Q: Does duplicate content only cause problems if it is on another site? Can you have different pages on your own site that have only mild changes in order to cater to slight differences in keywords, or would that harm us? In other words, is the key word that is used for the link essential, or does google not care what key word is used for link, just the number of in-bound links to your site, not the keyword used in those links? I hope this makes sense. When you change your links from optimized to not, won’t it hurt the SEO standings for that particular keyword?.
Ok, first the issue of duplicate content. Actually I think it is more of a problem when the duplicate content is on your OWN site vs. on other sites. Having the same content on many pages; or having ‘cookie cutter’ pages can get you in trouble in two ways. First, it can get you in trouble with the Google algorithm, so you get penalized for having duplicate content, and it deprecates all the instances of the content. Or second, you provoke a ‘manual penalty’ when a Googler looks at your site manually (usually in response to a competitor complaint), and they see what they consider ‘doorway pages.’ Doorway pages are pages that are nearly identical in content, and created largely to influence search results.
So duplicate content is more of a problem on your own site. When your site is duplicated across sites, the problem is actually less severe. If you are the originator of the content, you can ‘signal’ to Google that fact, by being the first to produce the content and the first to get substantial inbound links. I think Google recognized the fact that you cannot control other sites; and so those external occurrences of duplicate content are not as detrimental. If you are scraping or reproducing syndicated content that is more of a problem, however.
As for your question about inbound links and optimized keywords, that is complicated. It’s all about balance. Penguin is a crack down against OVER optimization, largely based on quantity and balance. So if you have thousands of inbound links that all say ‘best divorce attorney miami,’ that looks UNNATURAL and that’s where you get penalized. So it is still true that you want some links to be optimized (keyword heavy); you just do not want ALL of them to be that way, and you do not want them to be non-balanced. Penguin really asks us to monitor our ‘link footprint,’ and try to be as ‘natural’ as possible, but then more natural than the next guy. Be the person going 65 in the 60 mph zone; not the person going 90 mph!
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.
on SEO | AdWords | Social Media