Question. I have your book, SEO Fitness Workbook. I am going along and fixing a web-site. Everything has made sense until the point of putting a 500- 550 character text on every page. I am being told and have also read that putting duplicate text is a no no. I have already done it to about 80 pages and realized that the text has 736 characters. Please confirm that it IS OK to put a duplicate text on every page and is 736 characters too much?
As is always true in SEO, one must define terms and concepts very specifically. You are confusing truly duplicate content with overlapping content.
So first, you have to understand what is duplicate content, and why or how that would be penalized. Take some examples:
Scenario #1 –
Page 1: Same TITLE tag, same META description tag, 100% same content but different URL on the same domain.
Page 2: Same TITLE tag, same META description tag, 100% same content but different URL on the same domain.
In this case, you have TWO pages that are EXACTLY the same in EVERY detail on your same website. This is a true “duplicate content” problem. In that case, you would want to use the Canonical Meta tag to tell Google (and Bing), which page (Page 1 or Page 2) is the “true” page. If you do NOT, you can indeed get into trouble.
Page 1: Same TITLE tag, same META description tag, 100% same content but different URL on different domains.
Page 2: Same TITLE tag, same META description tag, 100% same content but different URL on the different domains.
In this situation, you don’t control the second page… perhaps it’s a competitor, or a press release site, or article syndication. This is much more problematic (for you) and for Google… In my experience, if you are first out of the box with the content, then you usually will be just fine. It’s a huge problem for everyone on the Web, and Google can’t exactly crack down unless your site really, really participates in some sort of scheme (e.g., article marketing).
Page 1: Similar TITLE tag, similar META description tag, 20% same content, namely a keyword footer as I recommend in my book.
Page 2: Similar TITLE tag, similar META description tag, 20% same content, namely a keyword footer as I recommend in my book.
Now, in this situation these are NOT the same pages at all! You simply have overlapping content on the pages but not duplicate. Perhaps 20% of the content is the same page by page on your site. If this appears natural in terms of site navigation, and your keyword paragraph is not too long (I recommend certainly less than 1000 characters), then what this does is –
All of those things are very good. So the trick is in the ratio. Don’t OVERDO the keyword paragraph. Don’t have it be 90% of the page… Each page needs UNIQUE content, and each page certainly needs a UNIQUE and ACCURATE TITLE and META DESCRIPTION tag, as specified in the Google SEO Guide.
In sum, don’t confuse the blogosphere’s conversation about DUPLICATE content with OVERLAPPING content, as those are not the same thing. And do not overdo this. I am recommending a keyword footer, but I am still recommending that each and every page have unique content, including unique TITLE tag and unique META description tag.
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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