Is duplicate content causing indexing issues for your site? In a recent post at the State of Search blog, Nichola Stott describes how multiple instances of similar pages, especially at the product level, are a common problem for larger sites.
According to Stott, duplicate content doesn't necessarily mean that an exact replica of a page exists on the site; more often, it means that the page is so similar to another page that it is not indexed by the search engine. For example, "if a website sells screws, and happens to have 50 different sizes of screws ... then that's 700 pages that could potentially be considered inherently the same," Stott explains.
To help you improve your site's page-level indexing, Stott offers SEO tips like these:
Lead with your point of difference. "Front-load" your main point of difference in the meta-title and on-page title tags. For example, Stott advises, "20 mm brass exterior-wood screw" is better than "exterior wood screws – 20mm brass."
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