Can I Duplicate Content For Local SEO?
Myths about duplicated content and SEO persist stubbornly. First of all, duplicated content doesn’t lead to Google penalties. However, if you don’t understand how to deal with duplicate content, it can lead to performance decreases and Google de-indexing your pages.
You can duplicate content for local SEO if you make sure your pages target unique keywords. Read on to learn how to deal with duplicate content for local SEO.
Why is duplicate content an important concept for local SEO?
When creating pages that target both specific areas and services or products, keeping content unique across all pages can be a challenge. Common keywords might include “plumber in Santa Monica” or “plumber in Hollywood”.
These pages are designed to target both the profession (e.g., plumber) and a specific area. The goal isn’t just to target the service but to target the service within a particular area.
This content strategy is made for users who specifically search for “service in area”. If the only variation across your pages is the location, crafting unique content about the same service becomes challenging.
While some SEOs struggle with creating content for such similar pages, others manage it quite well. I want to shed some light on what sets these groups apart and understand the reasons behind their different outcomes.
Duplicate content via location pages
Creating location pages is one of the most potent weapons for a local SEO. You can literally make hundreds of those pages to target a very specific search intent — the intent after a product or service in a particular area. For example, “Plumber in Chicago” would be one of those keywords. Unfortunately, those keywords mostly have a tiny search volume. Therefore, it can be beneficial to create multiple pages to increase search volume.
Also, creating that many pages means spending a lot of time or money on writing and developing. That’s the reason why a lot of SEOs started duplicating those pages – to avoid huge expenses.
However, a significant number of those people reported problems with indexing and ranking the pages.
What did they do wrong compared to the other group that didn’t have any problems indexing their duplicate content?
What Google values is displaying pages with unique content to its users. If your site has duplicate or nearly identical pages, Google will likely show only one of those versions. This isn’t a penalty; it’s simply how Google’s algorithm works in the current SEO landscape.
However, in less competitive areas and on the rare occasions when Google doesn’t find superior results elsewhere, it might display several pages from your site in the search results.
How can you avoid duplicate content issues on your site?
Create unique content
This is by far the most effective way to get rid of duplicate content issues. If you create new, unique, and distinct content, it’s tough for Google to perceive it as a duplicate. Of course, you would still need to apply a “one keyword and its synonyms per page” strategy. But if you’re targeting similar keywords but with a different search intent, unique content will promise you the highest indexing rate.
Modify pages to make them as distinct as possible.
Google doesn’t want to show its users multiple pages with similar or identical content. However, location pages aren’t meant to satisfy the same search intent. Search intent changes as soon as you change the geo-modifiers on your pages. People searching for a plumber in Miami have a totally different search intent than those searching for a plumber in New York.
However, Google’s algorithm may ignore the intent and treat your page as a duplicate anyway. That’s why many people face duplicate content issues when creating city pages for their websites.
Here’s a list of things you can do to make the content of your page more distinct without having to spend time rewriting much text.
8 proven ways to turn duplicate Pages into ranking machines
#1 Include geo-modifiers
Make sure to include the geo-modifers like “New York” or “Chicago” and the like in
#2 Exclude geo-modifiers
Do not use any other location info and other different geo-modifiers on your pages. Even footer or header information could affect Google’s perception of your pages.
#3 Linking out
Link out to geo-related pages like the city’s gov or Wikipedia page. Don’t overly do that as you don’t want to give your visitors too many options to leave the site.
#4 Directions on Google Maps
Link to directions on Google Maps. They always differ from other pages.
#5 Review Buttons
Add a “leave a review” or/and “read reviews” button in case you’re using a GBP in that area
#6 Internal Links
Add different internal links to each of your location pages. You can, for example, only link to neighboring pages – that makes sure that you don’t use the same links on all pages.
#7 Embed a Google Map
Embed a Google Map showing either directions to your business or a service area. An embedded map is a great way to differentiate service area or location pages.
#8 Showcase Reviews - social proof
Showcase different reviews on each of your pages. User generated content is probably the easiest way to get unique content for each of your pages. Especially those that mention a specific area can be a valuable extra.
Duplicate Content Summary
If you apply the tips in this article, you’ll increase the chance of getting your duplicates ranked tremendously. I’ve used the exact same strategy to index and rank hundreds of pages for my clients without changing 90% of the copy.
If you prefer to get the pages indexed through unique content and still save some money, you can easily hire someone on Fiverr or use a tool like conversion.ai to create content at scale.
Now you know what duplicate content for local SEO means. You’ve also learned about the consequences and how you can deal with it when it comes to duplicating content for local search engine optimization. If you have any questions, please let me know in the comments below.