Bummer that I missed PubCon this week but I have just been traveling way too much lately. Speaking of traveling, I was in Indianapolis last week visiting the offices of Compendium Blogware. I got a demo of their hosted blog platform — including a look under the hood — and it’s pretty slick. There were features and functionality I had never seen before in blog software. One of the key differentiators, and the reason for the company’s name, is the “compending” capability that their solution does.
A compended blog is comprised of a collection of posts from other blogs, but all from within the same company. A company can have many employees blogging — customer service reps, salespeople, product developers etc. If a manufacturer, then dealers/distributors/retailers could join in on the fun too.
The appeal for companies who want to encourage employee blogging is that it’s dead simple to use, which is critical if you want wide adoption across the company. Here’s how it works: say that Bob from a Ford dealership blogs about the new Ford Mustang after he takes it for his first test drive. There are compended blogs for Mustangs, for sports cars, for pickups, etc. Without Bob having to think about it, his blog post gets compended automatically (using sophisticated content analysis algorithms) to the “Mustangs” and the “Sports Cars” blogs, but not the “Pickups” blog.
Blog posts that have been compended still maintain a canonical URL on the main blog, and that one canonical URL (of the permalink post page) is referenced consistently across all compended blogs on permalink post pages via a canonical link element (i.e. canonical tag). That eliminates duplicate copies of the permalink post page. The content of the post is nonetheless included on the compended blogs — in a fashion not dissimilar to post content being included on category pages, tag pages and date-based archives on WordPress blogs.
When considering duplicate content as it relates to SEO, bear in mind it’s not a penalty, but a filter, and that filter works query-time to favor the most relevant and authoritative result for the query entered. Given that, a particular compended blog will be most appropriate to the query, e.g. the query “2010 mustang sports car” would be most relevant to the Sports Cars blog. Note also the compended blogs are in subdirectories, not subdomains. The typical company will have a handful or perhaps dozens of compended blogs, large enterprises may have hundreds. It wouldn’t be unusual that a new post published on a WordPress blog and is in a couple categories and in a dozen tags would be duplicated (16 times including the date-based archives and home page, to be exact) more than a post on a typical Compendium network.