Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Duplicate Website Content : Can it Effect Your Ranking?

Can Duplicate Website Content Effect your Search Engine Ranking? Sure Can!

I have been noticing lately that website owners who were once on page 1 for their targeted keywords are now on page 12 or have dropped off the face of Google for their targeted keywords.

This can be based off of a number of reasons, but one of the main reasons is due to Duplicate Content.

What is Duplicate Content exactly?

Sometimes I like to explain things in a colorful way. So bear with me with this explanation. I want to make sure I get my point across in the most easiest way so you will understand it and not find yourself in the same situation as the above mentioned website owners.

Picture your favorite magazine. It could be Reader's Digest, Better Home and Gardens or O. Whatever your pleasure.

A magazine has a cover = Your home page

A table of content = Your navigation bar

Ads = Your products or services

When you flip through the pages of your favorite magazine. You see either an ad or a header letting you know what that content is about on that page. They are either selling a product or discussing a topic.

There are different headers for each individual page, right(rhetorical). You don't see the same header or text on the pages of the magazine, do you (rhetorical question again)?


Duplicate content is just that. The same content on more than one page of your website. So picture your website as an online magazine. You don't find the same content in a magazine. You don't see the same text in more than one page. So this is how you want to set up your website.

If you have more than one page with the same content, the search engines can get confused and don't have the time to weed out which page is actually relevant to a search query.

So if you have more than one page on your website with the same header or content on them then you are not only confusing the search engines but you are competing against yourself.

Do a search, doesn't matter about what. Just do a search about any type of product or service.

Then look at the number of links returned for that search. Those links that show up are links that contain that very same keyword that you just searched for. All of those links are competing for that golden spot, that top 10 listing all at the same time.

You already have all of these links coming from different urls, running to the same spot at the same time for that keyword phrase. No need to ruin your chances getting to that number one page by having the same duplicate meta titles, keywords and descriptions on your site. Your pages are just adding to that number of links returned and if the search engines can not figure out which page on your site actually contains what that searcher is looking for, they will move on to another link, Your Competitors Link.

You want to make sure that each page has it's very own header, meta title (meta title is the words that are displayed in the blue section at the very top of your browser window), and description.

I know it's hard to have a different description for products that are the same. If you change the first 2 to 5 sentences of each product than that will make a world of difference.

If you have another manufacturers product on your site and you copy their description, just remember that there are tons of other sites that have just done the very same thing. This is also considered duplicate content.

Change the meta title of that product, don't just use the product's title as the meta title. You can include the products name in your description.

Use your meta title to describe the product. You can include the manufacturers name if it is a well known brand, include the color and who the product is made for. Make sure to change up the description or "copy". Add your own words to it, add your own intro to it to make it your own.

You also want to make sure you don't use the same exact keywords for each product and page. If the product is about baby diapers, don't have baby swings in the keywords.

I know this is a lot to take in, but following some of these rules can keep you in the search engines and will help you move up in ranking.

Here's a recap, just in case I lost you at Duplicate Content:

1: Have different descriptions on each page. Change up the first 3 to 5 sentences if the products are similar.

2: Do not and I repeat, do not have the same meta title on each page. The most pages you should have the same meta title for is 2!

Here's an example:

Page 1 meta title usually a main category: Designer Baby Clothing | Kids Clothing | Clothing for Teenagers

Page 2 meta title usually a sub category: Designer Baby Clothing | Designer Baby Shirts | Designer Baby Shoes

3: Do not have the same keywords for every single website page.

Here's an Example of what not to do:

Product page is about buying a Fancy Bling Dog Collar

Description is about a Fancy Bling Collar for large dogs

Keywords: fancy bling dog collars, collars, dog, doggie, cats, cat beds, dog beds, dog leash, dog clothing, dog sweater.

Here's an Example of what to do:

Product page is about buying a Fancy Bling Dog collar

Description is about a Fancy Bling Collar for large dogs

Keywords: fancy dog collars for large dogs, bling dog collars for large dogs, bling dog collars, large dog collars, bling, large, fancy, dogs, dog

There is no reason to have keywords about anything else but what that page is about. If that page is not about a cat collar, do not include cat in the keywords. If that page is not about dog clothing, do not include dog clothing in the keywords.

Stay focused on what that page is about. Don't put in unnecessary keywords in the keyword tag if that is not what that page is about.

That's it for today!

Stay tuned for tips on Keyword Selection.

Your SEO Gal,
Carla Phillips