What is web syndication?
Web syndication refers to a marketing strategy in which one website publishes licensed content from another website.
Both the original publishing website and secondary sites benefit from syndicated content. Web content syndication allows one website to use their content to reach and engage the other sites’ audiences.
For syndicated web content to benefit all parties involved, the original content needs to link to its source site. This allows traffic to flow back to the initial publishing website and also creates a trail for search engines like Google to follow back to the attributed source.
Web syndication commonly operates between websites with a significant audience (e.g. HuffPost) and smaller ones with niche content (e.g. a food blog). This allows bigger websites to distribute a greater content variety to their audience while the smaller websites gain traffic from the larger publisher posting their content.
How does web syndication work?
Online syndication originated in other media forms, such as print, TV, and radio. For example, after a series airs on one television network, another network may air episodes to drum up more interest in both the series and the original network.
Web syndication today operates similarly. For it to work, a website must agree to promote new content released by another site. If you make a website from scratch and want to reach a wide audience or are thinking of creating a blog, then web syndication can kickstart traffic to your new site.
When done right, sites can profit from the exposure that web syndication and cross-promotion strategies provide. The tactic can cost nothing for both websites, or a fee related to audience size, reach, or promised traffic.
Publishers commonly cross-post articles and syndicate blog posts, but web syndication can also include other content formats, including a feed of a website’s recent headlines and posts.
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Web syndication categories
While you can syndicate nearly any content type across different sites, such as blogs, videos, guides, infographics, and more, web syndication breaks down into a few categories demonstrating the ways websites share content.
With free web syndication, a website agrees to promote another website’s content without any licensing fees. Many times an unpaid syndication agreement is mutual: Website A promotes content from website B, and website B promotes content from website A. This agreement helps each website provide their audience with a greater content variety.
With paid web content syndication, a website may promote another website’s content for a fee, normally via pay-per-click or tiered audience-size prices.
While the higher traffic levels seem promising, paid syndication websites often turn to clickbait-style headlines, which can lead to a high bounce rate for the original publisher.
Some paid web syndicators include Taboola, Outbrain, and Nativo. With these service providers, a user might see clickable content under headlines like “read related posts” or “similar articles.”
Platforms like LinkedIn and Medium allow users to publish their own content without an editorial process. These platforms can help websites reach new audiences.
For example, when you publish an article on your website, you can also repost it on your personal or business LinkedIn or Medium page with a link to the original post. This same method also works for guest posts on an external publication: Simply link to the primary article and specify that your site originally published the article.
Web content syndication is an integral part of SEO through link building, or linking to an external source via an anchor text of one or more related words.
As with web syndication, link building benefits both the original publishing website and the linking website. For the original publisher, an external link credibility to their site and may improve search engine result rankings. The linking website may, in turn, also benefit from more page views on the syndicated content.
Like with other web syndicated content, link building can be both paid and unpaid. Unpaid link building follows the same model we saw earlier, with two or more websites mutually linking to content pro bono. However, some sites rely on paid link building, where a website pays a third-party site for a backlink to generate more traffic.
Social syndication promotes your channel’s existing content via social media. This might look like embedding your website links on social posts, linking CTAs to specified content, or creating content that encourages viewers to visit a certain webpage.
Syndicating your social posts can help boost traffic to your website and create additional backlinks to your content, helping you rank higher on a search engine results page. Additionally, social syndication doesn’t require content licensing, as you promote your own work.