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.
- Your ActiveRain blog (activerain.com/blogs/arbob)
- Sub-domain blog (activebob.activerain.com)
- 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!