October 19, 2020

Are Duplicate Landing Page Content for Cities Good or Bad for SEO?

Search Engine Optimization

the website architect

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duplicate landing pages for seo

What are duplicate landing pages?

If you lived in Toronto, Canada and you were searching for a plumber, what do you type into Google? “Plumbers in Toronto obviously!

This is the case with a lot of businesses, where users seek out local, close-to-home businesses for their convenience and sometimes just to support a local business. Plumbers, Electricians, Web Designers, Hair Dressers, Phone Repairers, are all examples of different kinds of businesses that can benefit from local SEO pages on their website to push visitors to their website and therefore more business. 

The landing pages themselves are just regular pages on a website designed to rank for those search phrases by targeting keywords. These pages will almost always have some sort of call-to-action on them to push visitors to go with their business.

These landing pages are often then duplicated with the keywords swapped out with the goal of ranking for other keywords. An example would be “best plumber in toronto”, duplicated to have another page of “best plumber in ottawa”.

The pages wouldn’t be exact duplicates (as that would be unuseful), but rather have single keywords swapped out like city names for example. Then the main paragraph and heading content would be 90-95% similar to the other pages but targeted for a different city keyword. It’s common for maybe around 7-20 different keywords to be changed per page when creating these kinds of duplicate pages.

Why create duplicate landing pages?

Creating duplicate landing page content like for example, multiple locations, enables you to have targeted pages for specific keywords people are searching for with different pages. With duplicate content for multiple locations, you can target local keywords that potential customers in your industry are searching for; like “plumber in Los Angeles” for example.

A quick test to prove city landing pages get results

In my quick test, I chose the business topic of SEO specialists, as they are most likely to be knowledgeable about SEO and its importance on the web. Duplicate pages can also be used not only for city names but for products that can be described or Googled in different ways.

From my test, look at some of these SEO firms on the first page of the search results for SEO Toronto:

  1. MasterSEO does it
  2. SEOToronto does it
  3. MikeWiseman does it
  4. ANerdsWorld does it
  5. SEOLogist does it
  6. ConsultingDigital appeared not to do it

5 of 6 of the SEO businesses that appeared on the first page of the search results had duplicate city-specific landing pages in an effort to create keyword-targeting pages to drive traffic to their website. 

From my quick test, you can see that businesses using multiple city landing pages rank higher and have a better domain authority in the rankings. The practice appears to not promote Google to penalize you, as proven by the website’s authority to be on the first page of the search results.

What are some examples of local SEO landing pages?

MikeWiseman – SEO Expert

Mike Wiseman does a great job of his landing pages. Mike has a more aggressive approach to his landing pages because he’s trying to rank for SEO. All his H2 headings are clearly targeting the biggest SEO related keywords like:

  • Hamilton SEO Company
  • Hamilton SEO Services
  • Hamilton SEO Expert
  • Best SEO in Hamilton

His landing pages provide value and his content is written in a way to be understood by all users experienced in SEO or not.

In the footer of his website, he has (hard to see) links to all his other SEO city landing pages. He does this because pages linking off the homepage are seen as “more important”, and therefore have greater weight or importance in the rankings.

Dozy – Toronto Mattress Business

Dozy has great landing pages that offer informative content to the visitor while still trying to be converting.

At the bottom of the landing page, there is a brief paragraph about the business and a list of cleverly labelled “service areas” that link to all the other local landing pages for each city.

Computation – Computer Repair

Computations landing pages also follow the guidelines of Dozy’s landing pages. Computations pages do a great job of covering all the common scenarios of a broken screen, making you feel like right in the right place giving them your business.

Is internal duplicate content bad? Will google penalize my website?

Google talks and talks about how having duplicate content are very bad and you will get penalized if they catch you doing it. The reality is, the practice of using your duplicated content to optimize for city names (the most common use) is what gets you results and what is working for a significant portion of top search results in the SEO industry.

From the test I did, you can see that these well-known and highly ranked websites by people who are most likely to try to trick Google aren’t being penalized in any way.

This is because the Internet is made up of anywhere from 25% to 30% duplicate content, so penalizing websites for content duplication would hurt ranking useful search results than it would help it.

How much internal duplicate content is acceptable?

As fun as it would be to create a city landing page for every city in the world for your business, Google would probably catch on.

In the last few seconds in the video by Google above, Gary Taylor spoke about how they would see your website as spam if you did try to make a ridiculous amount of landing pages.

Note: The video is mainly about duplicate content from site to site not internal site duplicate content

So I would personally recommend creating no more landing pages than your surrounding service areas and some bigger cities in your country if your service can be done at a distance.

So me for example, The Website Architect is a Toronto web design business can/should create landing pages for Toronto, Mississauga, Oakville, Etobicoke, Scarborough, Burlington, Hamilton (cities around Toronto), and possibly some other major cities in Canada because web design can be done remotely like Calgary, Ottawa, Waterloo, and Montreal.

How to make sure you’re not flagged as spam or pentalized by Google’s algorithm for duplicate content

If you are worried about Google flagging your duplicate content as spam, there are things you can do to minimize the risk.

Add value to your landing pages

First, make sure the pages you are making actually provide helpful content to users. Don’t just duplicate a page for your business and say “buy this” 100 different ways. By adding value your visitors will actually have a positive reaction and convert, not to mention if Google ever does manually review your website’s pages for spam they will see the pages do have value.

Practise restraint and be honest

Don’t try to create a landing page for every city in your province or state. Create pages for hand-selected cities that give value to your visitors. Don’t try to target Florida customers for your Washington carpet business.

Publish these pages on a scedule

Don’t post 20 landing pages on the same day. Schedule them out across a week or two, as it’s easier for Google to see it as spam if it all comes out at once.

How can I create duplicate landing pages faster?

These landing pages can be annoying and time consuming to duplicate. If you want to speed up this process you can use my landing page duplicator tool.

The tool can easily duplicate WordPress pages used Elementor or WPBakery, or even static HTML pages.

Simply copy the code from your page, paste it in, and set up the keywords to be replaced and hit generate!

When you use my free WordPress landing page Duplicator tool it makes the boring task of duplicating/replacing/saving different SEO landing pages go by a lot faster (around 7x faster) than manually making them yourself (even with a basic page duplicator plugin).

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I'm The Website Architect, just another web developer in Toronto, Canada. I'm passionate about Web Design, WordPress, and anything to do with websites. My goal is to make the Internet a more beautiful and usable place, one design choice and website at a time.