Common content across network

I’m setting up a network of four sites for a client. They’re going to have content that is common to all sites (history, philosophy of care, directions, and the like). I’d like to give them a way to publish this stuff once, as pages, in the main site, and have that content pulled through to pages on the subsites. I can put together a shortcode that pulls content from one post and drop into another post or page, but I don’t know how to do that on a network because while I can query by post ID, I don’t know how to query posts in a different table. Can this even be done?

  • Gabe
    • The Bug Hunter

    I hope I’m understanding you correctly, it can be done but I’d be concerned about duplicate content penalties for showing the same contend on multiple sites. You could no-index those duplicate pages to reduce the likelihood, but you’d also lose the benefit. Have you considered something like a wiki instead? Would that fit your needs?

    WPMU Wiki plugins:

    https://premium.wpmudev.org/project/wordpress-wiki/

    If you still need to share posts across a network, check this out:

    Plugin: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/network-shared-posts/

    WPMU article on it: https://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/daily-tip-share-posts-across-a-wordpress-multisite-network/

    This plugin only works for posts, but hopefully it’ll do.

  • daveku
    • Flash Drive

    Thanks, both of you. The wiki idea is an interesting idea and may serve well in another project we have going on right now, but I don’t think it’s the best choice in this case.

    We actually found a plugin that does exactly what we need: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/post-content-shortcodes/

    It’s a very cool plugin, very customizable, with a large number of arguments one can use. It’s the kind of thing, I daresay, WPMUDEV should have in their collection. :smiley:

  • Gabe
    • The Bug Hunter

    Hey Dave. Glad you found what you were looking for. That will work fine if you’re just looking purely for functionality (i.e. on a private site or intranet of some sort). But if you’re trying to get traffic from search engines, the duplicate content penalty you incur will hurt your rankings and could eventually get you de-listed from search engines.

    I apologize if you already know this, just wanted to make sure it was clear.

  • Gabe
    • The Bug Hunter

    Each of the sites will be under their own URL. Will the duplicate penalty still apply?

    Yep, it sure does. Any time Google or any other search engine finds the same or similar content elsewhere, be it on the same site or a different site, it’s flagged as duplicate content.

    This is a fuzzy rule because people often have post excerpts or even a full post on their homepage as well as on the actual post page, but this changes as new posts are added. From what I know, you wouldn’t fall into this category because copies of the duplicate content would be on each site.

    I’m not sure how familiar you are with SEO, but Google has been cracking down on stuff like this with the Panda, Penguin, etc. updates. Sites with duplicate content, particularly eCommerce sites using duplicate product descriptions, were hit extremely hard.

    If you utilized this strategy to a large degree and had large amounts of duplicate content, worst case scenario is that you don’t get indexed (or get de-indexed if you already are) and your domain/IP will be marked as a low-trust, or ‘bad neighborhood’. Best case scenario you’ll still be listed, but drop significantly in rankings. However, if people look hard enough they can still find you on the 341st page of the search results.

    In my honest opinion, this is a no-win scenario if you’re concerned about your Google rankings. If you must do it, no-index these pages and set a canonical URL to the preferred version or just make them private assuming a Wiki or a redirect to a single location wouldn’t work.

    Because you know what your goals are and know what works best for your customers, I recommend reading up on duplicate content and canonical URLs and making the best decision with what you learn.

    Here’s some more info on duplicate content:

    http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/2008/09/demystifying-duplicate-content-penalty.html

    Here’s some info on canonical URLs:

    http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/2009/02/specify-your-canonical.html

    http://www.seomoz.org/blog/canonical-url-tag-the-most-important-advancement-in-seo-practices-since-sitemaps

    http://support.google.com/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=139394

    It can be confusing, but once you learn it you can significantly improve the value your website delivers. In the end, that’s what Google is trying to do. Hope this helps.

  • Tom Eagles
    • Syntax Hero

    @daveku

    @gabe is exactly right about the duplicate content a lot of people made this mistake quite early on when they just had different domain names pointing at the same site and were hit for duplicate content, the same rule applies here just that in your scenario the same content is on different sites.

    Just no index the duplicate content on the other sites, however setting a no index on a page does NOT guarantee that the search engines will not index the page. One way i got round this in the past was to use an image of the text, if i had no other choice in the matter.

    Cheers!

    Tom

  • daveku
    • Flash Drive

    Wow, very interesting stuff. Thanks.

    Tom, you mentioned an issue with different domains pointing at the same site. Am I to understand then that having parked domains such as mysite.net and mysite.org sitting on mysite.com could cause the same penalties?

  • Tom Eagles
    • Syntax Hero

    @daveku if they are redirected there so the parked domain name doesn’t show in the url bar then all is fine.

    For example i sometimes use a method like this below.

    maindomain.com (is in two languages czech and english)

    so i point my czechdomain.cz to maindomain.com/cz and it only shows the czech content. Haven’t had an issue with this way yet and the sites a top 5 google site in the english and czech languages.

    however if you set up your domains so that all that happens is the domain name changes in the url bar then you would be penalised for duplication.

  • Tom Eagles
    • Syntax Hero

    Hiya, just going through some of the older threads here.

    As it’s been a little while since we last heard from you I thought I’d check in to see how you’re going?

    If you’re still looking for some further assistance with this thread then please feel free to reopen the thread or of course for any new and related issues you are most welcome to open a new thread.

    Cheers!

    Tom

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