Debunking the SEO Myths of Syndicated Content for MSPs, Updated for 2019
When considering syndicated vs. custom content, you need to know the facts. The fact is, good syndicated content doesn't hurt your SEO. There is some confusion regarding syndicated content that paints it in a bad light that this blog will help correct for you.
Myth #1: Google doesn’t like Syndicated Content
Does Syndicated Content Hurt SEO?
When it comes to MSPs evaluating custom content vs syndicated content, the number one myth regarding syndicated content is that it will hurt your SEO and rankings. This belief is based on a misunderstanding of what Google has said about ‘duplicate content’ and how it applies to syndicated content. The answer is… it doesn’t.
Don’t get us wrong, we understand the confusion and can see how it looks to an MSP trying to maximize their SEO results. It’s not unrealistic to think that if syndicated content is content created to be distributed amongst multiple websites, by definition it must be duplicated content. However, Google doesn’t see it or measure it in such a basic way. Instead, by understanding the importance and difficulty most businesses have in creating custom content, Google treats syndicated content with a more nuanced understanding.
Simply put, Google states, “Duplicate content on a site is not grounds for action on that site unless it appears that the intent of the duplicate content is to be deceptive and manipulate search engine results.”
In other words, if the content is copied or stolen, there will be a penalty. When it comes to examining syndicated content vs custom content, syndicated content is neither of these things.
Here are some examples of duplicate content which you should be concerned about:
- URL Parameters (pages that use tags in the URLs for campaign tracking)
- URL Session IDs (again, for tracking purposes)
- Multiple URLs for the same page (www vs non-www, etc.)
- Print-friendly pages
- Black hat localization tactics (reusing the same content over and over but changing the location to try to fool the search results)
- Content scraping (stealing popular content and sharing it out for ad revenue and traffic)
What About Panda?
Google has updated "Panda" nearly 30 times since 2011, and we carefully monitor the performance of our syndicated content every time these updates occur. We have never seen our syndicated content devaluing a website’s overall performance on the search engines after an update. Why? Because the goal of “Panda” is to encourage content - which provides value to users - and well-written content - whether it is custom or syndicated is rewarded - because it provides a superior user experience. The success of our syndicated content shows that JoomConnect provides the type of content Google values and your readers will enjoy.
We know syndicated content provides value because we use the same blog service we provide for other MSPs for our own MSP, Directive. We consistently see our blogs show up on the search engines, ranking as high as the top three organic positions on results pages. We know what works for MSPs because we’re an MSP and syndicated content works.
Myth #2: Syndicated content isn’t authentic
Syndicated Content: Make It Yours
A concern we have seen when discussing syndicated vs custom content is the belief that with syndicated content you only get what you get, take it or leave it. People mistakenly believe that with syndicated content, not only are you forced to take what’s offered, but the content you receive is so generic that any value it may have has been ‘watered’ down in order for it to be syndicated. This belief leads people to think the only way to have dynamic content on your site is if it is customized.
At JoomConnect, not only is our syndicated content researched to provide accurate information, but we strive to keep the content we provide topical, which keeps it relevant to your readers. Our syndicated content isn’t just a barebones summary of a topic; there’s real meat on the bones. In fact, there’s enough there for you to make your own meal. Here’s what we mean:
Going Beyond Syndicated Content
While our syndicated content conforms to best practices, we understand that many MSPs would like to be able to edit the content to be a better fit for their messaging and marketing goals. In fact, we encourage you to personalize your syndicated content because we recognize that you know your audience, your business, your community better than anyone. This is why we designed our syndicated content to be fully editable, giving you full control over the content we provide. This means you can tweak it, add your own insights, respin it, or even export it and use it for anything you want (other than reselling it).
At JoomConnect we follow best practices to provide you with content that just works, content which will provide valuable information that gives your audience a reason to stay on your site and return because they consider you an expert in your field. For ease of use, our syndicated content gets pushed directly into your website with no callback URL, no copyright information, and no reference back to us, reducing confusion of who owns it. Syndicated or not, your content is yours... out of the box.
Myth #3: Custom Content vs Syndicated
How Syndicated Content Provides Value
All things being equal, when discussing syndicated content vs custom content, yes custom content is best; however, as a business owner, you realize that things are rarely equal. The basic question you need to answer is do you have the resources to consistently produce content? If not, then syndicated content is something worth considering.
Depending on the writer, as well as the quality of the advice and the presentation, syndicated content is a superior product than poorly written ‘custom’ content, and definitely better than no content at all. JoomConnect provides a wealth of experienced writers who are able to provide content whether it’s syndicated or custom, guaranteed to attract an audience.
Google uses content to gauge the value and authority of your site. In fact, it would be accurate to state that the number one thing as an MSP you can do to improve your ranking is to publish high-quality content. JoomConnect’s syndicated content is an effective and economical method to acquire the level of content needed to increase your SEO value.
About Sharing Syndicated Content
A blog article about productivity tips and tricks for Microsoft Office isn’t going to somehow be less useful if other MSPs are also sharing it. The deciding factor is whether or not the content is good at all. Is it going to provide value? It is going to show that you are a helpful, knowledgeable expert? Is it going to give visitors a reason to come back to your site?
It is also important to remember how Google serves up search results: by location. This means your content is unique to your audience even if it is syndicated. Moreover, JoomConnect’s exclusive GeoProtection helps to ensure you won’t be sharing content with your competitors simultaneously.
Further, since JoomConnect doesn’t add callback links or copyrights in the syndicated content, your audience won’t recognize the content as syndicated. Instead, they will see that you are active on social networks and on your website, providing an abundance of knowledge and value for those who aren’t even on your service.
That being said, syndicated content can’t always capture the nuance for your community that you might have, which is why we always recommend that you modify and or paraphrase syndicated content to add your own twist.
One thing to consider is that content is the lifeblood of your site and by utilizing syndicated content you are best leveraged to let it flow.
Good Syndicated Content is Better Than Bad Custom Content, But Great Custom Content is Even Better
Custom Content Is Best
I know it seems strange to have been promoting syndicated content, only to conclude with the importance of custom content, but the reality is that custom content is best geared to feature your business’ personality, values and what makes it uniquely suited to solve your customers’ technical concerns. Finally, Google does treat custom content differently than syndicated content, simply because the content is unique. That being said, there are methods to add value to syndicated content.
Syndicated Content vs Custom Content
For example, a syndicated blog discussing the latest phishing attack has value. A custom blog discussing a phishing attack which specifically mentions your location with local landmarks and recognizable references can increase the value of the content greatly due to its localization and personalization. Your audience is more likely to click on a link that is directly relatable to their own experiences and spend more time on your site reading the content because it directly affects them.
Custom Content Alternatives
The truth is for some businesses, custom content is just something they can’t budget for; however that doesn’t mean they can’t use syndicated content as a means to increase their engagement. As we mentioned earlier, one way to increase the value of syndicated content is to personalize it.
When you modify certain details of syndicated content to make it your own, you incorporate a unique benefit for your readers into your piece. This keeps your readers happy and engaged, increasing the value of your content without the cost associated with custom content creation. So while not completely custom, a customized syndicated blog can take a vanilla syndicated blog, to the next level.
When deciding between syndicated or custom content, it comes down to what your expectations are and what options you have due to budgetary concerns, time constraints, or even the ability to write. In our experience, good content takes several hours, while really great content can wind up taking anywhere from 10 to 20 hours of work or more, start to finish. If you have the resources then you should absolutely create your own custom content, as you’re the best advocate for your business. If not, then syndicated content is a great option, as is our custom blog service.
Whether you include syndicated or custom content to your website, you increase your ability to attract the traffic needed to increase your opportunities to convert. Never forget that without traffic being driven to your site, you will have no one to convert, and high-value content drives traffic and increases your SEO rank and SERP results.
However, successful SEO strategy demands more than just the posting of blogs, even if the blogs are of high value. For your MSP to reach the maximum audience, you will need a multi-tiered approach to communicating with your audience. Effective communication must include social media, a modern website and of course a marketing plan to tie it all together.