Guest Post by: Maria Pergolino

Last week I attended Search Engine Strategies in San Jose and joined in on a session about Duplicate Content. This session was very interesting, but since it was not part of their B2B track, was not focused specifically on how it affects B2B marketers.

Duplicate content occurs when two or more web pages have the same content. This happens frequently for B2C companies, as many companies may be selling the same product with similar product descriptions on different websites. While B2B companies may not be selling products on consumer sites, we still have to deal with the potential problems caused by content duplication.

B2B duplicate content issues can arise when:

  • Multiple sites publish your press release
  • Partners use your product or service descriptions
  • Your blog content is posted to multiple websites
  • Multiple URLs on your domain point to the same content
  • You pay industry or news sites to host your content (content syndication)

As you see, these are common results of B2B marketing, so understanding the affects of and how to deal with duplicate content is very important. 

First, let’s dispel the myth that Google punishes your site for duplicate content. Google has said that they do not penalize for duplicate content, but instead can cause your page to be omitted from results because it appears to be the same as another. Why does Google do this? This is to avoid someone from doing a search and just coming up with the same page (but with different URL) over and over again in the results. Duplicate content may sound like something that doesn't happen often, but Yahoo said at Search Engine Strategies that over 1/3 of the web is duplicate. 

When Google omits results, you will see something similar to this at the bottom of the results. If it’s your page that is omitted, instead of those copying your content, your page will likely not be found.    

Another problem with duplicate content, especially if the duplications are on your website is dilution of your page strength as the value of links for the same content may be spread across multiple pages. Google does its best to figure out which pages are duplicates, but if they can’t, this may hurt your site's SEO.  

So what are the best ways to deal with this duplicate content? 

  • Submit a site map so Google knows what you think is important on your site
  • Use canonical tags to avoid content concerns within your domain
  • Make sure you are providing unique content descriptions when doing content syndication programs
  • Make sure press releases are listed on your site before they are submitted for distribution
  • If you use channel partners make sure you put unique content for each of them on your pages, instead of just duplicating the descriptions and change the name and contact information
  • Ensure your press and product pages have unique information that is not being used by partners
  1. Include additional unique information on your press release pages
  2. Make sure your product pages are unique and do not submit them for use by partners
  3. Provide partners with basic content, but ask them to add information about how the partnership is relevant to your product or service on their pages

By doing this you will ensure that your content receives its full link value, can be found, and is listed before content syndicators, press companies, and partners.  

Did you miss Search Engine Strategies but wish you could have attended? I’m giving one commenter to this post my conference tote bag, Google laser pointer, Bing pen, three sponsor t-shirts, search engine strategies notebook, and any other fun stuff from this great event. Let me know some of your B2B SEO concerns, why you wish you attended, or just say hi. We’ll randomly pick a commenter and mail them this package of fun stuff from the event next week.

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