FAQ on Guest Blogging, Duplicate Content, & Syndication

Is Written a “Guest Blogging” / “Guest Posting” Platform?

“Guest blogging” as it has recently come to be defined– as a link building strategy– is not what Written offers.  Written offers content licensing for bloggers, which is no more of a guest post than hiring a freelance copywriter or becoming a contributor to Forbes or Wired.

Guest-blogging-as-a-link-building-strategy is generally initiated by the “guest writer” (usually an SEO professional) who approaches a reputable publisher and offers to produce a new article with the intention of seeding it with one or more links.  With guest blogging as-a-link-building-strategy, the content may or may not be of interest to readers, but its primary value to the “author” is the links they hope to receive.

Written is the inverse.  We help brands contact a blogger who has already created an article on their own blog and we secure the right to republish it (with payment, attribution, appropriate author/canonical markup, etc.).  The key differences are that the articles Written seeks already exist, do not give their authors followed links, and have already proven useful to users.

Didn’t Google Say that Guest Posts Are Bad?

Google’s Matt Cutts wrote, “If you’re using guest blogging as a way to gain links… you should probably stop,” (emphasis added). The key aspect is links.  No links, no problem.

Google objects to the inclusion of links within guest posts because links are not earned via the publisher’s independent editorial discretion.  The inducement of free content, and even pay-for-placement, is the primary motivation for a publisher to accept an unsolicited guest post containing followed links.  This violates Google’s long-standing Webmaster Guideline against tactics designed to create a “link scheme.”

Written is different because …

a) Brands (who are acting as publishers) are approaching bloggers to recruit them – not the other way around;

b) Publishers are paying the writer to use their content, not the other way around;

c) If the author has embedded links within their article to other pages on their site, Written automatically adds a rel=”nofollow” to those links when the post appears on the brand’s page.

Wait, Doesn’t This Create Duplicate Content?

No. Written fixes duplicate content.

With our Content & Traffic license, Written redirects traffic to initiate and terminate the license, ensuring that search engines and people can always find the current, correct URL for an article, regardless of which website is using it at the time.  We use a 302 redirect for short-term licenses and a 301 for permanent licenses.  We have not sold ony short-term licenses to brands yet, but our plugin has recently added support for this functionality.

With our SafeSyndication™ license, Written places a rel=”canonical” tag on the brand’s instance of the article, which tells search engines where to find the original article. Google uses this tag to ensure that the brand’s licensed copy is never indexed by Google and thus can never outrank the original author.  Moreover, full attribution is given for each post to ensure that readers can find the original author.

Unfortunately, many publishers have executed syndication deals in the past that have harmed bloggers by not using appropriate rel=”canonical” tags, causing the publisher’s site to outrank the original blogger’s.  Written’s platform protects bloggers from these problems.

Our monitoring systems enforce these rules and through our legal and contractual relationships with brands, we have the teeth to ensure they do right by our bloggers.

Will Syndicating My Content Hurt My Traffic?

No, because Written manages the rel=”canonical” tags and attribution that appear on copies of any syndicated posts, and we monitor brands for compliance.

However, syndicating without the protections that Written provides could very well harm your site.

I’m a Blogger, Will Accepting a Content & Traffic License Hurt My Traffic?

With a Content & Traffic License, you will only lose the traffic that results from redirecting the visitors to the specific articles you license for the period of the license. At the end of the license, the brand redirects any traffic they’re receiving for the article back to you, and we ensure they continue to do this for a minimum of 90 days.

Of course, our aim is for you to earn more—potentially a lot more–  from licensing your content than from  housing it on your site.

How Might Written Help My AuthorRank?

Written enables you to become a contributor on well-known brands’ websites. We take care of the technical details of adding the appropriate rel=”author” tags to your licensed articles.

By securing contributor status on trusted brands, by including the necessary attribution tags, and by adding the websites you contribute to within your Google Plus profile, you send a signal to Google that you’re associated with high quality brands, which Google may then use to increase the rankings of all of your content, not just the content the you’ve licensed.

Why Does AuthorRank Help My Traffic?

AuthorRank signals your association with trusted brands, and as of March, 2014, Google has indicated they use this signal in ranking articles.

Let’s say a relatively new blogger produces a dozen articles about a topic they know well. Then, a brand decides they would like to license this content.  By using Written, the blogger becomes associated with the established brand as a contributor. Now, the blogger’s licensed post may increase in ranking along with her other 11 posts because they are all connected to the author’s AuthorRank via her Google Plus profile.