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The Curious Case Of "what Is Duplicate Content?"


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#1 bobmeetin

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Posted 28 November 2012 - 11:46 PM

Internal duplicate content...When does it become a deal killer?

There are many reasons for having duplicate content within a website. Some seem to be practical techniques in providing a good user experience (navigation, columns, footer, etc) in helping your audience find and navigate to quality content. However, do these cases also draw you into the dark, dank, dingy realm of duplicate content?

1) You have a common CMS-managed site. With it you have much flexibilty but also a core framework which commonly includes common main menu navigation, header, footer, right and/or left columns and perhaps some spotlight type blocks above the footer. These elements may contribute substantial duplicate content but help the view to get around. How serious is this concern?

2) A blog commonly contains an entry page with blog titles and limited intro text, perhaps 50-100 words max each and links to each blog page. How relevant is the blog entry page as a unique page in its own right as compared to the individual page entries? How about those little sidebar type extensions where you take a few blog titles with introtext and dump them on every page of your site in the right or left column? Do you see that on this site?

3) The FAQ page - There are some extensions that allow you to build a FAQ page out of individual articles. There is an accordion version that is really pretty slick in that it builds a question/problem/symptom list that can be sorted alphabetically, by date, author etc. Regardless of sorting, you click on the FAQ title and it exposes the solution content (stored in a hidden div which is indexed). The usefulness is there - you can have lots of content on the page but it doesn't come off as overwhelming to the visitor.

Caveat #1 - each FAQ is stored in individual articles as well and these are also indexed. Is there a duplicate content concern between the master page and children, article pages? Which page is likely to score higher, the master with all content or the slimmer single article/faq pages.

Caveat #2 - The master page method works pretty well to deliver long or short answers, one-liners. With FAQ articles where the answers are wordy those individual articles stand a chance of hitting 50% unique content, when you add in the core page elements, header, navigation, footer, boxes, etc. But those one-liner FAQ they seem doomed in this scenario. They could easily fall into 90% + similar content when you add in the core page elements.

So now that you have a compilation of 10 of these tiny FAQ pages, how will the SE respond to your apparent disregard for duplicate content? It is not intentional but it is a byproduct.

#2 Jill

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 09:08 AM

Pretty much none of your scenarios should cause problems.

#3 bobmeetin

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 11:06 AM

Perhaps I'll legally change my name to "Analysis Paralysis?"

Caveat #2 sticks in my craw. So you have these pages Q/A type which are created as individual articles and get indexed as such. With a really short question and answer the pages could easily be 95% similar, maybe 98%.

text content sum:

topmenu +
banner +
main menu +
right column content (latest posts) +
above footer spotlights (boxes of whatever) +
footer
--------
95% - 98% of page text

Short Q/A body content
+ meta title
+ meta description
---------
2% to 5%

You have 10-15 similarly short FAQ pages. No problem?

Would the search engines smile happier at the master FAQ pages that combines all individual FAQ files rather than these dainty little morsels?

And yes we do believe that search engines are smart enough to know the natural structure of pages and navigation and such.

#4 Jill

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 11:16 AM

Google ignores all the templated stuff (top, side, footer, etc.) when looking for dupe content. It's standard on every site, which they're well aware of.

That said, the way you describe doesn't sound very user friendly, so yeah, I'd combine them into one page.

#5 bobmeetin

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 11:44 AM

Thx, I feel that the SE is smart enough but I still needed to hear it. When I got curious some weeks back I found one of those sites that compare pages for duplicate content. That tool was not that smart and you get these outrageous duplicate content values.

#6 Jill

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 12:21 PM

Just published this primer on Google duplicate content which might be helpful.






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