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Google Strikes Again and Duplicate Content Sucks

Posted on 4.14.2014

:: By Travis Bliffen, Stellar SEO ::

Google officially announced that they will be modifying access to paid ad keywords much like they did for organic search. You will still be able to get data from Google in Webmaster tools and the Adwords Search Term Report. This change means more work for PPC companies as more detailed tracking will be needed to find good exact match terms.

A few weeks ago, I mentioned the new MOZ Local tool and how it could help you get listed on sites through data aggregation. Andrew Shotland, a very well-known name in local SEO has written a good review on Moz Local and if you haven’t given it a try yet, check out this review for the pros and cons before you do. If you are about to use Yext, you should consider MOZ first as it is about $450 per year cheaper than Yext.

Facebook spammers beware, an update is coming. Facebook recently announced that posts asking for likes and shares will be shown less in your news feed, as they are often seen as less relevant by users according to a Facebook survey. You will also see less redundant posts by the same company and pages that post links to sites showing something other than what is advertised will be on the radar as well.

Marketing resources

This week, I wanted to share some of the best sources of information with you for dialing in your on-page SEO. Here are some articles worth reading if you are looking to improve your on page optimization.

Last week Korah Morrison wrote a good post on Website Magazine with some basic on-page SEO tips to consider. Image optimization and Google Authorship are just a few of the tips mentioned. You can read her post here.

In a controversial post a few months back, Jason Hulott covers the common practice of building microsites for SEO and conversion optimization. Many of you chimed in calling this tactic black hat, either way; you can take something from the focus on CRO in this article. If you missed it, you can find the full article here.

Way back in Jan. 2013, Michael Garrity shared his weekly checklist of on-page SEO factors. While I think once a week is a bit too often for some of the tasks, it is still a good list or items to check on your website. Read the complete list here.

If you want to dive even deeper into the land of on-page SEO, you can find a complete guide to on page over on the MOZ blog. It covers on page SEO A-Z, so take some time to read it when you have a chance.

The Toolbox

Duplicate content issues are still prevalent, especially on e-commerce sites. If you are a merchant or work with e-commerce sites, I am certain you have run across your fair share of issues with content. In my latest post, I cover how you can identify and fix duplicate content issues on your site quickly through the use of software. Here is the gist of what is covered in “Thin and Duplicate Content”.

Duplicate content is often caused by using manufacturer product descriptions

Each page on your site should have 300-plus words of unique content

Modifying your site layout can reduce content issues tremendously

Do not be afraid to merge or delete pages from your site, bigger is not better

Download a copy of Screaming Frog and learn how to use it

If you aren’t sure how to implement the above steps, be sure to check out the complete article on eliminating thin and duplicate content.


Last week, I asked you all what questions you had in regard to SEO. Website Magazine reader Tim H. chimed in with a question in response to my mention of using GSA Search Engine Ranker as a link building tool for to third party sites as part of a Barnacle SEO strategy. 

To paraphrase, Tim asked; is GSA just a spam tool that will get you penalized? 

The answer to this question is yes. GSA is really just a spam tool. You can improve the quality of the links being built by loading quality content into the tool and adjusting the filter settings when setting up a campaign. In my opinion, even the very best setup campaign should not be used to build links directly to your primary website unless you are willing to risk penalization. 

GSA is a useful tool though if you are trying to improve the rankings on a third-party site since the massive amount of authority and back links help the low-quality links slide under the radar.

As a study on the effectiveness of GSA, I picked a few videos I had uploaded on YouTube and built do-follow contextual links to it using only GSA. If you do a search for St Louis SEO, St Louis SEO Services, St Louis SEO Company, St Louis SEO Firm and several other variations of that key phrase, you will see a few of my videos ranking between #1 and #10. They have been in those positions for several weeks now after an initial blast of about 5,000 links from GSA.

The moral of the story, your tools are only as useful as you make them. Even the very best tool is only a useful as the person operating it.

Thanks for chiming in Tim!

Looking Ahead

E-commerce SEO is growing at record speed. Next week we are going to dive deeper into the anatomy of an e-commerce site and look at the most common mistakes and the best ways to avoid and improve upon them.

If you have any specific questions about e-commerce SEO, please leave them below and I will answer them in next week’s roundup.

Author Bio: Travis Bliffen is the founder of Stellar SEO, a search marketing and design agency located near St. Louis Mo. Travis loves researching and writing about SEO strategies and implementing innovative strategies for his clients. Connect on Twitter @theseoproz.

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