If you want to really tick Google off, increase the level of duplicate content on your website. While the #1 search engine has never been a big fan of repeated pages of text on a website (or across multiple websites), the Panda and Penguin now bare their teeth more than ever before.
As Jill Whalen explains in her excellent article on this topic, not all duplicate content is intended to manipulate. As far as Google is concerned, it makes no difference. Manipulative or not, duplicate content bears some pretty hefty consequences so you’re best to avoid it if at all possible.
That leaves many site owners wondering, “What do we do when…” There are, after all, many cases where it would make sense to duplicate content and just swap out a few words here or there, if it wouldn’t ignite the fury of Google.
Sure, if it weren’t for trying to get ranked in Google in front of prospects looking for products/services in your city, you might just toss all the locations on one page and be done with it. And, depending on just how many locations you have, you might still be able to take this approach. However, it’s more likely that you’d need a separate page for each location.
Matt McGee, over at Small Business Search Marketing offers some great suggestions.
1.) Ask yourself: What’s different about the areas we serve?
Let’s use the example of a lawn care business that has offices in several cities. Sure, the services are the same from branch to branch, but what about the cities themselves? Homeowners may face different weather issues pest problems that you could work into the copy.
2.) Tell your customers’ story, not (only) yours.
Write about what you do, and also write about how your customers have used your product/service to solve some unique problem. Expand boilerplate copy with a unique case study or two — and that’ll help reduce the chances that each page gets flagged as duplicate/low-quality content.
3.) Use different types of content.
All your location pages don’t have to have strictly text. Put a video or podcast on some of them or create a slideshow.
4.) Considering hiring a professional copywriter.
If you’re really struggling, think about bringing in a pro — preferably one with a good understanding of SEO and the need for high-quality, unique content.
5.) Blog regularly!
Blogging forces you to create new content on a regular basis. And with all the different types of content available now, you have a wide range of formats to choose from. In addition to using your chosen keyphrases, you’ll also be setting yourself up for some nice long-tail keyphrase finds along the way.
Excellent ideas from Matt.
Don’t get bogged down in duplicate content. With a little creativity (and a little help if you need it) you can quickly overcome the evil beast and be on your way to higher rankings.
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