Q: How do you handle content that is going to be duplicated across many sites? For example, if you sell a product and the specs, features, description, etc are the same across every other site selling that product. Example: a lawn mower sold by Home Depot, Lowe’s, and hundreds of lawn and garden stores. There’s only so much you can do to the standard features and specs content without looking like you are selling something different and impacting the customer trust.
Duplicate content works at different levels. First, duplicate content on your own site. This is one of the biggest problems. If you have two pages, and they are exactly the same then you need to use the ‘canonical meta tag‘ to tell Google and Bing which page is the authoritative page.
Second, between your site and other sites. Let’s say you have a press release and it exists verbatim on your own site and on other sites via syndication. This is actually less of a problem; the reality is that syndication and duplication occurs all the time on the Web, and Google has to just ‘deal with it.’ In this example, I recommend a) releasing your press release on your own site FIRST, and then b) releasing via syndication a few days later on the press release syndication sites. Especially if you make one click links FROM the home page TO your press release, you will train Google to index your site frequently, and you will give your press release a head start over the syndicated examples. In my experience, it will ‘figure out’ that your site is the origin, and you will not be the one penalized for duplicate content.
Third, you and everyone else has pretty much the same content. This is your lawn mower example. Everyone pretty much has the same product, and the same content description, right? Well, here your job is to differentiate your product listing from the competitors’ and make it stand out. Here are some tips:
In my humble opinion, people believe that Google is a) better at identifying duplicate content (across sites) than it really is, and b) neglecting the relatively easy ways you can do to make your own content unique and different. So with a little effort, your site and content can really stand out!
Got a question? Click this link to email Jason or call 888-993-1122. Dr. Jason McDonald is founder and Senior SEO / Social Media Director of the JM Internet Group. He teaches the SEO training classes for the group, and therefore provides most of the SEO tips for this blog. His goal with this blog is to provide an easy 'one-stop shop' for the busy marketer looking for tips, tricks, and secrets on how to get to the top of Google and Bing for free using proven SEO tactics. When not dreaming up SEO tips, Dr. McDonald lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with his wife, two dogs, a cat, four iguanas and twelve children (just kidding). Really you read down to the bio on this guy? Enjoy the blog.
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