Go to Content-Syndication Sites for SEO Content - dummies

Go to Content-Syndication Sites for SEO Content

By Peter Kent

Content-syndication sites are places where authors post their information so that site owners or newsletter editors can pick it up and use it for free. Why? Because you agree to place, in return, a short blurb at the bottom of the article, including a link back to the author’s website.

Here are a few places to get you started in the wonderful world of content-syndication:

There are scores of these syndication libraries, so you’ll have plenty of choice. (You’ll find a lot of duplicates, though.)

Some websites have their own syndication areas — libraries from which you can pick articles you want to use.

Make sure that when you grab articles from a content-syndication site you’re not using a competitor’s article! All these articles have links back to the author’s site, so you don’t want to be sending traffic to the enemy.

Syndication systems and JavaScript

Many syndication systems use a simple piece of JavaScript to allow you to pull articles from their sites onto yours. For instance, take a look at this code:

<script src="http://farmcentre.com/synd/synd.jsp?id=cfbmc"> </script>

This piece of code tells the web browser to grab the synd.jsp file from the farmcentre.com website. That file uses JavaScript to insert the article into the web page. Articles or other forms of content can be automatically embedded in other ways, too, such as using <iframe> tags.

The problem is that the search engines may not read the JavaScript that’s pulling the content into your site. They can read JavaScript, and sometimes do. Google, for instance, can read content placed into Facebook pages.

Have you noticed that as you scroll down a Facebook page, the page grows? This is done using all sorts of scripts (look at the source code; you won’t see much content, but plenty of scripting). Google can read the content that is pulled by the scripts.

Does that mean it will do the same for your pages? Will Bing? If you want to ensure that the search engines read your content, avoid placing it onto the page using JavaScript.

So the risk of using JavaScript to drop content into your site is that the coding gets ignored. The syndicated article you wanted to place into the web page never gets placed into the page that the searchbot reads! All the time and energy you spent placing content is wasted.

As for <iframe> tags, search engines follow the link that’s used to pull the page into the frame and view that content as though it were on the origin website.

Thousands of people are syndicating content or using syndicated content, mostly for search engine reasons. People syndicating the content want to place their links on as many web pages as possible, for two reasons:

  • Readers will see the links and click them.

  • The search engines will see the links and rank the referenced site higher.

Also, people using the syndicated content are doing so because they want content, stuffed with good keywords, for search engines to read.

In many cases, both the syndicators and the people using syndicated content are wasting their time because search engines aren’t placing the content, seeing the keywords, or reading the links!

To make sure the content you use works for you, follow the suggestions in this list:

  • Don’t use browser-side inclusion techniques. That includes JavaScript and iframes.

  • Use server-side inclusion techniques. That includes server includes, PHP, and ASP. If you’re not sure whether a technique is server side or browser side, ask a knowledgeable geek — you want an inclusion technique that loads the content into the page before it’s sent to the browser or searchbot.

  • Use manual inclusion techniques. That is, copy and paste the content into your pages directly. Plenty of content relies on manual inclusion, and you may even get content owners who are using automatic-inclusion techniques to agree to let you manually copy their content.

As long as you’re aware of syndicated content’s pitfalls and how to avoid them, it’s quite possible to find syndicated content and make it work so that you reap the search engine benefits of having that content on your site.

A hosted-content service hosts the content on its site along with a copy of your website template so that the content appears to be on your site (unless you look in the browser’s Location or Address bar, where you see the company’s URL).

The problem with these services is that search engines are unlikely to pick up the content because they see the same articles duplicated repeatedly on the same domain. Google, for instance, will probably keep one set and ignore duplicates. And in any case, the content isn’t on your site, it’s on the host site!

The problem with automatic updates

Another problem with content-syndication sites involves automatic updates, which allow a content owner to change the content immediately. For example, sites that provide weekly or monthly newsletters use automatic updates.

The content provider can use this technique to update the content on dozens or hundreds of sites by simply changing the source file. The next time a page is loaded on one of the sites with the syndicated content, the new information appears.

But if you’re adding content for keyword purposes, automatic updating may not be such a good thing. If you find an article with lots of nice keywords, it could be gone tomorrow. Manual inclusion techniques ensure that the article you placed remains in place and also allow you to, for instance, break the article into chunks by adding keyword-laden headings.

(Although it’s hard to say whether a site owner who uses automatic updating is likely to let you use manual inclusion, plenty of content is out there.)