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Duplicate Content and Outside Blogs

Services for Real Estate Pros with ActiveRain

If you don't care to read about all the technical details below, just set up your Outside Blog on a custom domain (ie, jonwashburn.com), not just a sub-domain (jon.activerain.com) and trust us that it's going to kick SEO butt. For those of you who like first hand info, here you go.

In case you haven't heard, we launched outside blogs yesterday, June 25th, 2008. We are really excited to have a platform that our members can utilize to seamlessly syndicate their content across multiple domains, allows for individual branding and at the same time exposes their content to high volumes of traffic. A common question surrounding the release of Outside Blogs centers on the issue of duplicate content, how the search engines handle duplicate content (specifically Google), and how we will structure both your ActiveRain blogs and your outside blogs to provide you the most exposure.

First, let's clear up a little bit of terminology. There are four seperate places that your blog post can show up.

  1. Your ActiveRain blog (activerain.com/blogs/arbob)
  2. Localism
  3. Sub-domain blog (activebob.activerain.com)
  4. Outside Blog (jonwashburn.com)

This part is VERY IMPORTANT and will take care of duplicate content for one of the four. We will be adding no-index tags to all sub-domain blogs. Considering the SEO power of ActiveRain.com, sub-domains will not perform as well as your primary domain for the purposes of search engine placement. With that in mind, it makes little sense to have the content showing up on a sub-domain (i.e., activebob.activerain.com) and have the sub-domain indexed, rather than the content be indexed on the primary domain (activerain.com/arbob). Therefore, the primary purpose of a sub-domain will be strictly for offline branding. But in all cases, a custom, member-owned domain will serve that purpose even better. As such, we really encourage our members to invest the $8 to get your own custom domain set up.

Now we are left with three places that your blog post will show up. There is lots of information about how google handles duplicate content and what it will look at to determine what will show up in the search results. As it relates to what will be happening on ActiveRain/Localism/Outside Blogs we want to look at what Google identifies as the originating source. Here is an excerpt from the Google Webmaster Blog from June 9th of 2008:

In cases when you are syndicating your content but also want to make sure your site is identified as the original source,it's useful to ask your syndication partners to include a link back to your original content.

(There is also a great article written by Vanessa Fox, formerly of Google, about ranking as the original source for content you syndicate.)

We can tell Google what the originating source is. What do you want to be the originating source and what do you want Google to index? It will be up to you. Here is how it will work:

Originating Source is:

ActiveRain: If you don't syndicate your post to your outside blog, and you don't geo-target it so that it shows up on Localism, ActiveRain will get credit as the originating source, because the post won't show up anywhere else.

Outside Blog: If you syndicate your post to your outside blog and you do not geo-target it, your outside blog will show up as the originating source. (since the post is not geo-targeted, it will not appear on Localism). Your syndication partner (your ActiveRain blog) will have a link back to your original content (outside blog)

Localism: If you Geo-tag your post, Localism will be credited as the original source; your ActiveRain blog and your outside blog will link back to the post on Localism, indicating to Google that Localism is the original source. (If you've made it this far, you're probably wondering why the heck you would want the current version of Localism as your original source. If you can keep a secret...the new Localism might be coming out the second week in July...but I'll deny it if you tell anyone)

You control it!


Posted by

Bob Stewart
ActiveRain Ambassador


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Linda Mae Croom
Topock, AZ
(928) 768-3040

Great info. As a Newbie this is all new to me but I will keep reading and rereading your blog posts until I "get it". Thank you for sharing your wealth of knowledge with us 'less fortunate's.

Aug 03, 2008 08:01 AM
Debra Kukulski, Broker Associate
RE/MAX Suburban - Cary, IL
SRES;SFR,CDPE;GRI;ABR;e-PRO Realtor, Northern IL

OK...came back and have my outside blog all set up....with the help of Brad!  Thanks so much for this post.

Sep 14, 2008 04:26 AM

I'm not a techie.  I set up my outside blog by trial and error and it seems to work.  I have my blog on localism, my outside blog, my website and active rain and don't ask me how I did it.  I haven't the foggiest.  Thanks for the info. 

Oct 02, 2008 09:44 AM
Rosalinda Morgan
Brookville, NY
"The Rose Lady"

I forgot to log in.  That's me.

Oct 02, 2008 09:47 AM
Ken Asher
Cherry Creek Properties (719) 930-7817 - Colorado Springs, CO

Hey just a quick question should you submit your Ouside Blog to Google, yahoo and so on?




Oct 23, 2008 07:03 AM
Don Fabrizio-Garcia
Fab Real Estate - Danbury, CT
Owner/Broker/Trainer - Fab Real Estate

Do we know why Google Alerts only picks up the inside-AR blog and not the outside blogs?  Is this something that will be fixed?  Right now, it seems Google is only seeing the AR blog and not the outside blogs.

Oct 23, 2008 07:41 AM
Craig & Sue Guffin
Coldwell Banker Monsees Realty - Sedalia, MO
Sedalia Mo Real Estate

Very good info... but daaaaaaaannnng. I will have to hire a techie to blog for me. Or hire an agent to sell for me. Maybe I can find a happy medium and work it all out. Probably----moving on.

Dec 25, 2008 11:47 AM
Eileen Begley
Coldwell Banker, DelMonte - Carmel, CA
Monterey Real Estate

Good post and explanation as to who's on first, second and third! Thanks for the good details.

Dec 27, 2008 03:37 PM
Rebecca Gaujot, Realtor®
Lewisburg, WV
Lewisburg WV, the go to agent for all real estate

Thanks, you have answered a lot of my questions in this writing.

Jan 14, 2009 12:37 PM
JB Brookman
JB Brookman Photography - Franklin, TN
High School Senior Portrait Photographer

Love, love, love the information!  Very helpful- thank you!

Jan 29, 2009 06:38 PM
Sharon Alters
Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty - 904-673-2308 - Fleming Island, FL
Realtor - Homes for Sale Fleming Island FL

Bob, Brad directed me over here to read about duplicate content and I think Justin's comment sums up the whole issue of whether or not to do duplicate content pretty succinctly:

There is an extremely simple way to tell Google who the original author is... simply create links from the syndicated version to the original.  Matt Cutts has talked about this a million times.  And SEO's have syndicated articles for years to create links and extra entry points to a site.

Google doesn't care if you syndicate, they just don't like it when they can't figure out who the original author is...  That's the whole issue.  Make it simple for them and create the link.

06/27/2008 09:59 AM by Justin Smith - Blogging Coach {Blogging, SEO, SEM, SMO} (Real Estate Tomato)

Jan 30, 2009 03:56 AM
Morgan Evans
Douglas Elliman Real Estate - Manhattan, NY

That is super-informational, I'm setting up an outside blog in the next week and will be setting up shop reading as many blogs as possible this week.

Feb 01, 2009 10:51 PM
Cathy Valdiviez Baumbusch
eXp Realty - Springfield, VA
I'm Cathy. Agent Cathy.

HELP! I went to upgrade my blog to the $19.95/mo. outside blog, but now I have two blogs, one with all my content in it and the link still says (Upgrade) and another blog that has no content in it. How do I get rid of the one I just created and upgrade the original?? Help!

Mar 19, 2009 03:46 PM
Ron Wysocarski
Wyse Home Team Realty - Port Orange, FL
CEO, Pricing Specialist

I like getting new tips, but I am a good distanjce away on the learning curve to use some of this.

Ay least I can refer back from time to time. So much to learn...

Jun 22, 2009 12:06 PM
Mary Yonkers
Alan Kells School of Real Estate/Howard Hanna Real Estate - Erie, PA
Erie/PA Real Estate Instructor

Bob--I am trying to figure out the mystery of Outside Blogs.  I sent a question to the help desk.

Aug 20, 2009 10:26 AM
George Fanucci
CoreFact.com - Los Altos, CA
Internet - Technology - Business - Solutions

Bob, This is very good info.  Has anything of importance changed since 2009? 

Feb 12, 2012 09:26 PM
Susan Zanzonico
Berkshire Hathaway Home Services - Morristown, NJ
Sellers/Buyers Agent, Morristown NJ Real Estate

This is alot of info and informative, but I also have to say I like alot of others have had problems getting things to work smoothly.  I will read more and keep trying as it certainly sounds like the SEO benefits are worth it in the end.

Feb 20, 2012 11:03 PM
Elizabeth Bouchard
Samson Properties - Arlington, VA
Associate Broker in Northern Virginia, DC and MD

Since localism no longer exists I am a little confused as to whether I should be posting hyper local blogs on Active Rain or my outside blog and how to link to the outside blog if I go that route.  I will try to ask support.

Oct 11, 2013 07:51 AM
Elva Branson-Lee
Solid Source Realty GA - Atlanta, GA
CDPE - Atlanta Real Estate & Short Sale Agent

I guess I am just dense, but I'm not gettin this. Bob, perhaps you could do a training on the purpose and potential of the outside blog.

Nov 03, 2013 08:38 AM
Elva Branson-Lee
Solid Source Realty GA - Atlanta, GA
CDPE - Atlanta Real Estate & Short Sale Agent

One long, complicated blog post and 148 comments and questions prior to mine, and it's still confusing. Hope there will be a training or an update post. This one is pretty old, I guess there have been some changes since then.

Nov 04, 2013 04:38 AM