What should you do if a competitor’s site outranks yours for the same content? Find out if and why you should utilize the disavow tool. The Google disavow tool resembles a chainsaw. It’s perfect for clearing out major obstructions, as well as chopping down the occasional dead or troublesome tree.

However, if you try to make precise details with a chainsaw, you’ll almost certainly run into problems. The disavow tool is the same way. Google does not inform us which links are beneficial to our site or how much they are beneficial.

You run the danger of wiping off links that are genuinely helping you rank for specific keywords every time you utilize the disavow tool. A chainsaw, on the other hand, is required if you can see that you have a complete forest of dead trees. The same is true if your site has a slew of clearly poisonous connections pointing at it.

In numerous cases, an overzealous SEO expert has harmed their rankings by disavowing questionable links that were generating value in Google’s eyes.

Google has a better understanding of the links heading to your site than you have, and if a link is questionable, it usually isn’t counted. However, they do occasionally count links, and disavowing them is similar to removing the trunk of a healthy tree rather than pruning harmful branches.

What is content syndication, exactly?

When a third-party website republishes web-based content, this is known as content syndication. Blog entries, articles, infographics, videos, and other types of digital content can all be syndicated. 

Consider it a sort of barter arrangement. Free, relevant content is provided to the third-party website. The content provider receives free exposure and attention, as well as backlinks to their website, resulting in increased organic traffic.

Should You Disavow Content Syndicated Backlinks That Steal Important Rankings?
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The practice of syndication in the media is not new. Syndicated content from smaller publications and freelance writers was sometimes printed in newspapers and magazines with large circulation and readership before the internet. 

Both parties benefited. The little player gained access to a much larger audience and, presumably, some notoriety; the large magazine gained access to more content without having to invest resources in its creation.

What role does content syndication have in SEO?

Syndicated material is content that has been duplicated. And this can hurt your SEO. Google dislikes several copies of the same material when it comes to SEO rankings. It will only index one, and it is more likely to select the version that is found on a larger, more popular website. That would be a third-party website for the ordinary content developer.

It’s pointless to acquire exposure through content syndication only to lose it in the form of lower organic traffic to your website. There’s no need to panic; by ensuring that your syndicated content is properly indexed on both your site and your syndication partner’s site, you can make it SEO-friendly.

How to Determine whether Syndicated Content Affects Your SEO

If you’re worried that content you’ve syndicated on other sites is outranking your own, you can use the Rank Tracker to keep track of rankings on both sites and determine who’s winning.

Should You Disavow Content Syndicated Backlinks That Steal Important Rankings?
  • Begin by going to “Domains” > “Add Domain” and enter the URL for the original blog post.
  • We’re going to use the URL of the original blog post for this domain.
  • We’ll create a new group for monitoring syndicated content under “Group Name.”
  • To save your changes, click “Track Domain(s),” then enter any keywords you want to target with that post.
  • Finally, click “Add Keywords” to begin tracking rankings for the keywords associated with that URL.
  • Then, using the URL of the syndicated piece, repeat the process.

When you’re done, go to your dashboard and look for both posts under your new syndicated content group, then click the sync icon to sync domain rankings. You’ll be able to compare rankings for all of the keywords you’re tracking on both sites.

Disavow vs. Canonicalization

We must make a few assumptions to address the question specifically. Assuming that the target site has a higher rating than the source of the syndicated content.

Should You Disavow Content Syndicated Backlinks That Steal Important Rankings?

Assuming, of course, that the site hosting the syndicated content has permission to publish the item in question. In this example, the solution is rather straightforward. When content is syndicated, Google wants to rank the original content.

You should demand that the site in question use a canonical tag on all content syndicated from your site if you have the power to do so. Especially if the site in question outranks your material. It would not be proper to disavow links from a site that is republishing your original material unless the site was toxic and was causing you to lose ranks.

The Reason for Disavow

Again, the disavow tool should not be taken lightly. Only utilize the disavow tool if you know you have shady connections pointing at your site. The disavow tool was created to combat negative SEO.

Negative SEO does exist, albeit truly negative SEO situations are few. We’ve had a slew of leads come to us with suspicions of negative SEO.

Only a few incidents of true negative SEO have been discovered, and even fewer cases of attempted negative SEO that has resulted in site damage. It does, however, happen. When this happens, the disavow tool becomes a must-have for recovery.

Frequently Asked Questions

The Bottom Line

The disavow tool is also frequently employed by sites that have engaged in questionable link building in the past and want to modify their ways. In reality, when submitting a reconsideration request to Google to try to get out of a manual penalty, you almost always have to use the disavow tool.

The disavow function, on the other hand, isn’t designed to prevent your competitors from ranking for your syndicated material. Other techniques, like canonicalization and link building in general, are far more effective in outranking your competitors.