Thoughts on Duplicate Content Issue

Joined
Nov 30, 2015
Messages
28
Likes
20
Points
0
Hey guys,

I'm having a duplicate content issue with a client site and I'm hoping to get some different perspectives/ideas that I have not thought of yet:

Current Situation: The client has 5 informational articles in the same content cluster, with each of them targeting a different Primary Keyword. However, all of them had the exact same product reco at the bottom and at least ~ 50% of each article was the same across all 5.

Issues:
- article 1: main keyword has fallen off for ["Primary Keyword"] but ranks first for ["Primary Keyword 2021"] and ranks on the first page for other long tail terms
- article 2: main keyword has fallen off for ["Primary Keyword"] but ranks first for ["Primary Keyword 2021"] and ranks on the first page for other long tail terms, additionally the category page comes up on page 3/4 for ["Primary Keyword"]
- As a side note, articles 3,4, and 5 all rank on the first page for their respective ["Primary Keyword"] and rank perfectly fine for long tail terms too

Changes I've Made:
- 4/5 articles had the product reco rewritten, so now all 5 articles are 100% unique
- no-indexed all category and author pages (did this last week, still has not been picked up by google i.e. category pages are still ranking and I'm not sure if it is a good idea to force remove through webmasters)

Any insights would be greatly appreciated - thanks in advance.
 

Ryuzaki

お前はもう死んでいる
Moderator
Joined
Sep 3, 2014
Messages
4,696
Likes
9,054
Points
9
Your first 2 issues sound like a freshness related problem to me. When you narrow down the time frame by adding "2021" to the query, you appear, but not when you don't. Which makes me think there might be "fresher" posts out there. I'd check the top 10 results for the primary keyword without 2021 and see what their "published" or "updated" dates say.

If they're all newer than you for the most part, you can switch your publish dates (or set it up to show updated dates) to the present day and see if that moves you back up by refreshing your Freshness Score.

Since you didn't tell us the query (and don't), I'm not positive the query deserves freshness, but since you're talking about products, it sounds like it probably does. The time-contained queries and long tails probably do too but you're likely winning on on-page significantyl enough for it to not matter.

Regarding the copy & pasted product recommendation, Google is okay with boilerplate content appearing in multiple places and will try to only give credit to one piece of content for that boilerplate content. It's like a fragmented canonical that doesn't pass any signals. That block of text would only surface in search for one page and be ignored for the rest.

With that being said, I still wouldn't want that to be the case on my site. I'd have done like you have, which is have it be rewritten for each post.

- no-indexed all category and author pages (did this last week, still has not been picked up by google i.e. category pages are still ranking and I'm not sure if it is a good idea to force remove through webmasters)
It'll take a couple of times of crawling and seeing the noindex directive to then drop the URLs from the index. It takes time. If you don't have that many of these pages you can request a crawl in search console. It won't hurt. But they'll see it and drop the URLs in time without you doing anything.
 
Joined
Nov 30, 2015
Messages
28
Likes
20
Points
0
Thanks for the detailed reply @Ryuzaki

Your first 2 issues sound like a freshness related problem to me. When you narrow down the time frame by adding "2021" to the query, you appear, but not when you don't. Which makes me think there might be "fresher" posts out there. I'd check the top 10 results for the primary keyword without 2021 and see what their "published" or "updated" dates say.
Interesting point, I also thought this might be an issue, so I had the client update the article, but I don't think that freshness is a huge factor here given that some of the competitors articles were last updated in Dec 2020. Another thing to note is that the client recently added a "news section" at the bottom of the articles which included a date and link to a recent headline since the product is in a fairly broad niche that's often got new developments in the news. I didn't think this was very helpful and may have been throwing google off so I just deleted that section.

Additionally, the two pages that fell off the SERP have "2021" in their title, but none of the competitors on the first page have that in their titles so I've removed it and will see what happens.

In terms of the no-index, it seems like they are starting to get properly categorized. Like you said this stuff takes time, and a big part of SEO is patience, but I just want to make sure I'm not overlooking anything obvious here.

Will comeback with some updates (hopefully positive) in the next little bit - thanks again.
 
Joined
Nov 30, 2015
Messages
28
Likes
20
Points
0
Google is okay with boilerplate content appearing in multiple places and will try to only give credit to one piece of content for that boilerplate content.

As @Ryuzaki stated, I found that Google is in fact okay with boilerplate content on multiple pages - at least that's what I noticed with this client's pages. Everything was previously ranking alright with the boilerplate info across the pages. Nonetheless, it was probably a good idea to update the pages to make them unique anyways.

but I just want to make sure I'm not overlooking anything obvious here.

Although freshness does not appear to be an issue here, while updating the pages to make them unique, we also added some additional content to beef up the pages.

After reviewing article 1, and looking at the top results in the SERP, I realized that the additional content we added did not align with the search intent. So I removed the irrelvant content, and force indexed the page through search console and now article 1 ranks for it's Primary Keyword on page 1 again. (sometimes it's best to take a step back and simply ask "does this page add value to users and am I satisfying search intent?" because sometimes we can stray away from the basics)

So the problem is almost solved - article 1 ranks for it's Primary Keyword for mobile only, and it keeps cyclying in and out of the people also ask box on both mobile and desktop.

Trying to work through why it's not ranking on desktop. I'm hoping its more of a timing thing and it will take a couple of days before it reappears, but I'll let you guys know if I figure something out!