How Blog Post Syndication Works
During my time in developer relations, the topic of blog post syndication came up frequently. The question that drives syndication discussions is, "How do I get my post in front of more people?" While it's tempting to syndicate a blog post across multiple places, there's a way of doing this strategically without harming your SEO (search engine optimization).
In this short blog post, I'll explain what blog post syndication is and will provide a few tips for syndicating your content without messing up your SEO.
What is blog post syndication? Blog post syndication is essentially republishing blog content on another platform. Developers syndicate in order to increase the visibility of their content and to bring new visitors back to their blog. When you syndicate content, you first publish it in one platform (like your personal blog) and later republish the same content on a different platform (like dev.to). You can also syndicate video and audio content.
1. Publish the content on your personal blog first. Owning your content is absolutely critical; even if you publish across a number of platforms, you want to house your content on a blog that you own and operate. (For example, stephaniemorillo.co/blog is my personal blog and I keep smaller blogs on platforms including Medium and DEV community (dev.to).)
2. Don’t syndicate immediately. Wait for a period of time to pass before republishing. This will give you time to promote your post and attract more visitors to your site, which helps your search rankings. (There is no science to this: major announcements and time-sensitive posts can be republished within 24 hours, and other types of blog posts can be syndicated after at least two weeks have passed.) Syndication is also a good way to promote older “evergreen content”, or content that is always relevant.
3. Choose a platform to syndicate to that has higher “authority” or visibility than your own. Medium and dev.to are two viable choices for developers who want to get their content in front of a wider audience. The publication DZone also allows developers to syndicate content. (Note: Medium sometimes adds a metered paywall or gate in front of select content. If you don't want a paywall to appear in front of your story, read this article first.)
4. Add canonical link elements to your syndicated blog post. Canonical link elements tell search engines which version (original or syndicated) you want to be considered as the “canonical”, or “original” version. This is important because dev.to, Medium, and other channels have a lot of SEO authority. If someone finds your blog post on those sites, but never sees your original post, you lose out on SEO that will help you build your own SEO authority. Both Medium and dev.to have capabilities for adding canonical links to content (“Import a post” on Medium and canonical_url tag in dev.to posts). If you’re using a different platform, add the rel=canonical tag or ask the publisher to add it in for you. (Here's a guide to using canonical link elements.)
5. Provide a link to the original at the top or bottom of the syndicated post. It can be something like “This blog post was originally published on Stephanie’s awesome blog.” This is a great way of getting people who want to see more of your work back to your site!
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