you’re thinking about syndicating your content, make sure you know all the details of the agreement before signing the contract.

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