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    SERP frustration regarding unique content


    I am not new to SEO just not sure how much weight certain situations affect your SERP. I have a site with roughly 27,000 items. A lot of those items use the manufacturers product description also I sell a lot of similar items that are the same item just different designs and colors on the item. For example a blanket.

    I notice competitor sites who have NO PRODUCT DESCRIPTION are ranked higher than me when I have a better PR. Will duplicate content on your site really affect me that much in SERP? how about duplicate titles? My title for example are similar to this "red 50 x 60 blanket" and "blue 50 x 60 blanket" plus many more like that.

    If I have 200 items that are the same with a slight different how many times can I really describe the same item in a different way so it is not duplicate? My questions really are these below

    1. Can I change roughly 1 or 2 words in the title and description where it will not count as duplicate content?

    2. Any quick cost effective ways to change thousands of descriptions quickly?
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    1. Can I change roughly 1 or 2 words in the title and description where it will not count as duplicate content?
    Nope - that won't make it significantly unique. Rand on a recent SEO Moz White Board Friday talked about the unique value of content - not a metrically defined parameter. That may be interesting to you.

    2. Any quick cost effective ways to change thousands of descriptions quickly?
    Nope not really.

    You may have canonical issues, pagination issues which you should investigate and optimize for.

    Also, the weight of the links that are relevant to your site might not be as high as some of the competitor's sites. For example, you can have high PR but no relevant links, or the relevant links are only of low link weight and therefore, for the keywords concerned are not providing much benefit.
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    Originally Posted by tstolber
    Nope - that won't make it significantly unique. Rand on a recent SEO Moz White Board Friday talked about the unique value of content - not a metrically defined parameter. That may be interesting to you.


    Nope not really.

    You may have canonical issues, pagination issues which you should investigate and optimize for.

    Also, the weight of the links that are relevant to your site might not be as high as some of the competitor's sites. For example, you can have high PR but no relevant links, or the relevant links are only of low link weight and therefore, for the keywords concerned are not providing much benefit.
    Thanks for the reply, 2 more questions

    1. can you do other things then to outweigh the duplicate content to increase your rank? I am just trying to figure out the most cost effective quickest way to approach and fix this issue?

    2. If say I have 1,000 items that have duplicate content out of my 27,000 items does google penalize my whole site or just those pages with duplicate content?
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    Originally Posted by Cove
    Thanks for the reply, 2 more questions

    1. can you do other things then to outweigh the duplicate content to increase your rank? I am just trying to figure out the most cost effective quickest way to approach and fix this issue?

    2. If say I have 1,000 items that have duplicate content out of my 27,000 items does google penalize my whole site or just those pages with duplicate content?
    Listen to this guy - he knows his stuff.

    There's not QUICK way in SEO. That's PPC.

    1. Build links, don't shortcut your SEO. PR is not everything, you need relevant links to support that authority your site may or may not currently have.
    2. Those pages can get penalized; however, it could reflect on your site as a whole.
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    thats what I meant, if I do not fix the duplicate content can you do other things such as get more backlinks or anything that will outweigh the content issue and still get your rankings high or if they penalize you, you will stay down now matter what you do unless you fix your duplicate content issue.

    I am trying to learn how google works on top of fixing my issue. That is how my mind works.
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    I mean, technically, I've seen duplicate content rock with enough link building - but that's like saying with enough pushing, you can tip over a building. I mean, sure, but you'd wreck your body. Why not just do it the proper way and get a wrecking ball?

    Why not just invest the hours you would be spending to offset those issues just writing some kick-*** original content that will last the life of your site? That way once you DO have those links AND kickass content your site will dominate the SERPs

    The thing is, sure, no you can slip by, I've done it and seen it both - but Google is fighting this and even IF you manage to pull off this 'offset' you're talking about, it does not promise you squat for the next Panda roll out.

    There are many things in the world that should be done properly, SEO is simply one of those.
    Last edited by joshz; Feb 8th, 2013 at 01:16 PM.
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    great analogy, thanks for the help!
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    Originally Posted by Cove
    great analogy, thanks for the help!
    Stick around, let others chime in. I'm only as good as my ego thinks I am ;-)

    And you're welcome.
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    haha yea I will as i want to learn as much as I can. My biggest fear is putting in all this time which could take me a year to change all my descriptions and titles and having it not work because they are penalizing my whole site because of 20 items that have duplicate content that i missed.
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    this is pretty much the same issue as my post Duplication and google >> Duplication and Google

    Im still not clear on how google deals with duplication, i thought a duplicate was a duplicate or not, but someone suggested google has a "scale" of duplication ????

    My issue is when you have legitimate duplication like 10 franchise sites how can you avoid being penalised. or in the case of product databases being fed to numerous other sites, which site ( if any ) would be penalised.

    Are you saying that HQ links can counterbalance duplication ? wo, 3 questions in 1 :-)
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    Originally Posted by Sinclairos
    Are you saying that HQ links can counterbalance duplication ? wo, 3 questions in 1 :-)
    Last year I did a test. I stole (with talking to the webmaster about my test) an entire page of content from a site and built it up with links. After a few months I was outranking to source content.
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    Originally Posted by joshz
    Last year I did a test. I stole (with talking to the webmaster about my test) an entire page of content from a site and built it up with links. After a few months I was outranking to source content.
    Jeez!!! are you serious ? that is shocking. I need to think about that for a while.

    Josh - how would you go about "seoing" 10 or more franchise websites where they are all duplicates ( but legitimate ) except the area word on each site, eg for London change site 2 to New York, site 3 to Chicago etc etc. Ive never found an answer to this - all i know is google should surely penalise them for being duplicates.
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    Originally Posted by Sinclairos
    Jeez!!! are you serious ? that is shocking. I need to think about that for a while.

    Josh - how would you go about "seoing" 10 or more franchise websites where they are all duplicates ( but legitimate ) except the area word on each site, eg for London change site 2 to New York, site 3 to Chicago etc etc. Ive never found an answer to this - all i know is google should surely penalise them for being duplicates.
    I believe I answered this or a similar question.

    In my opinion, I would modify the text as much as possible. Speak about the town's feature's or what they're known for.

    For example, if I had cities in NY, Atlanta, Houston and L.A., I might include: "the high energy of New York city is how our company prefers to work, whether you're traveling to see Times Square or the Statue of Liberty, let's our company in the big Apple serve you".

    Again, this is my personal opinion. I've found this to be best for a situation similar to this.
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    umm nice one josh. when ive done this before i did exactly that and made the content on each site as different as possible. This will work in terms of the duplication but of course the result is each franchise ends up with a different website, which is against the franchise model, and normally against what the franchisor and franchisees want. Also the domain names would usually be companynameArea.com or somethinggenericArea.com - i guess google couldnt/wouldnt look at domain names in terms of duplication.....nahh...
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    Separate websites for a franchise model is actually a red herring. It doesn't work well for many reasons:
    - what you've just said
    - you end up with multiple sites to SEO
    - new franchises are weak because they have new domains

    I believe what Google is driving at is that if we were sensible we would make one website and then list the contacts for the franchises. But we say to Google "can't do that because we have to SEO for areas"

    But you don't. Make one strong site that is the business - say car valeting. Have a directory of the franchises and let each one have it's own page (very much like yellow pages or whatever). Include a page that has a list of locations: "Car Valeting services in [list of towns/zipc codes/areas]".

    Get the franchises to concentrate on getting listed in the good directores - yellow pages, yelp, Bing, Yahoo Local, Google+ where they give their website as the page on the main site. e.g. http://yuckymotor.com/bigdavesvaleting/. Now you've got lots of links, including deep linking, to one website.

    It will rank for geographic related services.

    BTW - Joshz's experiment about stealing content and outranking the source has been proved over and over. I'm watching to see if Google+'s authorship and publisher system helps turn this tide....
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