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Tim Martell recently wrote a blog detailing the use of duplicate content on dealer's sites – mostly surrounding the text that is used on the standard pages of a dealers' site upon launch. While this was a big eye-opener for many, there is a bigger issue at hand. With content marketing being all the rage as of late - and rightfully so - dealers are shelling out thousands of dollars to have content created on their sites and in their dealership's name. Certainly since you are paying specifically for content creation, it is being written specifically for your dealership, right? …right? Not usually so.
Not only are agencies and providers lying and stealing content and posting it for multiple clients – they are the maliciously lying to dealers when calledout on it, telling them it is okay. IT IS NOT.
When Google released the herd (Panda, Penguin, Hummingbird) of updates to its algorithm, the policy did not read: "Duplicate content is bad, unless you change the city… then it’s cool." Just swapping out the city and state information is an old tactic that these updates were made to catch. It’s spammy, it’s not useful to your communities and it’s going to do your site and business harm. Don’t believe it? Here is the opinion of a few SEO experts that know that it's true:
“Upload unique content to the page designated for each city.”
“Big No-No: Duplicate content anywhere on your site, but especially on city landing pages. Yes this includes recycling a few keywords here and there to make it look different.”
“Sites that are trying to rank high for locations or themes will get penalized here because often what they will do for content is generate an article on a topic and then change it slightly based upon a few strategic keywords and headers.”
“In this situation, the worst thing you can do is to create a series of web pages (or blog posts, etc.) that are all the same, with only the city/town names changed.”
Hopefully these few non-vested third-party sources have helpedconvince you that this is a bad practice that has to stop. If you do some searching you'll find a ton of others saying the same thing. You'll also find the first results you see don't have the same content with a city and state swapped out.
All opinion, technicalities and SEO aside... as a dealer how could you be OK with having the same content as other dealers? Doesn't you brand deserve better that the sloppy seconds of others?
Is it ok if the pages/blogs are being dynamically created out of my CRM or DMS?
Is it ok if the pages/blogs are being done by hand with misspellings on purpose?
What if the owner of the company selling me the service says it’s ok and works for other clients?
What if I’m currently doing it and have decent rankings in a few places?
It’s only a matter of time until you reach the tipping point and do what could be irreparable damage to your site.
From Google themselves: