I have the greatest respect for some of the SEO industries pioneers that I have come to know. There are some who I have gone on to build good solid relationships with through coming into contact with them via a variety of channels such as SES Conference meetings held in either London or New York. I tend to refer to most of those I know in this highest tier of our industry as the ‘trusted voices‘.
One of those trusted voices and a pioneer in Search Engine Optimisation who I like listening too and I follow regularly is Jill Whalen CEO of High Rankings. I first read about this lady in 1998 but Jill has been in the field since the early 1990s.
Because I am fixated on seeing people in the industry deliver on best practice ethical SEO it is always good around the end of each year in December to catch up with those who are at the top table of SEO and find out what they thought about things that took place during the year and their predictions for the year ahead.
In December 2012 Jill focused on the topic about Duplicate Content that is still very much at the forefront when it comes to doing SEO. Jill like me is still seeing many sites that show up with duplicate content when we do SEO Website Audits. One of the easiest ways to find out if duplicate content is affecting the performance of your website is by checking the HTML Improvements link in a tool from Google called Webmaster Tools. Yet it is amazing to find that many freelancers and agencies claiming to deliver SEO services have not set this product up for their client. Those that have set the product up have not done so properly. This is one of the reasons I took up the role of becoming a Google Engage Partner, especially to help the smaller businesses who just don’t seem to get educated about what tools they should be working with in order to improve the performance of their website.
Where duplicate content seems to be at its worse is within ecommerce wesbsites. One of the biggest problems small medium businesses have when commissioning an ecommerce website is not planning properly the sites categorisation. You can tell when an SME business has engaged someone who is simply a programmer or graphic designer to build their ecommerce website, it shows they did not spend time learning marketing to any great degree. You will find lots of DIY marketers who are not delivering best practice SEO but how will you the small business owner be able to identify a good person at this task from someone who does it badly?
Just this week I came across two UK websites where each freelancer responsible for promoting themselves have dedicated a page in their website to things like SEO Glenrothes (where I live).
Here you find a guy from somewhere in England who probably doesn’t even know where my town is located. But you check out his website and he has literally listed every town he can think of and has applied a list of link titles all on one page such as SEO Edinburgh, SEO Glasgow and probably even SEO Timbucktwo. What amazes me even more is, that when you land on each town or city landing page all the content is the same apart from where it mentions the location.
What I don’t understand when it comes to seeing this form of duplicate content listed in the likes of Google who has crawled this type of page and failed to identify that this is truly spamming at its worst. Yet these pages end up getting high rankings in the SERPS and the small uneducated business owner does not know they are about to click through to this persons website and engage in receiving unethical SEO services. And probably after spending their hard earned marketing budget they find out later their own website has a penalty against it from the search engines.
There is simply one word for these people promoting bad practice SEO – LUNATICS. And these are the types of agencies and individuals who say they will get you to number one in the search engines but don’t really know how to properly use or even setup some of the best search engine optimisation industry tools we have at our disposal today.
So, I encourage you to read Jill Whalen’s articles and then if you are a small medium sized business that wants to setup a website to promote what your company offers by way of products and services, then you will know where to turn and who to turn too if you want to plan for success and achieve Onlinexcellence.
About The Author: Brian Mathers is Director of Online Marketing for ICTADVISOR Ltd. Brian is passionate about all things online marketing, including search, both paid and organic, usability, analytics, social media and conversion optimization. You can also follow Brian on twitter, @ictadvisorltd and he continues to promote OnlineXcellence for Scotland