Getting Started with B2B Content and Search Optimization
You cannot get so caught up with the creation of your content without considering its promotion. Without a solid promotion strategy, your target audience will never even see it. One of the most effective means to get your content right in front of key decision-makers is through multi-channel content syndication. By strategically utilizing the channels that your target audience frequents, you effectively increase the return-on-investment for every piece of content you put out there. However, content syndication isn't as simple as putting your piece of content out to as many digital channels as you can think of. You also need to carefully consider the technicalities that could hurt your brand down the line. In this guide, we'll show you how to ensure your content syndication helps your SEO efforts rather than harms them. If you get it right, content marketing via syndication is a powerful tool to drive leads and educate prospects on why your solution is right for them.
Why Use Content Syndication?
We won't run you through all the benefits that you may have already read in our complete guide to content syndication, but we'll quickly run through a few of them. When you syndicate content, you (or your content syndication provider) will ensure that your content gets seen by decision-makers in accounts that you're targeting. Whether your content is a blog post, a key whitepaper, your weekly podcast, a carefully produced webinar, or other types of content, content syndication ensures that they will receive more engagement and help drive more leads into your pipeline.
What are the SEO Downsides of Content Syndication?
If your content syndication campaigns aren't technically sound, or you're posting in the wrong places, you might see your website's SEO take some serious hits which, in turn, can lead to lower website traffic. Now, that shouldn't turn you away from content syndication as it is an easily solved problem. To start, let's take a look at some of the potential downsides of content syndication to your search optimization.
1. Being Flagged for Duplicate Content
If you're re-publishing your content across multiple websites and blogs as part of your promotion strategy, you risk being flagged for duplicate content. In Google's own words, you can't post duplicate content if the intent is to "win more traffic". Unfortunately, if you're cross-posting your content to multiple sites it's quite likely that this is the case. If detected that the same content is seeded across multiple sites and platforms, you risk having your site penalized in search rankings, or even having your site completely removed from Google's search index. You will be able to identify this problem within Google's Search Console where they'll tag pages that have duplicate content issues. If you see this, you can either reach out to your syndication partners and ask for them to add the correct meta tags (we'll get to what these are shortly) or add the tags to your content yourself.
When running your content syndication campaigns you need to ensure that you don't get flagged for duplicate content, as the SEO effects can be devastating especially if you rely on organic traffic.
2. Outranking Your Own Content
Another common SEO problem that stems from content syndication and cross-posting your content is that you run the risk of outranking your content on your own website. If you post your content onto a website with high domain authority (it's worth noting that Google doesn't officially say that website authority is a ranking factor), there's a chance it rises in the rankings and outranks your original piece of content. If a site outranks you, it means they're getting the benefits of the traffic to your piece of content. This is a key consideration as you won't be able to implement any lead generation forms or call-to-actions on your content on that third-party site. You will be left hoping that someone navigates from that site to yours which is not a smart way to go about things. You really want to avoid effectively beating yourself at the content game.
How to Avoid SEO Penalties when Syndicating Content?
If you want to benefit from content syndication and avoid adverse SEO effects, these are the best practices that you need to apply.
1. Use The Appropriate Meta Tags
The first thing that you need to do prior to syndicating your content is to use the right meta tags. While this might sound complicated and highly technical, in reality, it's fairly straightforward. You apply the "rel=canonical" to the page you're syndicating your content to, and also add in the link to your originally posted content. What the rel=canonical tag does is show the original source of the material to search engines.
When a page has the appropriately used canonical tag it won't outrank you as search engines recognize that your page is the 'master copy' of the content. Another tag you can apply to the page you're syndicating your content to is the noindex tag. The noindex tag will prevent the page where your content is posted from being indexed at all while still getting your work in front of your target audience.
2. Choose High Authority Syndication Partners
Next, you need to work with syndication partners who appropriately complement your brand. Posting on low-quality sites won't attract the right audience and you will end up wasting money in the long run. You'll need to syndicate your content via authoritative sites that your ideal customer already reads and trusts. This was your content will benefit from that built-up trust. If you can't find any relevant sites to syndicate to, don't worry. You can still increase the reach of your content by sending your content directly to leads and syndicating your content using built-in publisher tools found in many social networks.
3. Syndicate Within Social Networks
If you're unable or don't have the time to build the partnerships required to syndicate content on high-authority sites, then you can syndicate directly within social networks. As you would expect, this can be a powerful strategy as most social networks have an extensive reach and you'll be able to post entirely for free. If you have a large existing follower-base this is the perfect opportunity to tap into that and ensure your content gets massive reach.
Here are some social media sites that we recommend syndicating your content on.
Assuming you have a sizeable professional network and are connected with people in your target customer base, then you should be posting content to LinkedIn. It's the perfect place to reach ideal customers and if your content is high-quality it'll be quickly picked up by your connections and you'll benefit from network effects that will multiply your reach. LinkedIn is particularly effective for B2B companies.
Medium is another popular place to cross-post and syndicate your content. You also don't need to worry about cross-posting your content to Medium as their built-in import tools automatically add rel=canonical tags so your own site's SEO won't suffer. Medium is a repository of knowledge more than it is a social platform and is often sourced as a platform for conducting research.
Even though Quora may end up competing with your content particularly if there are many experts in your field, it consistently ranks highly for those in search of answers to key questions. If there are common problems in your industry and Quora visitors are asking about those, it's always worth taking the time to answer them comprehensively. Within your answers, you can link directly to your content and you'll likely see a steady flow of traffic through to your site if your answers are professional and on-point.
It's the number #3 site in the US for all manner of topics imaginable. It can be a challenge to use Reddit for content promotion, but you should be working on it as establishing a strong following nets you brand champions. Not every post you share will be a hit, definitely, and if you're too self-promotional you'll get taken down a notch. However, if your content resonates with the audience, is carefully written, and well-researched, you can see massive traffic spikes thanks to the sheer size of the Reddit user base.
4. Send Content Directly to Leads
Finally, if you want to completely avoid any negative SEO effects completely, you can use email and telemarketing to syndicate your content yourself. By sending your content directly to leads via these channels you can increase the chances that your prospects see and engage with your content without reaching out to anyone else. The benefits of these direct channels are that you can very quickly identify buyer intent. You can quickly qualify prospects (and they can qualify your solution, too) so your sales team doesn't waste any time on prospects who aren't ready to buy. You can also answer any questions they have about your content and can make the experience more interactive and engaging.
If you're running a content syndication program you need to ensure it doesn't negatively impact your site's SEO. If your campaign has technical issues that cause your syndicated content to outrank or compete with your content, you're cannibalizing traffic and won't be seeing the best possible results.
Setting clear goals and ensuring that your campaigns are set up for SEO success is crucial. You also need to be promoting your content in the most effective ways, not only relying on organic reach. You can easily do this by promoting your content across multiple social media networks, as well as reaching out directly to your prospects with email and telemarketing.