What Is Web Syndication?

Web syndication is a marketing strategy for websites that equates to a right or license to broadcast or distribute content from one site to another. The most common example of web syndication describes a content licensing arrangement between two or more Internet companies in which one company provides content to be published and promoted on another company's website.

Key Takeaways

  • Web syndication is a marketing strategy that involves licensing the rights to broadcast or distribute content from one Internet site to another.
  • Web syndication is similar to television syndication that allows a network show to be broadcast on other channels.
  • Web syndication usually occurs between smaller, content producing sites, and larger websites that have a built-in audience.
  • Both the content providing site and the distributing site benefit from web syndication.
  • The content site increases its exposure and traffic while the distributing site is able to attract more users by providing more content.
  • Search engine optimization (SEO) is one of the benefits to web syndication that allows additional traffic to reach the content producing site due to the links and codes embedded in the files.
  • Content producing websites can also pay for syndication to have their material showcased in high traffic areas, such as Facebook or Instagram, or the top searches in Google and Yahoo.

Understanding Web Syndication

In general, web syndication is a free arrangement that is equally and mutually beneficial to both parties. For the website that provides the content, syndication increases their exposure and may provide considerably more traffic for very little to no cost. For the content syndicator, the practice can make their websites more attractive to users by providing more and more in-depth information.

This relationship is especially common between niche, lower-traffic, content-producing web sites, and larger websites that have a large, built-in audience but may not have the capability to create specialized, in-depth content.

Web syndication is the online version of content sharing that has been going on since the early days of print, radio, and television. For example, when a show originally aired it was produced by and shown on one network.

After the show's conclusion, the original network licensed it out, or syndicated, the show to another network for a fee. The one element that guides all syndication is the ability to access a larger audience for whatever content is being syndicated. 

Web Syndication and Link Building

Web syndication is a key tool in link building. With search engine optimization (SEO), the links embedded in a piece of syndicated content will drive traffic back to the originating website. In such a case, the additional web traffic that syndication can provide can help the content providing website improve its search results and overall site ranking in an Internet search.

Web syndication may allow the company providing the content to earn additional page views and exposure to its content and its website. The benefits for the site hosting the provided material are fresh content to appeal to consumers and therefore additional traffic. Web syndication may also be referred to as "content syndication."

Web Syndication and Paid Traffic

Sometimes a website may wish to pay for syndication to get their material placed in a specific location on a high-traffic site. The bigger the distributor's site, the bigger the fee usually is. Such distributors include Yahoo and Google, as well as social media services like Facebook and Twitter.

There are also content syndication networks that can help bloggers spread their content. These are often seen at the bottom of web pages as "related posts" or "similar articles from around the web" and include such providers as Outbrain, Nativo, Zemanta, and Taboola.

When a content producing site pays for traffic, this is usually noted on the platform. For example, on social media it may be noted with a comment stating "ad" or "sponsored" and similarly on search page results, the post or content might be at the top of the page noted with "sponsored ad."

The cost of paying for traffic is significantly less than the traditional cost of paying for advertising space on radio or television. For example, on Facebook or Instagram, it costs a few dollars to advertise content. This, however, is different from true web syndication that relies on licensing agreements.