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Duplicate Pages: Your Opinions?
Posted 21 April 2004 - 12:52 PM
I don't think I approve of this, but I'm wondering how the rest of us in the forum view it. A search for "East Hanover NJ" brings up a site in Google at #10 that piqued my interest:
[Site removed as per our guidelines we only discuss specific spam techniques not specific pages that use them. - Jill]
A little examination reveals that they have taken the trouble (automated, I'm sure) to create a separate page for virtually every town in America. The only thing that differentiates these pages is the town and state names (and state abbreviations).
For a business that serves perhaps a county with 45 towns in it, is this an acceptable (ethical) practice? Would the SEs be likely to penalize a site employing this tactic once they found out?
I'm looking for opinions, of course, and those based on actual facts and experienced would be especially welcome.
Posted 21 April 2004 - 01:12 PM
If they simply have a page that stands alone and is not a link farm for the other 400 local town pages, then personally I do not see it as spam, although I would not use, or recommend the use of this tactic.
When it becomes a real problem is when they cross link all these pages purely for page rank reasons and nothing else. Having the statement 'we provide this service nationwide', or 'Find your local store' SHOULD be enough for people to realise what they are saying and find what they want. Having a load of links to identical pages with only place name changes is not acceptable, it is spammy.
Another way of looking at it however is to ask yourself if these pages should exist. If there are people living in these towns that provide this service, then, surely they are entitled to have a page promoting their business as much as any one? McD's have own and franchised restaurants, should there only be one site for all?
When you buy a franchise, you are buying into a business model that works, and part of that business model would be the market research and professional copy/marketing services that have been rolled into the package. almost all McD's serve identical menu's it is only the offers that vary, so how on earth are they supposed to have different content, when the only thing different is their location?
As i say, I think there can be a reason for the existence of these pages, it is the way that they are utilised that can make them bad.
Posted 22 April 2004 - 03:14 AM
It is much easier and better for everybody to have one page per state instead of one page per city.
One of my clients has got one page per province with all their branches plus address and phone number. Each of those pages became quite long and are relevant to anybody looking for details on any of the branches in their province.
Posted 22 April 2004 - 11:41 AM
My company does the same thing where we have different pages for different cities. All have SIMILAR content, but are not IDENTICAL. If they search on "dallas widgets" and click the link, they are taken to a page that is specific to "dallas widgets". At this point the content is almost identical as the city names have changed. Once they enter more critieria on our page to continue searching for the "dallas widgets" they are given more unique content like maps within the Dallas area.
So, is this the same thing that's being talked about here? On the one hand, I think it definitely helps fulfill the needs of the customer doing the search regardless of similar content from locale to locale. But if I understand correctly, from an SE point of view, I'm hearing this is a bad idea (spammy).
Posted 23 April 2004 - 05:07 AM
Ive done pages like this myself on sites, as it worked a treat for some terms and was easy rollout of pages that would get found many users, plus sometimes you dont know what terms are easy to rank for, so I tried to rank for quite a few, less chance of hit and miss, more I made I was bound to get a few that ranked well.
I made 1 page for 2-3 terms, and made about 18 pages, with just the keywords i was targeting changed,,I also changed a bit of the text on the page, but this was minimal,,
I wouldnt waste my time making these pages now, as really it is a form of spam and im considering deleteing or redoing the pages (which would be time consuming)
cause basically if it aint getting penalises now its something they should penalise in the future.
So these days i think "build a site of content for your users" and dont build just for search engines, (obvioulsy optimise content pages for search engines)
Posted 02 May 2004 - 04:17 PM
I think the value of the duplicate pages has a lot to do with the relationship between the seller listed on the page and the customer/searcher.
The duplication on the pages might appear "spammy" to Google but it serves a purpose if the searcher is as concerned with the source of the content as with the actual info/product/service presented on the page.
It becomes important, IMO, when the seller or agent brings an added value or a preferred relationship to the story. Then, the owner of the actual site might be doing customers a better online service by giving al the sellers/agents a page of their own to reinforce their personal spin on the basic service.
If the seller/agent's story is about no more than location, though, maybe a directory page is the better way to go.
In the other thread, Ian explained how Google would probably drop all the duplicate pages from the SERPs unless a uniquely relevant term was included in the search. That appears to have been the case in the situatoin here. No harm done by the duplicate pages, and possibly a more useful service to the searcher.
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