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Duplicate Content

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#1 zebra


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Posted 04 May 2008 - 03:48 AM

The site http://www.languagetrainers.co.uk/ uses lots of large menus to target language courses in numerous regions throughout the UK. This leads to hundreds of pages with essentially the same content except that the location or language is different.

What are the dangers of using such a set up and, if there are dangers, has anyone got any suggestions about how to use a website to target a large number of towns or regions via organic search?

#2 Guest_Autocrat_*

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Posted 04 May 2008 - 05:14 AM

Duplicate Content.

It seems that if you have a site that repeats itself, or that uses "boilerplate" content with a few changes here and there, then you can encounter indexing issues.
Google may juggle certain pages, as it's not 100% sure of the relevancy.

Additionally, it may seem to stop crawling such pages/sections, or at leasst stop indexing after time.

There are plentyu of sites out there that do this.
If you do a search with the site: opererator and thae URL of those sites... you will often see that though they have many many pages... only a few are indexed (even when includdng omitted resutls).

You may want to consider a different method.




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Posted 04 May 2008 - 07:49 AM

I have a couple of old sites with these cookie cutter pages. Google drops all pages but one or two. Moderate reauthoring or shuffling the order of items can often solve the problem.

#4 bwelford


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Posted 04 May 2008 - 09:24 AM

You've also got to ask yourself whether human visitors find such web pages attractive and will they prefer something that isn't so clearly mechanical.

#5 zebra


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Posted 06 May 2008 - 03:18 AM

Thanks for all your comments.

Egol you note "Moderate reauthoring or shuffling the order of items can often solve the problem." I take it you mean one could go through all pages and change the text a little or change the order. Is there a risk of google or other engines seeing this still as spam and doing more than not just indexing some pages?

bwelford you ask whether it should be so mechanical and could be made better for human visitors. I guess the issue here is that if you offer a regional service eg. home tuition. Most people will search with the place they live as well the service. eg maths tutor in edinburgh. You could e varied content on each place page but this would be a big task and to be honest wouldn't add much.

The idea of having all those near duplicate pages may not be to intentionally spam but rather to get your site found by someone who is looking for your service.

Apart from throwing all seo weight behind the main service search . eg swahili lessons -- is there another way of adding this local element if say you provide swahili lessons in say 100 places in the UK which will not be seen as spammy or as too mechanical and will help people find you!

#6 fisicx


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Posted 06 May 2008 - 03:47 AM

Why not just one page: 'swahili lessons' with a list of the places you teach swahili. Build the page for people not search engines.

But supposing I don't live in the places you list? I might widen my search to include the county not the town. I might search for 'swahili home tutoring' or just 'swahili lessons'. The problem with your approach is that it relies on people searching the way you want them to. Far better to write orignal content and let the SE do it's thing.

I also agree that the site doesn't really offer vewry much to the visitor - hundreds of identical pages

Incidentally, I do home tutoring and I get the most bizarre requests for subjects I don't even cover. People just get in contact and hope I can help. If I limited my services to a precise geographical area or narrow range of topics I wouldn't have picked up some of my more interesting clients.

#7 zebra


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Posted 06 May 2008 - 05:37 AM

If one was building the page for people and not search engines the easiest would probably be to have one page with "swahili lessons" and then simply say that lessons can take place anywhere in the UK. Then, though, if someone wanted "swahili lessons in bradford" the site probably wouldn't rank highly and be shoved down the rankings by a whole host of other sites which would in reality probably be less relevant. It would appear to me that in this market sites that use tactics like multiple pages and quite a lot of repeat content seem to rank more highly.

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Posted 06 May 2008 - 08:28 AM

The problem with the 'build for people' practice is that it can be useless in certain markets/instances/cases for getting found in the SE's.
You have to write for the bots/SE's to a certain degree.
Sorry, but I view that as true.

So, you have to sit back and think of how to get found by the bots... and the first idea that most people have is geo-targeting.
Brilliant - until they run smack bang into this very issue.

Maybe you need to rethink things a little.
You have Language and Location.
Which one is the priority of the two?
Which is the one that peopel will be searching for?
I'm going to lay money on it being the language.

So, build the site/structure/navigation around the languages.
You may be able t oget away with a nice solid page with information about the Swahili language.
That would include a bit of background, where it is spoken, the percentage of the world that can speak the language etc.

Then, further down the page, you can incude 'blocks' for location...

Learn [Language] in [County]
You can learn to speak [Language] in the [County] area.
There are lessons being taught at
Place 1
Place 2
For more infomation on learning [Language], please contact X

Then vary that, and repeat down the page for each applicable area.
You can include a bunch of 'target/jumptlinks' above the blocks, so people can click on the relevant area and immediately jump to it.

If you ensure that the top line is in a good header tag (h2) then it should be okay.
You will naturally get the language being mentioned numerous times on the page.
You will also get the place being scored a little due to the tag usage.

If that is insuffucient, break the country up into chunks (North, West, East, South etc.), then follwo that pattern.
This will gain a little more focus on the areas (as you can have a page with links to the relevant counties etc... and immediately jump to that part of the page).

But no matter how you do it - it is not goign to be easy.
You must either come up with strongly distinct content, or a way to segregate the content naturally and logically for the users.
You can only get specific up to a point before it becomes incrediably hard to write unique content.

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