I was asked recently to run an audit on a prospective client’s website and what I discovered quite frankly shocked me! The local web company has been established for many years and I’ve been aware of them for a long time and to be honest it’s not something I would expect from them. I’m not going to mention them here all I will say is what they have done and how to spot bad seo practices for yourself.
So what to look for? Well what they had put in place was multiple landing pages to corner keywords and locations but duplicated the content.
For example there are several pages with the same content but just a couple of keywords changes e.g.:
Landing page A [keyword] [location A] this is the example content that is consistent across all the landing pages
Landing page B [keyword] [location B] this is the example content that is consistent across all the landing pages
Landing page C [keyword] [location C] this is the example content that is consistent across all the landing pages
This is known as content spinning and is a breach of Google’s Webmaster Guideline rules on Duplicate Content – as you can imagine the pages are effectively duplicated with just a couple of words changed to corner locations.
In some cases duplication of content from one website to another isn’t an issue as long as it’s a block quote and the other site is referenced. When it comes to creating multiple pages with the same content and just a few word changes on the same website it’s a beacon for Google’s Panda algorithm and will either get the pages ignored or worse penalised.
Now this is common knowledge to any web developer with an obsession with SEO and a passion for white hat practices but not necessarily to the unsuspecting client who places their trust in the web company. Again I have to say I’m pretty shocked to still see these practices being used since Panda has been around for so long, it really is a poor show especially when the client is being charged monthly for such a poor service and hopefully this post will help unsuspecting clients how to spot bad SEO practices for themselves.