I have to be honest, I haven’t really been following ActiveRain’s Outside blog service. Mainly because we have been so busy refining our own real estate blogging product called the SwiftBlog (based on WordPress). But a few of my real estate clients kept asking me to look into AR's outside blog so I took a few minutes to dig in a little more. Below is my initial assessment.
A Quick Message to the AR gods (a.k.a. Disclaimer)
The information below is from my quick assessment of AR’s Outside Blog. If I have anything wrong or didn’t interpret something correctly, feel free to chime in and set the record straight. The intention of this blog post is to help educate, not to slam your service.
The Duplicate Content Issue
From the moment that AR’s Outside blog was released, everyone had questions about the issue of duplicate content. Now, we already know that simply having a few syndicated articles on your blog isn’t going to condemn you to "Google hell" but unoriginal content isn’t going to do anything to help your Search Engine Optimization.
I thought Bob Stewart did a good job of clearing this issue up in his post about Outside Blogs and duplicate content. The only problem is I don't see that ActiveRain is actually doing what he said they were. Let’s break this down a little more.
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)
Great! The only problem is that I haven’t been able to find this "link" to the outside blog.
Let’s use one of Missy Caulk’s posts as an example…
Missy has an ActiveRain Outside Blog at http://www.annarborundressed.com. She recently wrote a post titled Declaring the Value of What you are Worth? I checked and didn’t see this article on Localism so I am assuming that it's not geo-targeted.
According to the quote above, there should be a link at the bottom of her post on AR pointing to her AR Outside Blog. However, when I visit her post on ActiveRain I do not see any link that references her AR Outside Blog. In fact, when I search for that post title in Google, I see ActiveRain as the top result not her AR Outside Blog. To make matters worse, the direct link to the article on Missy’s Outside Blog doesn’t even appear in Google!
Like I said at the beginning of this post, I have not extensively dug through all of AR’s post about Outside blogs. And perhaps I am just totally off base. But to me, it doesn’t look like AR’s Outside Blog has any authority. Combine that with the fact that you don’t have the option of posting only to your "AR Outside blog" and I have to ask - What’s the point of even having AR’s Outside Blog?
To Your Success,
**Update** I thought about this a little more and came up with what may be a workaround. You can actually write a post, send the post to your Outside Blog, then go in an immediately edit your post to include a link to your Outside Blog. Something as simple as "This article was originally posted on *Outside Blog Domain*" This may be enough to show Google that your Outside Blog should get the credit.