I read a couple of days ago an interesting post by Bill Hartzer regarding the time it takes for link attribution to take effect on an almost dead website, that receives a high pagerank inbound link.
This is also something that affects bloggers who syndicate their content, and anyone undertaking article marketing.
Article or blog post titles are effectively “new terms” to the search engines, in a very similar way to the names of hot new products, for instance “Day Job Killer“.
What normally happens for a specific new term is that the top of the Google search results are in a constant state of flux, with newly discovered information on more trusted domains garnering the top spots.
Thus if you publish a blog post, and it gets syndicated, quoted by others, appears on a social bookmarking site, etc, then there is a high chance that a few days after you published, even for a specific title, you will be nowhere in sight in the search results unless your own website has enough authority to retain a spot near the top, or gets indexed quickly.
For your original title to bubble to the top, the search engines generally need some help, and you can help your content do this:-
- On your own site by ensuring your content doesn’t get buried in your archives. 2 clicks from the front page is good, 3 clicks is pretty much the limit
- Within the syndicated content by ensuring that the syndicated content has a link back to your original content
- Gaining deep links from other websites to your content – I am not going to write a guide on linkbaiting
Chicken and Egg Situation
Very much like I described with the Wikipedia Nofollow situation, and correct attribution, if you don’t have links back to your original content from what is syndicated, or if other websites write about what you discovered, and don’t link back to you as a source, there is no path for the search engines to follow.
Even if you do have links back to you, that doesn’t mean that a few hours, or even a few days after you publish the story, that you will rank highly as being the original source, unless you have a huge amount of authority, or an insane amount of links coming in from authority sources. In fact the last bit is speculation – there might be a certain threshold of links that can tip the balance earlier than the 5 days from Bill Hartzer’s experiment.
Blog Syndication Example
A few days ago I had an exclusive story regarding coComment Technorati integration. I had all the details because I was involved with the original suggestion, and it is so powerful, as I am sure the people whose blogs I comment at must be realising, that it will eventually become a huge benefit to a lot of people.
I thought the story was good enough to spend some time with presentation, lots of screenshots and even adding a few financial details at the end to please technology bloggers.
I then dropped an email to Pete Cashmore at Mashable, because I knew he had covered coComment in the past, and always attributes the original source. It also wasn’t the first time I had contact with him, because I once pipped him on an upgrade to Pageflakes by a few minutes, he left a friendly comment, so I knew he was approachable.
Pete included a post about coComment later in the day.
So lets take a look at the search results for “cocomment technorati” after a couple of days.
Some notes in addition to the dialogue I have in the screenshot:-
- Whilst Mashable didn’t break the story, they currently have much more authority than me, and it is also likely that the search engines discovered the story on their site first.
- The Money Blogs probably has a similar authority to my own, but might have the edge on age of the domain, as I have only been up and running for 3 months here (though the 2 redirects I have from old sites might also give some age authority)
- The first mention of Paul’s original post in the Google SERPs is on the 3rd page – it just happens to be one of his tag pages ;)
- I have written about the Rojo Splog situation in the past.
I don’t expect that particular result to bubble up above Mashable, although changing the title of the page, and tweaking a few more things here will certainly help. Lots of links to it will probably help as well but that is never something you can count on but are always appreciated.
Article Syndication Examples
In my fairly recent post describing my article marketing tactics, and how mass distribution of articles still works, I highlighted an article and how it currently appears in the search results. A couple of weeks later things have moved around a fair bit in Google.
In some ways as I mentioned in my article marketing post, I didn’t do things correctly with that article, as I didn’t have a link back to the source. It took a while for the article to bubble to the top, and to be honest I am surprised it did, and it is mainly because of the emphasis I place on distributing my google juice within my site with links to older content, and my extensive use of tagging.
I recently wrote a second article to act as an introduction to article marketing, and in a way to dispel some of the FUD I read frequently about spinning articles for better backlinks from “unique” content. In many ways spinning multiple versions of an article can be harmful, because then you are syndicating unique variations of the original, and you need a link back to your original to have any chance of bubbling to the top.
You will notice that after a couple of weeks it is securely holding top spot. Part of the reason is the more content I build around a single subject, the more it reinforces itself with the deep linking I use in the posts, and with my tagging.
Also of huge importance is that I linked back to where the article was posted on my blog from the author credits, thus helping the search engines to quickly work out the origin.
One thing I don’t do as well as I possibly could is titles – I think too much like an SEO rather than a marketer at times, but that might work against me. The more people read an article, the higher chance for distribution, and the more chance I will gain additional reader of a particular post here on my blog, and again get links and comments. Hopefully Michel Fortin is going to class that article worthy of a headline makeover after his generous recent offer.
Alex, a new reader actually proved my article marketing strategy much better than I ever could. The owner of an article directory is a very good target audience for a lot of people, and there are thousands of people running article directories, or feeding articles to blogs. They read articles, and often visit the sites of the authors.
Alex proved that today by visiting here, and commenting:-
Absolutely agree that articles are seeds of knowledge. I run my own article directory and during the process of approving new articles often catch myself in deep reading of different subjects that in other way I would never look for.
Thanks for your good site.
There was recently quite a lot of discussion within the Bumpzee community regarding followable links from the syndicated content. Mark wanted his content to rank on his blog, there was a long discussion on Vlads blog, and Dane picked it up in a discussion on Bupzee.
This post in part is intended to demonstrate how syndication can work. The search engines do eventually work things out. Syndication mostly doesn’t hurt how your content ranks long-term, as long as you have a link back to the source.
If you don’t have a link back to the source, it takes much longer for your content to bubble to the top, and it will only do that if your archives have more juice than the archives on the syndication site.
If you have a brand new site, and a PR10 site links to you and somehow ranks for your domain name for the next 6 months, be glad, because whilst you might be losing out on your domain name, you are also benefiting overall. To counteract that, if a few other sites also link to you, the search engines will work things out much faster.
In addition, on syndication sites content normally gets buried very fast, in the same way as content can get buried quickly on poorly optimized blogs.