A component of any well developed law firm internet strategy should include the production and syndication of practice specific, professionally written content. Posting content directly to your website or blog should serve as the foundation of your strategy. However, taking advantage of syndication networks such as JD Supra, Avvo, or ExpertHub can get your content in front of a bigger, more widely read audience. This can be beneficial in driving more traffic to your site, building a larger blog readership, exposure for the firm and attorneys, and increased phone calls.
That being said, it’s important to understand what steps to take when syndicating your content so that the search engines know you are the original creator of the articles. Ignoring these steps can result in sites you’ve syndicated your content to outranking your original articles. While these steps aren’t guaranteed to be foolproof, it will help to ensure you aren’t sending mixed signals to the search engines.
1. Your Syndicated Content Should Link Back To Your Original Article
If a search engine finds multiple instances of content that are the same it considers all but one of the articles to be duplicate content. When the article you post on another website links back to the original article on your site, it helps the search engines determine the source of the original. Make sure the link is pointing to the original article page and not just any page on your website.
2. Wait To Syndicate Content Until The Search Engines Have Found Your Original
Once a search engine finds and indexes your original article it should time stamp the article and establish it as the original. In order to find out if the article has been indexed by Google, you can perform a search for the full url of your article. While this doesn’t always guarantee your article will continue to outperform the syndicated one, it helps to ensure you are sending the right signals.
3. Avoid Syndicating The Entire Article If Possible
Provide a snippet, or couple of paragraphs of the article with a link back to the original. This way you can enjoy the increased exposure of the article on the syndication network and still drive visitors back to your site. This will also help avoid duplication of the entire piece of content.
4. Have The Syndication Partner “noindex” Your Syndicated Article
The noindex html tag tells Google not to index a specific web page. In this situation, your content will benefit from the exposure of the syndication site without hurting your own search engine visibility. The downside is that you have little to no control over whether a syndication partner will noindex a page. Most probably will not, however if this option is available or can be negotiated than it could be worthwhile.