Read/Write Web today reports on an effort by Google to encourage web publishers to specify whether their content is original or syndicated. The problem focused on by Read/Write Web is that of Google News and how Google attributes the author of a story when it crawls the many syndicated copies out there:
The two new tags that Google introduced today are syndication-source and original-source. The syndication-source tag can be used to indicate the location of the original story. The original-source tag should be used to highlight the URL of “the first article to report a story.” A story that uses material from a variety of original sources can include more than one original-source tags to point to these. Both of these tags can also point to the current page URL, so publishers can call attention to their own original reporting. You can find more details for how to implement these tags on your site here.
For now, Google still calls this an experiment is only using the syndication-source tag in its rankings to distinguish among groups of duplicate articles. The original-source is “only being studied” and doesn’t factor into Google’s rankings yet.
Of course, duplicate listing content is a problem in the real estate space as well. Here are several questions:
- Should listing syndicators like ThreeWide (now owned Move, Inc.) and Point2 specify the original-source?
- What should be the original source?
- Does this also apply to IDX offerings?
- If IDX listings contain the original-source tag and point it back to the listing broker, should this reduce the need to disclose the broker name on summary reports as apparently is the case now for franchise sites using IDX listings?
- What other implications or uses do you see for these tags?