Being protective of your content is a natural trait of every blogger.
After all, your content is your brain child.
It started as a mere idea.
You put that idea into words.
You gave it your personality.
And then you released it onto the world.
To be fruitful and multiply.
So far, so good, right?
But what happens when your content starts to bring in readers to another site rather than yours?
As in “another site outranks your original content in Google search“?
Search Engine Ranking Loss: The Premise
She also emailed me the following screenshot to show what she meant:
And so the battle for the top search engine ranking begins:
Why let another site steal your search engine ranking?
Let’s begin with making some assumptions.
Search Engine Ranking Assumptions
1. If we syndicate our content on a site that surpasses our own in authority, chances are they’ll outrank us.
2. They’ll get the lion’s share of search engine traffic because of that higher search engine ranking.
3. We could’ve ranked our blog post for that same keyword without syndicating our post to other sites and getting those backlinks.
4. Thus, we shouldn’t put ourselves in a position where we have to compete against our own syndicated content.
If some of this doesn’t make sense, I hope we’ll be on the same page by the end of the post.
Side note: this post is a continuation of a discussion started here:
The Thought Process
Why do we use other sites to market our business, content, brand to begin with?
After all, it’s unrealistic to expect to draw in any significant amount of traffic without any help from third-party websites, like YouTube, Slideshare, EzineArticles, Squidoo, Scribd, or extensive guest blogging, or even working our rears off building presence on social media sites.
That’s the whole idea behind maximizing your existing content by repurposing it and allowing it to build natural links and traffic.
You can learn more about it in this post:
- You take one piece of content (like a blog post);
- turn it into a PDF, a video, a Slideshare deck, a mindmap, an image library, etc.
- submit it to various third-party platforms;
- get quality links and traffic back to your original piece.
And that’s when we run the risk of being outperformed by our own syndicated content – in this particular case, getting a lower search engine ranking.
But is it really that risky?
1. My current search engine ranking
It’s been a couple of weeks since I published my original blog post and the Slideshare PDF Ileane was referring to.
You can see both at the following links (no worries, they’ll open in new tabs):
And the PDF version of that same post on Slideshare:
As of the writing of this post, my search engine ranking of the original post has improved:
2. Higher search engine ranking: the chicken or the egg?
Yes, Slideshare has more overall domain authority than Traffic Generation Cafe.
As much as it pains me to admit that many sites are more powerful and authoritative than mine, it’s true.
Then the question is this: since Slideshare (a more authoritative site) is linking to my original blog post, thus giving me a quality backlink, might that be the reason my blog post has a high search engine ranking for that keyword to begin with?
In other words, would I have ranked as highly without that link from Slideshare?
I’ve tracked down a few other posts of mine that were syndicated on Slideshare (i.e. either I made a presentation based on the content or converted the original post into a PDF and submitted it to Slideshare).
The results are “win some, lose some”.
Search Engine Ranking Example 1:
Keyword: “get more facebook fans” – fairly competitive
10 Killer Tips on How to Get More Facebook Fans blog post vs
How to Get Facebook Fans: 10 Outside-the Box Ways to Do It Slideshare presentation
Side note: you might’ve noticed that the Slideshare presentation title appearing in the search results is slightly different from what I mentioned above.
If curious why, read this post where I talked about my shenanigans with MGM studios.
Search Engine Ranking Example 2:
A slightly less competitive variation of the previous keyword “HOW TO get more facebook fans” and yet the results are switched:
So, as you can see, it’s hard to know when or why an original blog post might get higher search engine ranking over syndicated content or vice versa.
3. Does higher search engine ranking yield more traffic?
So in those cases when my Slideshare deck was ranked above my blog post, do I really miss out on the traffic?
I don’t think so.
For three reasons:
1. My blog posts simply look better in the search engine results.
Which one would you be more likely to click on?
Personally, with the author’s picture, social proof (Google+ circles), etc, I’d definitely click on the blog post vs the Slideshare result.
So simply getting a higher search engine ranking for a particular keyword doesn’t automatically mean more search engine traffic.
2. Slideshare brings me a lot of traffic.
If someone lands on one of my Slideshare presentations as a result of a Google search, chances are they’ll follow me to Traffic Generation Cafe.
Just look at my referral traffic for the past month: Slideshare sits very comfortably right below Facebook.
3. I gain more credibility.
Search engine rankings for my own blog are great, no question about it.
However, creating a network of excellent content throughout the web is priceless.
“Being everywhere” definitely increases your expertise, authority, and ultimately, builds up your brand and your site.
Search Engine Ranking: Loss or Gain?
In the end, I still feel like a winner when one of my “repurposed” pieces of content ends up ranking highly on Google, even if it outranks my original post.
- Either way, my brand gets visibility.
- Either way, I get traffic.
- I build quality backlinks to my blog, as well as individual posts.
- Those links help me build long-term domain authority.
- My increasing domain authority will help me to get better search engine rankings for my original content in the future.
- Realistically, my original post might not rank at all without the supportive links from syndicated content.
However, I do think I could make one important tweak to make my content leverage system work even better.
Ileane was right: it might be better to wait a week or two before syndicating your content.
That will ensure that Google gets around to doing its job of identifying YOU as the original content source.
Not sure if you noticed this little detail in one of the screenshots above:
Even though the Slideshare PDF was uploaded a day or two after my original post was published, Google still thinks that the PDF was a few days older, thus might be THE original content.
Well, I know what my marketing takeaway is from this extensive research into search engine rankings: all rankings of YOUR content lead to YOU.
And that just can’t be bad.
What about you though?
Will these results discourage you from repurposing your content?
Let me know in comments!