Exclusive: Share A Post Beta – Blog Post Syndication

Share A Post - Content SyndicationI was honestly wondering when someone would come up with a service like Share-A-Post, because it is one of those “no brainer” ideas that I have thought of doing, but never got around to.

When to a huge amount of disbelief I blocked some of my high ranking paid reviews with robots.txt, and hinted that syndication would be a perfect loophole in Google’s penalties, no one fully understood what I meant – many SEO experts thought I was bonkers.

This is what I meant – widespread syndication with editorial control

The Limits of Traditional Article Marketing

Article marketing is all well and good, but is extremely limited

  • You can only use a fixed number of links in a post
  • Article directories are quite inflexible over affiliate links even if you have created
  • HTML formatting is frowned upon because the articles are often intended for email use
  • You can’t use pictures
  • Most of the articles end up on very low value sites that have no readers
  • Whilst they often use categories, tag support is limited

Jonathan Ledger has come up with what at first glance seems to be the perfect service for submission and syndication of quality blog articles.

Article Submission

  • You sign up and add your blog – If you are smart, you will create a new user on your blog with username and password with low level privileges – don’t enter your admin username and password – I trust Jonathan, but even large websites get hacked, why take the risk?
  • You make sure your blog is posting full content feeds
  • You add an entry to your ping list, so that when you update your blog, your article is automatically added to Share-A-Post
  • You use Technorati tags as normal, though only the first 5 will be used – that avoids tag spam
  • You can add multiple blogs

RSS Article Syndication

When you are short of content for one of your blogs, you can visit Share A Post, search for an appropriate article, and have it posted either as a draft or published article directly to one of your blogs.

The service uses XML-RPC to connect automatically, just like popular blogging software such as Microsoft Windows Live Writer, but that does require a username and password – hence why I suggested precautions when setting up.

The other advantage is that when you are posting a guest article on your blog, because it is posted as a different user, it can be given different emphasis, maybe a different symbol etc.

Duplicate Content

Lots of people will be worried about duplicate content due to syndication

Syndication is a good thing, and Google does a fairly good job of determining the original author, and the link that is being given back to your post will help – it even has good anchor text – at least I think a link is given back to the permalink – to be sure, you should probably use an RSS footer plugin, and maybe even create a smart looking author byline for each article that includes a link.

If you want some assurance that is a good thing, one of the most authoritative I can think of is Vanessa Fox, who until recently was working for Google on Webmaster Central at SEO and Webmaster conferences. If the “book” we follow are Google’s webmaster guidelines… guess what? She helped write it!

Recently on her personal blog she wrote a great article on how to rank as the original source for content you syndicate

With Jonathan’s system you are not going to be able to ensure that content gets blocked with Robots.txt, and that has a negative aspect as well, because the links wouldn’t count… you do want links don’t you?
You are also not going to be able to ensure a different version of your article is published, unless you somehow specify in a license that your articles can be modified, such as a Creative Commons License that allows derivative and Commercial use or better.

Hopefully you will always get a link, but just like with article marketing, that can never be guaranteed

You will find situations if you have a new blog with not much authority that Google makes mistakes – that will most often be when a high authority blog picks up your article.

In a situation like that… just be happy, you will get great links, and your content will be exposed to 100s, or 1000s of new readers, and if enough blogs pick the article up, you will get more authority quicker from all the links, and hopefully lots of traffic and new subscribers.

Proof-reading

Just like article marketing, you are going to have to use just a little bit more care before you post, as any errors you make might not be fixable if your articles get syndicated.

Hopefully anyone syndicating an article will check back with the original blog to ensure the article is up-to-date, and I suggest they do that anyway, as you want to always ensure you are promoting content from what is a reputable blog that is well established.

Competitors?

It is so obvious… but none really

  • Well ok, I know Stompernet has some kind of content syndication network
  • I know Jack Humphrey used to syndicate his clients article content on a network, but not blog posts
  • There are various services which syndicate spun articles, but not blog posts
  • There are services that have their own blogs, where you post snippets of articles
  • Portal feeder has something similar for articles, I am not sure what is in Traffic Kahuna
  • There are plugins which feed articles from article banks to WordPress blogs

So whilst the idea is simple, you have to have confidence in content syndication and how duplicate content works before you think of doing something like this, which is why someone probably didn’t do it before.

Powertip

If you are using standard tagging plugins, they will probably output tags in alphabetical order. That isn’t a huge problem for the 5 tags that will be used to catalogue your post, but it is a factor for your backlink, because the anchortext used will be from your first tag.

The easy answer? Add a manual tag somewhere within your article

If you look closely you will see that I have linked through earlier in this post to my “syndication” tag on my blog, and I have manually added rel=”tag” to the link.

Hopefully when this article is posted, the backlink to my blog will be “syndication”. That is fairly powerful stuff.

OK Andy, How Much?

Jonathan says the following:-

BETA TESTERS WANTED
===================

This service is now up and running, and I’m looking for beta testers
to create free accounts and try it out. I need folks with blogs
who want to syndicate their content to super-charge their link
building, and I need folks who need top-notch content to post to
their own blogs.

As a beta tester, your account will always be 100% free. Syndicating
other folks content will always be free anyway, but I’m working on
a business model that MAY charge a monthly fee for being able to
have your content syndicated in this way. Or it may stay free
for everyone, I haven’t decided. :)

At any rate, as a beta tester, you’ll never pay a dime for the
service.

So why not go give it a try right now?

I hope Jonathan keeps it free

If he doesn’t, I am sure there will be competitors who will do it for free, so it is much better keeping it free and advertising supported. If needed, get some VC money to cover operations, but that is unlikely to be needed.

This is beta, I haven’t yet tested everything, I am going to see if I can find a guest post on Share A Post to try out.

Another Reason To Applaud Jonathan

I think anyone else who would have launched this, other than maybe myself, would have included some kind of spammy “viral” link back to the blog article syndication directory, in the footer of every article.
I have just seen my first article syndicated on a blog, and there is no link to Share A Post – that is a cool move.

Please don’t syndicate posts without minor editing to at least remove all the related posts – whilst I love receiving 10+ links every time one of my articles is syndicated, I am not going to approve 10 pingbacks – I will just flag them as spam to avoid the annoyance in the future.
Single pingbacks are fine (I don’t have nofollow on pingback links), or even to each editorial link within an article – you give me a link, you get a link back.

Sign Up!

If you sign up to Share A Post, you will find this article in their library – an easy way to share Share A Post with your readers is just syndicating this article.

Special note from Andy: To add some additional incentive to try out Share A Post, if you have written a very high quality paid review recently that would be suitable for my readers, I will gladly syndicate it on my primary domain as well – oh, and I won’t be nofollowing any of the links, as it will be an editorial decision to publish it.

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Comments

  1. says

    great review Andy — sounds familiar to our previous discussions. Adding “syndicated post of the day” would be nice semi-automated service (draft mode, allowing approval). Alwa

    I look forward to trying it out…

  2. says

    Jonathan always releases interesting products and services. I signed up this morning when his email hit my inbox announcing the beta of the program. I hope it stays free too. I would like to see a way to maybe “flag” content that is spam like in the future though, because you know people are going to start taking advantage. Such is the way of the internet.

  3. says

    Andy, I signed up for Share-A-Post and syndicated this blog post. I’m very excited about the prospect of my blog posts being syndicated by others. Your post was a great education on syndication and the intricacies of tagging (a topic that admittedly had me pretty confused). Best Regards!

  4. says

    Actually, I’ve created a similar site, but it focuses on SEO, and it’s not open for submission:

    http://www.wannaknowseo.com/

    This site is like a preset RSS reader for SEO experts who just want the core news every day. The reason it’s not open for submission is because I’m confident in my ability to hand-pick the most authoritative bloggers on the topic. Guess what – AndyBeard.eu is on it.

    I actually take it a step further by opening up an even wider range of seo sites that can be searched, in the event there is a topic a viewer would like to learn about.

    Finally, in the event that there is a topic that I would like to aggregate info on, or users are curious about and want answered, I’ve got a question and answer system. This Q&A system is being revamped, so the site’s still in beta, and that’s the only reason you haven’t heard of it. In fact, this is the first time I’ve mentioned it anywhere.

    Welp, looks like we’ve let the cat out of the bag now, haven’t we.

    – Brett

  5. says

    It does sound like a pretty good idea and I went over to have a look and signed up. Although you can add multiple blogs, it seems that only WordPress sites can be included at present.

    For the vast majority of bloggers that’s not a problem, but I’m hoping that it will be extended to serve other platforms at some point in the future so that I can use it for this non WP blog as well as my WP sites.

  6. says

    Hi Andy –

    I too like the idea and check out the site. However, in order to actually add my blog for syndication it required me to enter my blogs un/pw. I personally did not feel comfortable handing my credentials over.

    So I contacted Jonathan asking about this requirement and the response was:

    There are two reasons.

    1) We need to verify that it’s your blog.

    2) In order for you to auto-post an entry we have to be able to send those details to your blog.

    There must be a alternative more secure methods to accomplish that.

    Am I the only one with this concern?

    • says

      I was concerned with this, but decided that the following solution, as included in the article was the best option.

      You sign up and add your blog – If you are smart, you will create a new user on your blog with username and password with low level privileges – don’t enter your admin username and password – I trust Jonathan, but even large websites get hacked, why take the risk?

      Such a user would have very little access to the internals of your WordPress installation, and only if they hacked Jonathan… and I would think he would notify members if that happened so they could change passwords.

      There is always some element of risk, but it can be mitigated.

      The risk isn’t really substantially higher than allowing people to become members of a blog to post comments.

  7. says

    I’m heading over to sign up, but wanted to mention – do you think the “no self ping” plugin would work well for the issue ou mentioned?

    • says

      Not really, because it is other blogs pinging me because there are actually 10+ links from the related posts at the bottom of each article in the RSS feed

      I quite like using self pings – sometimes I delete them, sometimes I don’t.

  8. says

    I just syndicated this article and I see it now. How ugly your related posts look along with all the stuff naturally after my posting also lol…removed as asked.

    I’m thinkin” you should syndicate into draft mode for a few reasons.

    1. Quick spell check – shouldn’t be the syndicate’s job, but now that it’s on our blogs…

    2. Filling in something above stating its a guest post or rather syndicated guest post so as not to confuse readers.

    3. Fill in your all-in-one SEO plugin data, if you use one.

    I’m sure there’s more. I always triple check mine before publishing, so I’ll surely do it for others…..no offense :-)

    • says

      Be careful you don’t edit too much, otherwise you might delete the official “attribution” link, which is based on the first tag, in my case for this article that should be “syndication”

  9. says

    Jonathon is always interesting…and a couple of leagues above me in geek-intellect! I couldn’t really follow his idea and you (Andy) have cleared it up, a bit.

    Nevertheless with such a relatively small number of blogs using the service, won’t the aggregation of links from user-blogs look a little…not shady…but suspicious to Google? BTW, that’s a genuine question, with no implied answer.

    ADG

  10. says

    I guess it might look like a small blog network for big G but this shouldn’t be too much of a problem unless you don’t have any other links coming in.

  11. says

    Andy, You are the bomb! I want to give you a hug. I am on my way to implenting these strategies as we speak… Thanks a bunch.

  12. says

    About the duplicate context… it’s really not that simple, Google takes as a primary page the one it first finds, meaning the one that has higher PR and more links, even if that site is not the original author of the content.

    • says

      That might be a small factor, but Google really isn’t that stupid.

      Case in point, I frequently get pinged by Search Engine Land linking to me before a post actually appears on their blog – some caching problem I think.
      That often means that the content appears on other blogs before SEL.

      Do you really think SEL is going to be outranked? The only chance for others to gain some benefit from scraping the content is a different SEO emphasis and siloing.

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