One of the biggest costs and investments for publishers is in content, and with the ability to make revenue out of content only really happening two years down the line, after massive financial and human investment, it’s easy to see why publishers large and small opt for syndicated content.
What is clear to me over the last few years working in the news publisher’s environment is that there are downfalls to the magic solution that is called SYNDICATED CONTENT. Not downfalls that most publishers are even aware of. The downfalls are squarely footed in SEO.
The question is simple, is syndicated content flagged as duplicate content in terms of SEO?
The answer is not so simple.
This is what Google says:
” . . . in some cases, content is deliberately duplicated across domains in an attempt to manipulate search engine rankings or win more traffic. Deceptive practices like this can result in a poor user experience, when a visitor sees substantially the same content repeated within a set of search results.
In the rare cases in which Google perceives that duplicate content may be shown with intent to manipulate our rankings and deceive our users, we’ll also make appropriate adjustments in the indexing and ranking of the sites involved. As a result, the ranking of the site may suffer, or the site might be removed entirely from the Google index, in which case it will no longer appear in search results.”
~ Google Webmaster Tools
So although there are no real penalties from Google, for using duplicated content, the SEO issues are real. Google will only show the article version that is most alike the users search term, as Google only wants to show one version of that article, and obviously we would prefer that version shown is the original, right? Well this is what Google says:
“If you syndicate your content on other sites, Google will always show the version we think is most appropriate for users in each given search, which may or may not be the version you’d prefer.”
With everything being equal, in the case of syndicated content, the site that has the most DA ( Domain Authority), most backlinks, that is perhaps even older than the originator, the chances of the search engine ranking the version on the site that is stronger is very high.
There are simple SEO rules and tactics that can be used to prevent the issues mentioned above, methods that will allow you to rank individually and separately for the same content.
Author: Dee Stephens
MD: ClickAss Pty Ltd