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Proof that content syndication works: Statistically significant SEO results

July 19, 2023 | By

There’s little debate in SEO that new inbound dofollow links drive positive organic outcomes, provided the links are quality and built legitimately. 

However, there’s skepticism over the value of links built using content syndication — republishing a story on pages with rel=canonical tags — to grow a domain’s SEO.

It’s one topic the SEO community can’t seem to agree on because there’s almost no data available.

Until now.

Stacker Studio ran a large series of statistical analyses on a large dataset (71 domains), and found growth to median, average, geometric means, and total values for all SEO outcome metrics. 

In other words, we effectively proved that our earned syndication model works.

Let’s dig into how we accomplished this.

How did we establish that content syndication works for SEO? 

To tackle the question of whether or not content syndication results in domain growth, we hired a third-party statistician and ran a large series of statistical tests to determine the impact of syndicated link-earning campaigns. 

At Stacker Studio, we create newsworthy stories on behalf of clients and distribute those stories to our newswire of 3,000+ publications. On average, each story earns 270 pickups, each of which coming with a canonical tag and dofollow link.

To see the full analysis, as well as interactive source data, please refer to the full case study. However, here we will summarize our methodology and the results of our exploration.

Our methodology was as comprehensive as possible

To conduct this study, we used all of the data that we’ve collected since the launch of Stacker Studio in 2021. This includes data from 71 Stacker clients since we first launched our Studio product, giving us a very large sample size for an SEO case study. Only clients with invalid data (div/0 errors due to mismatched pre/post timelines) were excluded from these results. 

Long and varied timeframes control for seasonality and algorithmic effects

Data was collected from each client’s start date, comparing their performance after partnering with Stacker Studio to their performance during an equivalent period before Stacker Studio partnership. These dates range over a period from 2021 to 2023, with clients’ data ranging from 100 days of partnership to more than 700 days of partnership. 

This data controls for seasonality and algorithmic effects, as we are comparing a wide range of date ranges with a varying range of start dates. 

Clients are compared against their own previous performance

To best ensure that we’re understanding changes to growth patterns, we’ve looked into raw value and rate-of-growth changes for equivalent periods of time before and after Stacker Studio partnership for each partner domain.

This gives us the clearest picture of how a domain’s performance is changing over time and allows us to see changes to the rate of growth, distinguishing new lift from pre-existing growth trends. 

We performed T-tests to confirm the statistical significance

In SEO, there are countless factors at play when it comes to achieving growth. While we couldn’t fully account for the initiatives our clients worked on internally during our partnership, we did run T-tests for this large sample size to prove out our impact.

What we found: Clients would have had less than a 1-in-500 chance of seeing this growth without Stacker’s impact.

Content syndication has provable SEO growth

Looking at performance before and after Studio partnership for our entire client book clearly shows lift after partnership, with median growth totals for all SEO outcome metrics strongly positive


Median Growth Totals (After working with Stacker Studio) (1)

To break these results down: 

Traffic and Traffic Value show statistically significant growth

Our clients' median organic traffic increased from 78,581 to an impressive 96,950 (p < 0.05) after implementing our earned syndication strategy. This +23% increase in organic traffic demonstrates the far-reaching impact earned syndication has on brands' online visibility. 

By earning coveted authority signals like canonicals and dofollow links from respected publications, brands significantly boost their search engine rankings, driving more traffic to their websites.

The median value of our clients' organic traffic grew from $78,684 to a whopping $130,080 (p < 0.05), showcasing the financial benefits of our approach. This +65% increase in organic traffic value illustrates the impact of earned syndication on the potential return on investment (ROI) for brands. 

Keyword rankings on Page 1 show statistically significant growth

The median number of keywords ranking in Positions 1-3 for our clients surged from 18,559 to 30,002 (p < 0.05), highlighting the effectiveness of earned syndication in driving search engine dominance. 

This +62% increase in top keyword rankings signifies that Stacker Studio brand partners are outperforming competitors in search engine results after adopting an earned syndication strategy. 

Our clients also experienced significant growth in keywords ranking in Positions 4-10, with a median increase from 30,333 to 52,259 (p < 0.05). This +72% increase in keyword rankings further solidifies the positive impact of earned syndication on brands' search engine performance. 

By having a wider array of keywords ranking in top positions, brands can expect to reach a larger and more diverse audience, further expanding their digital presence.

Strong proof for syndication’s efficacy

Not only did we identify growth outcomes, but the SEO growth was also shown to be statistically significant in all cases. These results are incredibly unlikely without Stacker Studio contributing to growth, with less than a one-in-500 chance of seeing this level of growth naturally (without Stacker Studio having had an impact).

To strengthen these claims, we have made all of our data publicly available in the full case study and encourage third-party review of our findings. 

Within the SEO industry, this depth and strength of data (statistically significant impact shown across 71 clients, across a timeframe spanning 2 years) is unheard of. 

We believe this to be an SEO industry first: statistical proof that an SEO product offering has positive impacts to clients’ downstream SEO results.