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Dupe Content With Regional Sites?


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#1 JPotts

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 01:09 PM

My company owns six subsidiaries, which all have essentially the same business model, but are organized by regions of the US.  (Southeast, Midwest, etc.)  Each company has its own, separate, website.  We are in the midst of redesigning all of our sites, to have a similar look and feel, and to modernize them.  So far, three new sites have launched.  All three have essentially the same content, but are also clearly identified as being a regional company, each operating in different parts of the US.  

 

The first site to launch is doing very well, with a slight uptick in overall traffic, and very favorable results as far as our other key metrics.  The second site to launch had no baseline performance data to speak of, so I really don't know how well it's doing.  But the third site to launch has experienced a huge drop in traffic (less than half the traffic the old version was getting).

 

That third site also used to rank very well for regional keywords, and is now virtually invisible.  I've checked, and Google is indexing every page of the site.  But, the rankings have plummeted, and we've lost more than half our monthly traffic!

 

My question is this:  would Google consider these three sites to be duplicate content?  The only major differences in the content (apart from pictures, graphics, etc.) is the local keywords - state and city names, addresses, phone numbers.  Apart from that, they are essentially cookie-cutter sites.  Is this considered duplicate content?  And, is there some way to let the search engines know that these 6 websites/companies all fall under one corporate roof, and are only separate URLs because the brick-and-mortar facilities are scattered across the country?

 

As a side note, the new site which has lost half its traffic, also lost a large amount of traffic from a third-party PPC program, about two weeks before the new site launched.  Is it possible that the failure of that PPC program indirectly caused the drop in overall traffic and rankings?  I know Google does pay some attention to overall site performance...is it feasible that the loss of our PPC traffic could cause Google to assume our site is no longer as relevant?



#2 copywriter

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 01:17 PM

they are essentially cookie-cutter sites.  Is this considered duplicate content?

 

The short answer is yes.

 

Telling Google that the sites fall under one umbrella company probably won't help.  They still want any site you hope to rank well to have unique, quality content. Otherwise one site will rank well and the others will not. 

 

How much content are we talking about?  5 pages?  55 pages?  You could simply rewrite the content for the other sites.

 

I can't speak to the issues of PPC influencing organic rankings.



#3 JPotts

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 01:26 PM

That's what I was afraid of.  The first three sites were done by an agency, and I had virtually no input until they launched.  We're talking about 50 pages of content, so it's not impossible, but it does sound like we'll have to rewrite it.  Best part?  The agency claimed to have an "SEO expert" on staff.  Right...



BTW, thank you for the response!



#4 copywriter

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 01:30 PM

Well, what they are doing is the old way of writing SEO copy.  VERY old, I might add :) 



#5 Jill

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 01:44 PM

My question is this:  would Google consider these three sites to be duplicate content?  The only major differences in the content (apart from pictures, graphics, etc.) is the local keywords - state and city names, addresses, phone numbers.  Apart from that, they are essentially cookie-cutter sites.  Is this considered duplicate content? 

 

Of course. Isn't that exactly what it is? 


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#6 JPotts

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 01:45 PM

Which is very unfortunate, because I spent the last two years updating the "old" site to modern SEO standards.  :-P



#7 JPotts

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 01:50 PM

 

Of course. Isn't that exactly what it is? 

 

Yes.  That was my understanding, anyway.  I wanted to be absolutely sure there was no other alternative, before suggesting we rewrite two of our brand-new sites (as well as the remaining three).  



#8 JPotts

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 10:25 AM

Thank you both for your help!  It turns out we had another problem as well - the agency failed to install Google Analytics code on 95% of the pages.  So our dip in traffic is likely not as big as I feared.  But, I have also been able to persuade the decision-makers to start re-writing our content, thanks to your input.  Thank you!!



#9 Jill

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 11:17 AM

Presumably you're firing the agency? 



#10 JPotts

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 11:18 AM

Make that past tense.  :-)  Fired them after they completed three of our six sites.  We're doing the other three in-house.






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