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Syndicating Your Content and SEO Benefits

Episode Overview: Syndicating high value content on various channels like social media, email and video outlets is a powerful method to expand your content’s reach, but a poorly executed content syndication plan can pose a significant risk to your ranking endeavors. Join Ben and Searchmetrics’ Content Lead Marlon Glover as they continue their High Value Content Week discussion by evaluating content syndication benefits, reviewing useful tools to aid your syndication efforts and why customer engagement is crucial to a successful plan.

Summary:

  • Engagement measurement tools like BuzzSumo are useful to comb through social channels to gather valuable metrics on shared article keyword frequencies and tracks the types of posts they appear in, which are useful for syndication planning.
  • Successful syndication efforts include performing in-depth keyword research and actively engaging your customers on various channels to directly address their needs to inform your content ideation.
  • Content syndication does carry risks if poorly executed and can decrease time on site and increase bounce and exit rates, which sends negative ranking signals to Google.

GUESTS & RESOURCES:

Ben:                 Welcome back to High Value Content Week on The Voices of Search Podcast. I’m your host Benjamin Shapiro, and this week we’re going to publish an episode every day talking about how you can find and optimize your highest value content. Joining us for High Value Content Week is Marlon Glover who is the content team lead at Searchmetrics. And today, Marlon and I are going to talk about syndicating your high value content and the impact that has on SEO.

Ben:                 But before we hear from Marlon, I want to remind you that this podcast is brought to you by the marketing team at Searchmetrics. We are an SEO and content marketing platform that helps enterprise scale businesses monitor their online presence and make data driven decisions. To support you, our loyal podcast listeners, we’re offering a free trial of the Searchmetrics’ suite. That’s right. You can now start a trial of both the Searchmetrics’ SEO suite and our Content Experience Tool without paying a dime. To start your free trial, head over to Searchmetrics.com/freetrial.

Ben:                 Okay. On with the show, here’s my conversation with Marlon Glover, Content Team Lead at Searchmetrics.

Ben:                 Marlon, welcome back to High Value Content Week on The Voices of Search Podcast.

Marlon:          Hey, man. Thanks again for having me.

Ben:                 Glad to have you back. We’ve covered a lot of ground talking about how to find new high value content, whether it’s worth spending time on existing high value content. And then yesterday we talked about some of the different ways that you can optimize your content to make sure you’re getting the most out of it. We talk a lot about the SEO practices, the way that you can optimize your content and some of the technical and the words that you’re putting on the page, making sure that they’re giving Google the right signals. There’s other signals that Google looks at in terms of page performance that are not just specifically SEO related. Talk to me about the value of driving traffic to your high value pages and what are some of the risks? Is this something that you should be doing trying to get your best performing SEO pages to show up in other channels?

Marlon:            Yeah, man, that would be great if we could just search optimize our content and just wipe our hands and say we’re done with it. But I think we all know as marketers if you spend any time in digital marketing that it’s incredibly important to get your content out through other channels, those channels being things like social media, things like video outlets, emails one of the old traditional approaches. And quite frankly, I’ve been out of the loop because I have been so focused on optimizing. So you as the podcast extraordinaire, I’d be interested to see sort of how you think about the value of syndicating content.

Ben:                 Yeah. I’m happy to talk through some of the different ways that content syndication can happen, different channels you can use. Before we get there, I want to ask you one question. I want to talk a little bit about the value that content syndication can have on your actual SEO performance. Are there specific signals when you’re looking at a page of content, whether it’s the time on site or specific type of users, what are some of the metrics that you look at that can be influenced by the non-SEO channels?

Marlon:            I think what’s interesting, I’ve been using some tools recently to understand what engagement looks like outside of not just Google Analytics. Obviously Google Analytics being one of the primary tools that we use to get a good idea of what the engagement of a particular piece of content looks like. Some of the things you mentioned, time on site, bounce rate, exit rate, those are sort of the standard metrics that we look at. But outside of that, even in helping those guide our content direction have used tools like BuzzSumo, for example, to understand what types of content is shared most frequently, how long is that content if we’re talking about written pieces. Some of the other analysis metrics that tools like BuzzSumo and other ones present really help me understand what content will be likely to perform from an engagement standpoint, and then obviously using some of the traditional metrics in Google Analytics, for example, to understand sort of how that content has performed that we’ve produced in the past.

Ben:                 So you mentioned BuzzSumo. It’s actually a tool I’m not familiar with. Give me an understanding of what BuzzSumo is and what do you use it for?

Marlon:            Yeah, sure. So BuzzSumo can help you analyze the performance of content across four primary social channels. Those being Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, for example, and what it’s essentially looking at is the frequency of times that a particular article has been shared. It can group those articles within specific sort of general topic areas, but what it’s doing is crawling those social channels to understand if a term was mentioned, how often has that particular term or keyword been shared on those channels, and then it’s pulling in all the other data around that piece of content, tweet, or Facebook post, for example. And maybe the articles that are associated with that, are they videos, are they how-to articles, so on and so forth. So those are some of the things that when we’re looking to supplement that data that we have in Searchmetrics along with engagement data, particularly things that could be trending in the news today, I’m looking at that to kind of create a bigger, more full picture of what engagement could look like. And then from a syndication perspective, what channels maybe most likely to help us in getting that content out to the masses.

Ben:                 There’s a million tools that can help you with this stuff. You learn something new every day. I’d never heard of BuzzSumo. I’m looking at it right now, and it gives you a Facebook engagement score, a number of Twitter shares, Pinterest, how many people are engaging on Reddit. And it’s sort of a total engagement score. Looks like a really useful tool.

Ben:                 Marlon, we mentioned earlier the various ways that you can syndicate content. BuzzSumo being an example of ways that you can use social media. Are there any other channels that you’ve heard of to be effective for content syndication that can have an impact on SEO?

Marlon:            Yeah, man. As I mentioned before, you being the podcast extraordinaire, I’m sure you’ve experimented with some more innovative and newer channels. So we’ve had great conversations about this, but I would like to toss that question back to you. What have you seen that we should be guiding our customers around?

Ben:                 Oh, you’re turning the tables on me. Well, let me think about this. When I’m thinking about content syndication, and I guess if the goal here is you’re trying to optimize a piece of content for SEO performance. What you want to avoid is sharing the content to audiences that are not going to be engaged, and so obviously there are a million different ways that you can get a piece of content out into the universe. You could throw it on a Facebook ad. You could buy content visibility. You can buy some engagement to some level. Twitter and all of the other advertising channels. You can use any sort of PPC channel and just buy an audience. Now the risk with that if you don’t actually know who you’re targeting is you might be reaching people that are not going to have great time on site that are likely to bounce.

Ben:                 So if you’re thinking about it from an SEO optimization standpoint, there’s risk when you’re going to paid channels, reaching audiences that you think are targeted but that you haven’t actually vetted. So if you’re just thinking about content syndication from a pure how do I drive more targeted visibility and engagement to this page so it goes up the rankings, I would probably suggest that you start with people that are the farthest down your funnel. If you have an email list, sending a piece of content through email to people that you know that are engaged. It’s something we do a lot here at Searchmetrics is when we have an important piece of podcast content, if we’re doing a weekly series like High Value Content Week or if Google announces an algorithm update we really want to share our thoughts with our community, we’ll send out a dedicated email to people that are the most likely to engage with the content, that stick on the page, that are going to make all of the metrics that we care about perform, to make the page perform and make all the metrics that we care about sparkle.

Ben:                 If you don’t have an email list that is sizable or you send a lot of emails and you don’t feel like it’s appropriate for you to send too many, there are other channels that you can reach out to. I always start with people that are farthest down in our funnel that already have access to. But I would also suggest if you don’t know them, start with other communities as opposed to just randomly targeting people that you think are going to be interested in your content through social media or performance marketing.

Marlon:            Sounds great, Ben. Quick question. Can I have an example to give a shared example of a community?

Ben:                 Yeah. I think that a good example of a community, if we’re taking SEO as an example, something that we probably should be doing here on The Voices of Search Podcast, we’re a relatively small team. So we haven’t got to this. But reaching out to the Reddit SEO community. There are other forums, there are other blogs and other podcasts. So engaging with them and trying to build relationships with the other content publishers that we feel like are very closely tied to some of the things that we’re doing. Quora, answering the questions that are specifically related to SEO, and you can build in some backlinking value there by sort of posting your pages and answering other people’s questions. So when I talk about community, it’s the people that are already creating content or engaging. Whether it’s in user generated communities, forums, other content producers, that’s probably the next best thing after you’ve reached out to the people that you already have relationships with, people that are sort of already within your walled garden, trying to expand to other communities.

Ben:                 And then if you really don’t have access to that or you don’t feel like you have credibility, you can’t build those relationships, that’s when I’m starting to think about performance marketing. I’m starting to reach out on Facebook and Twitter and some of the other channels where I’m buying the traffic. And again, I get a little hesitant, mostly for SEO trying to buy traffic because using the Facebook’s of the worlds and the Google’s of the world to try to advertise a piece of content, even the native networks, you really have to be honed in with your targeting. So I’m either going to take a like audience off of people that I know are going to convert, that would be my first goal, as opposed to just trying to put in a bunch of variables that I think are going to be relevant to the piece of content that I’m promoting. I’d rather use replicas of examples of people that I know have converted than try to guess what variables drove them to convert. Does that make sense?

Marlon:            That makes a ton of sense. To summarize what you said, it really comes down to sort of the same things that we look for when we are deciding to write content, depending on who our audience is, who our customers are, who are prospective or ideal prospective customers are, and not only writing content for those individuals. But reaching those folks who tend to gravitate towards where they look to learn.

Ben:                 Yeah. Absolutely. I think that you bring up a really important point that when you’re doing your user research, when you’re doing your keyword research, when you’re talking to your community, the learnings that you’re going to get by going through that process are not only going to help you develop your content, but it’s going to help you understand where it should be syndicated. This goes outside of just content optimization but more into a general marketing best practice. If you are regularly talking to your customers, they will not only tell you what to write, they will tell you where they want to consume the content. And so that’s a conversation that you can always ask. If you have a direct line of conversation with your customers, ask them what pieces of content, ask them how often they want to be emailed, what’s the format, where else do they look for SEO content.

Ben:                 So when we talk to people that are Searchmetrics’ leads and prospects, we ask them how do they want to consumer content around SEO, what are some of the places they look, and we have a pretty good understanding of not only the events they attend, some of the publications that they look at. And it’s one of the reasons why we started to build The Voices of Search Podcast was people felt like it was hard to find easily digestible content from SEO experts. The blog posts are very dense and very heavy or they’re not sophisticated enough, and that was one of the reasons why we started this podcast series is we went and we talked to some of our customers.

Marlon:            It’s really interesting, and one question that I sort of passed over earlier, Ben, is the risks, the risk of syndication. And it sounds to me as if by not doing this, cost of not doing this, this is where we drive folks to our content that may not have the best experience with our content, that may not see our content as relevant to them, which can impact our engagement metrics overall causing a higher bounce rates, higher exit rates, lower time on site, et cetera sending negative signals to Google.

Ben:                 Yeah. I think that’s a great point. There is risk when you’re doing content syndication that could have a negative impact on your content SEO performance, and performance marketing channels and email marketing channels, even things like webinars and middle of the funnel activity, white papers, those take times to cultivate as well. The same way that your content strategy does. You don’t launch one piece of content and then initially rank, and even though you can see value from performance marketing on day one, you pay $1, hopefully you get more than $1 back. But cultivating the audience and building the targeting so you can create the like audiences that give enough data to the Facebook’s and the Google’s of the world or whatever performance marketing channel you’re going to use, it takes time, it takes budget, it takes effort to build up those communities. So you might want to make sure that you have an audience that’s been cultivated that is efficient before you start promoting your really high value content. That’s a very important call out, Marlon.

Marlon:            Yeah.

Ben:                 Okay. Lots of things to think about. Content syndication is a medium that’s near and dear to my heart, moves a little away from SEO. But I think it’s important to remember that as you are working to create your content, you can also work with the rest of your marketing team to make sure your maximizing the value of your content.

Ben:                 So that wraps up this episode of The Voices of Search Podcast. Thanks for listening to my conversation with Marlon Glover, content team lead at Searchmetrics. We’d love to continue the conversation with you. So if you’re interested in contacting Marlon, you can find the link to his LinkedIn profile in our show notes. You can contact him on Twitter where his handle is Marlon_Glover. If you have general marketing questions or if you’d like to be a guest on this show, you can find my contact information in the show notes or you can send me a tweet @BenJShap, B-E-N-J-S-H-A-P. And if you’re interested in learning more about how to use search data to boost your organic traffic, online visibility, or to gain competitive insights, head over to Searchmetrics.com/freetrial for your test run of the Searchmetrics SEO and Content Experience platforms. If you like this podcast and you want a regular stream of SEO and content marketing insights in your podcast feed, hit the subscribe button in your podcast app and we’ll be back tomorrow morning to wrap up High Value Content Week by talking about content evaluation.

Ben:                 Okay. That’s it for today, but until next time, remember the answers are always in the data.