Duplicate Content & Google: 9 Tips to Help Marketers Speed Up Spider Crawls
SES New York 2011 was almost over at 2 p.m. on March 24. The Exhibit Hall was already dismantled. Hallways were nearly empty between the remaining sessions. Then conferees walked into a crowded session on Google SEM, "Duplicate Content and Multiple Site Issues."
Those lucky enough to find a seat endured elbow and leg bumps as everyone jostled to pull out notepads and pens to copy down the tips and tricks related by panelists and Moderator Anne F. Kennedy, an international search strategist with Portland, Maine-based search engine optimization consulting firm Beyond Ink.
Kennedy noted that she was a little disappointed in the session's popularity, considering the "messes" should already be gone from marketers' sites. After all, she says, "We've been talking about it for nine years."
Panelists for the session were:
- Eric Enge, president of Boston-based Stone Temple Consulting;
- Tiffany Oberoi, software engineer on the Search Quality Team at Google; and
- Brian Ussery, chief technical officer for Atlanta-based search engine marketing and Web analytics consultancy Search Discovery Inc.
They suggested marketers take the following steps to reduce duplicate content and multiple site issues in order to improve their search engine marketing results:
1. Understand that Google doesn't penalize duplicate content, it filters it. Oberoi says she wants to dispel that penalty myth. Addressing the audience, she says "the majority of you" probably have "innocent" questions about the subject. "Most people aren't aware that they're non-maliciously duplicating content," Ussery agrees, while using slides from GoogleStore.com as an example.
What duplication does do, Ussery says, is thin PageRank and affect keywords by using them repeatedly. So, in addition to providing consumers with a bad user experience, duplicating content also slows search engine spider crawls.
2. Add value. Rather than using the manufacturer's language when describing a product, Oberoi says, resellers should differentiate themselves by providing added value to the content on their sites. "Otherwise, no one's going to go there."