Dawn emailed recently with a question about syndicating blog content:
Based on your SEO expertise what is your opinion of the following: For the last two years I allowed a site to reprint one post a week onto their site as long as they changed the title and linked back to me.
Now I am wondering, as I understand SEO better if this is a bad idea? If it is a bad idea, should I have them stop and leave the articles or have them remove all articles that they reprinted?
(Dawn also sent me a couple sample URLs so I could see exactly what we’re dealing with here.)
There’s generally nothing wrong with syndicating content. The SEO risk is that, if you syndicate content to a more powerful, authoritative site, that site’s version of your content can outrank your original version. But SEO isn’t the only concern; syndicating content can be a great way to show your expertise to a larger audience. You can still gain exposure, but it would be new people finding you directly rather than from a Google search results page.
Dawn’s blog is on the blogspot.com domain and she’s been writing since this past October — about five months. She’s syndicating content to a multi-author blog that has its own domain and has been around since 2006. The multi-author blog has a lot more inbound links. All the typical signs of trust/authority are in the other blog’s favor.
The exception is PageRank; somehow, Dawn’s blog home page is a PR4 and the other blog is only PR3. Dawn is probably being pulled up by the strength of the blogspot.com domain; there are a variety of reasons why the other blog might have a low PR. Despite that, the other blog appears to be a more valuable, trusted resource. I would guess that its PR will be higher in the next update, so all signals would then show the other blog as more authoritative than Dawn’s.
So, should Dawn still syndicate her content there?
I would say it’s probably a good idea. As the other blog grows, it means more direct exposure to humans even at the expense of some SEO concerns. Plus, the other blog always links back to Dawn’s original posts, and it keeps any other links she uses in her articles intact. That helps Dawn’s blog. If the other blog isn’t sending traffic and/or stops linking back to Dawn’s blog, I’d strongly reconsider syndicating content there.
Dawn, in the example you shared, the other site re-published your article two days after you published the original. I might try to expand that lag time, and see if you can have the other site wait about five days before republishing. The delay might help solidify your article as the original source; you want spiders to find your version first.
Your turn: How would you answer Dawn’s question? Do you agree or disagree with me? Did I miss something?