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Episode 17

| December 14, 2022

How big of an SEO problem is duplicate content?

What’s true and what’s not about content duplication and SEO?

Mordy and Crystal discuss duplicate content truths, legends, and falsehoods on this episode of the SERPs Up SEO Podcast.

Unbeknownst to many, there is no such thing as a duplicate content penalty. Google is more likely to just not index duplicate content rather than punish an entire website. It’s pretty common for large websites to have duplicate or near duplicate content.

In addition, many websites, especially news websites, syndicate their content to other domains. With proper attribution, Google can recognize the syndication and potentially serve up both without relying on a no-index.

Listen in as the duo dispel these content duplication myths and more!

Barry Adams of Polemic Digital stops by to share when to worry and when not to worry about duplicate content from an SEO point of view. Plus, Wix’s own Rebecca Tomasis shares how she approaches dealing with duplicate content on the Wix Blog!

Can you hear that echo, echo, echo on the SERPs Up SEO Podcast? Let’s explore duplicate content and SEO together!

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00:36:50

SERP's Up Podcast: How big of an SEO problem is duplicate content? with  
Barry Adams

This week’s guests

About

Ryan has been working in SEO for 7 years and has worked both agency-side and in-house as well as building his own websites as side projects. Currently he's focussed on growing Land of Rugs into an 8-figure revenue business, using organic growth as the vehicle for doing that. Of course, he's having fun and learning lots on the way too.

About

Ryan has been working in SEO for 7 years and has worked both agency-side and in-house as well as building his own websites as side projects. Currently he's focussed on growing Land of Rugs into an 8-figure revenue business, using organic growth as the vehicle for doing that. Of course, he's having fun and learning lots on the way too.

Transcript

Mordy Oberstein:

It's the new wave of SEO podcasting. Welcome to Serps Up! Aloha! Mahalo for joining us on the Serps Up podcast. We're pushing out some groovy new insights around what's happening in SEO. I'm Mordy Oberstein, head of SEO Branding at Wix, and we're joined by the wonderful, the fantastic, the phenomenal head of SEO communications here at Wix, Crystal Carter.

Crystal Carter:

Hello internet people. It's fantastic to see you. Well, not see you because this is a podcast, but it's great to be here and I'm very pleased. Hi, Mordy.

Mordy Oberstein:

I feel bad for you.

Crystal Carter:

Why?

Mordy Oberstein:

Because you have to hold your mic up. Your stand thing is not working.

Crystal Carter:

Why are you bothering on that? This is radio! People can't see that!

Mordy Oberstein:

I know. But now, they get a visual of you having to sit there holding the mic the whole time while we're recording.

Crystal Carter:

Well, I'm trying to give people the optimal audio experience for this podcast. I could do some ASMR. I could do some crinkling things.

Mordy Oberstein:

Ooh! I like that. You ever see those videos where they show you the behind the scenes of how they get sound effects in movies?

Crystal Carter:

Oh, yes! I can't remember what they're called.

Mordy Oberstein:

That was great.

Crystal Carter:

It was a special name for it, and it's a really fun name. But yeah, I followed somebody on TikTok, actually, who does that for Shameless, that TV show. Basically, she said, "Oh, a shammy is great." There's the ones they use for cars. They apparently slosh them around all over the place and they're fantastic.

Mordy Oberstein:

It's amazing what they do. The sounds that you're actually hearing, what's actually happening behind the mic, two very different things.

Crystal Carter:

Right.

Mordy Oberstein:

Anyway, the Serps Up podcast is brought to you by Wix, where all of your pages are self-canonicalized. Why is that important? You'll find out! It's part of our show today. Kind of totally aligns.

Crystal Carter:

Totally, completely aligns. Yeah, I think canonicalization is good. I think canonicalization is good. I think canonicalization is good.

Mordy Oberstein:

I have this same joke planned out for later and I'm still going to do it because now it's even better, because it'll be the same. It'll be a duplicate joke. Get it?

Crystal Carter:

We're just going to do the same three lines over and over and over again. This show's never going to go anywhere. It's just an entire podcast of deja vu. Just internet deja vu.

Mordy Oberstein:

To quote Yogi Vera is deja vu all over again. Love that. Great show for you today as we dive into one of the most myth-filled areas of SEO. No, not LSI keywords, but close: duplicate content. That's right. We're diving into the real deal with duplicate content. What is duplicate content really? How does Google's diversity algorithm factor duplicate content in or out? When it makes sense to have duplicate content for user value and, of course, sub-domains, canonical tags and all that good stuff. Plus, Barry Adams stops by to share when you do, and especially don't, need to worry about duplicate content. We'll also talk to Wix's own Rebecca Tomasis as we chat about how Wix handles duplicate content at the enterprise level. And of course, we are the snappiest of SEO news for you and who you should be following on social for more SEO awesomeness. Welcome to episode 17 of the Serps Up podcast. Welcome to episode 17 of the Serps Up podcast.

Crystal Carter:

So let's talk about duplicate content. The thing about duplicate content is it comes up a lot in SEO conversations. John Mueller's asked regularly about this and for some reason, it's been something that Google's tried to clarify on a number of occasions, but there's still a lot of mystery around it. So in most cases, when Google's talking about duplicate content, they're literally talking about scraping or copying and pasting content from another website and publishing it on your own. This can happen on a big scale. So a whole website will scrape an entire website and then put it on another website under a different domain with different URLs, but it's essentially the exact same content. This happens with Wikipedia a lot, so a lot of people will scrape Wikipedia and then put it in a different collection on a new domain. But Google's own webmaster guidelines discourage this kind of scraping.

They say, "Don't create multiple pages sub-domains with substantially duplicate content. Avoid cookie cutter approaches, such as affiliate programs with little or no content." They also say, "If you are participating in an affiliate program, make sure that your site actually is adding value to what you're doing affiliate content for. Don't just scrape everything from the feed and post it on your site." Now, this is something that can be a bit confusing because people think that, "Oh, well what if I have content that's naturally kind of repetitive?" Like if you have job listings or real estate listings, or even event listings or product collections or things like that, where multiple pages will be really similar. But that's not the kind of thing that Google's actually talking about. And some people think that they're going to get a penalty, but that's not true. There's no duplicate content penalty. They said it in 2008. They said in their article, Demystifying Duplicate Content Penalty, "Let's put this to bed once and for all, folks. There's no such thing as a duplicate content penalty. Period."

Mordy Oberstein:

No one listens. No one listens. Google talks, no one listens.

Crystal Carter:

They keep asking. And they've asked John Mueller and he's like, "There's no duplicate content penalty." What there is, though, is basically Google is super busy. If you're publishing content that's essentially the same on your website, and you're publishing multiple pages on your website, they're essentially the same. Google might not index all of them because they don't need to, because they're essentially the same. So in the same way that I was like, "Oh, I got to a joke first," if you've published a collection of red shoes already and then you publish another one a week later, they're probably going to publish the first one, or they're probably going to index the first one if they index it at all. But they're probably going to index the first one rather than indexing every single one after it. If you think about the Spice Girls, you don't need two Sporty Spices. You've got one Sporty spice, you don't need two, right?

Mordy Oberstein:

I don't need one to begin with. That's a different story.

Crystal Carter:

I love Sporty Spice! Anyways, basically Google needs signals to understand that the content is different, right? So if you think about your meta descriptions, your page titles, your headers, your image attributes, that sort of thing ... If most of those things are the same on one page, then they will think that that's the same page. So what people think of as a duplicate content penalty is actually Google making a quality choice for the sake of the users. Because the users don't want three Sporty Spices, they want one Sporty Spice. So they're making a quality decision, and they have billions of webpages to index. They've got hundreds of thousands of websites being spun up every single day. They have a lot of content to get through. Google has said 25% to 30% of the web's content is duplicate content, and some of that is for a reason.

You have things on your main job's thing. You've got it on different jobs board. You've got it on another jobs board. And then if I'm signed up for Ticketmaster and I want to know what's going on with the Taylor Swift concert, then I want that content from the Ticketmaster website. There's also going to be other people who have tickets and they'll have the same content on that website. That's okay. But Google tries to manage that in different ways. There's lots of ways that you can manage that. A schema is actually one way that they manage that.

So if you think about jobs, for instance, they'll have a job and they'll say, "It's on this site, this site, and this site," and then you can pick the one that's most suitable for you. There's also canonicalization, which we'll talk about there as well. But just so we're very, very clear, there's no penalty for duplicate content. You just need to make sure that you're sending Google clear signals that your content is valuable and good signals that your content is unique. And you should also, where possible, make the most unique content most of the time.

Mordy Oberstein:

Yeah, and there's so many myths around this. For example, if I had the same product description or a very similar product description. Or let's say, for example, you're syndicating a product, like you mentioned with Taylor Swift tickets, or whatever it is. You're just taking the same description that someone else wrote on their website because that's what the manufacturer listed as a description. John Mueller's gone on, right? That's not a problem. That's not duplicate content. And this feeds right into the whole myth around keyword cannibalization and that whole thing. So keyword cannibalization is this theory ...

Well, there is a real keyword cannibalization, but the predominant discussion around this, at least in the past, has been, "Oh. If I have two, very near, duplicate kind of pages, and they're both going to rank on the same serp ... Let's say one is at a number seven and one's at number 10 ... they kill each other's rankings. Google won't rank one page higher or rank both of them lower because it's duplicate content," which is what? That's not true at all. That has nothing to do with that. Google's not saying, "Oh, well you have one page and two page and it's very similar. So instead of ranking that first page number one, we're going to rank it number seven now. A-ha! We got you!" That's not true at all.

Crystal Carter:

Right.

Mordy Oberstein:

What duplicate content and keyword cannibalization does come into play is ... The classic case I always think to make it really clear for you is let's say you have a page that talks about X and it's a blog post, and you also have a page that talks about X and it's a product page. Google ranks the blog post really high and your product page much lower. But the intent of the keyword is commercial or transactional. You want people to buy. So you don't want the blog post ranking really high where they're not going to buy anything. You'd rather have the page where you're actually selling the thing to rank really high. That's cannibalization. There you're killing yourself off and you're ruining your revenue, so to speak. That's a real case.

Crystal Carter:

That can definitely happen. But I think, also, it is a question of Google trying to understand the value that it has to the user. One of the things I think about is have you ever been to a supermarket or something and they're playing music?

Mordy Oberstein:

Yes, I've been to a supermarket. And I've been there when they're playing music.

Crystal Carter:

Thank you. They're playing music and it's essentially ... This is a Taylor Swift episode. Let's say they're playing a Taylor Swift song. Let's say they're playing, I don't know, Shake It Off or whatever, and you're like, "Oh, that's Taylor Swift!" And then you listen a little bit carefully and you're like, "That's not actually Taylor Swift." That's one of those things where they got somebody to do a cover so that they don't have to pay so much for the recording, right?

Mordy Oberstein:

That's so true.

Crystal Carter:

You know. You've heard those songs, right?

Mordy Oberstein:

Yeah! All the time, totally. A supermarket, great place for it.

Crystal Carter:

Right. They add no value, right? Those songs add no value at all. None. Now, if you think about other songs that you've heard, where somebody's actually interpreted the song ... Like if you think about All Along the Watch Tower, right? Written by Bob Dylan, and then Jimi Hendrix covered it and it's a totally different song.

Mordy Oberstein:

Bob Dylan said he wrote it for Jimi Hendrix to play.

Crystal Carter:

Right, but there's tons of those things. If you think of Walk On By, Dionne Warwick, it's a very Burt Bacharach kind of song. Then you think of Walk On By by Isaac Hayes and it's a completely different song. It's the same source material, but they're actually adding some actual value to the new content. So yeah, you could say, "Oh, yeah. That's the same song. Same notes, same lyrics, same things or whatever." But if you're actually adding different value, then it's worth having them both. I don't need to have the like-for-like Taylor Swift song and the actual Taylor Swift song. I'll just have the Taylor Swift song. Thanks, actually. So I think it's a way of thinking about those things as well.

So if Google knows that that's what people value and that people value an actual, substantive bit of content, then that's what they'll give them. And if they notice that you're not adding any value, either to the intent or to the source material, then they'll handle it in a different way. And that might be not ranking your page or it might be aggregating it on ... For instance, Google for Jobs will say, "It's on this site, this site, and this site," and so they'll aggregate them. They'll say, "If you want to buy from Ticketmaster, you can buy it here. If you want to buy from See Tickets or something, you can buy it there," all of that sort of stuff. So they'll aggregate them in some ways and they'll treat the content differently.

Mordy Oberstein:

Yeah, and I think people confuse similar content with duplicate content. Similar content could be great. It's very similar, but it meets different users or meets different needs or different intents. And Google does a pretty good job of this. Now, they have indented results. So you search for something and maybe they'll show you a blog post. And then underneath it, indented, is a landing page, and underneath that indented is a knowledge-based page trying to grab all those user intents. So Google does a good job trying to handle similar content. And yes, there is a diversity algorithm where they won't try to rank more than two pages from the same website on one serp. But again, that's not a hard and fast rule anyway. They say it in the documentation. It's not a hard and fast rule. And again, the indented results kind of show you that it's not a hard and fast rule.

Crystal Carter:

Right. And sometimes, they don't indent everything. And also, there's going to be lots of different things. I think, also, in their recent documentation, they published some confusing information about subdomains as well. I know that a lot people-

Mordy Oberstein:

I love bringing that up. We're going to bring it up here because that's just different wormholes, a different landmine.

Crystal Carter:

That's another podcast episode.

Mordy Oberstein:

We should do one on that, actually.

Crystal Carter:

But I think a lot of people have help documentation on subdomains, for instance. And your help documentation ... Google can understand that your documentation, your help pages, those have a different intent from, say, your blog. Those have a different intent, say, from your product listings, so that sort of information. They will indent them or they'll list them differently because they understand that the users might want that in a different way. Canonical tags are incredibly helpful for helping Google understand what is the primary content. We have a great article on canonization on the Wix SEO Hub, written by James Clark, that talks about this. But this is a great way to tell Google that maybe this is the collection of, I don't know, plus size t-shirts or something, but it's part of the main collection of t-shirts, so this is a filtered version of this main thing. And you can say the canonical is here, but this is a filtered version, which is useful to users but maybe doesn't necessarily need to be on the index. But if they want to index it, they will.

Mordy Oberstein:

And if you don't understand canonicalization, it's basically a tag that you can add to a page that tells Google, "This page? It's really this page." They're so similar or perhaps even exact in the case of adding filters and parameters to a URL that, "Google, ignore this page for ranking. This is the one that you want."

Crystal Carter:

Right. And that's how you can add value to your users so that they can get to the pages that they want and filter all the things, but you're not necessarily diluting what Google's crawling when they're crawling your site. And you're not making it complicated for them to understand which pages are which.

Mordy Oberstein:

Yeah, there's a lot of things you can do. For example, internal linking and to help Google understand ... Two very similar pages and you keep linking across your website to one page over the other page, that's a strong signal to Google that this is the one that we should really be indexing and showing the users. And the one that you're not internal linking to is probably not the one, even though they're quite similar or duplicate.

Crystal Carter:

Right, absolutely. And I think, sometimes, there's a few tools that will tell you you have duplicate content. For instance, if you have the same meta description or the same page title, or some of the other attributes ... metatech sort of things ... They'll tell you you've got duplicate content. And I think that that's not red flag duplicate content, but what you are doing there ... You might be sending confusing signals to Google about which page is which. If you've got the same URLs, loads of times you might be sending confusing signals to Google, so just make sure that they're distinct.

Mordy Oberstein:

Yep. So basically, make sure you're sending the right signals to Google in terms of crawling and indexing. And also, don't be afraid of writing content that's similar if it meets a different user need. Don't not write good content that your users need because you're worried about duplicate content and the duplicate content penalty. Now, when it comes to when should you and when you shouldn't worry about duplicate content, we've got a treat for you. We have a lot of SEO legends on this show. Barry Adams is a legit SEO legend. He's done a ton of work with news websites, and they often have a lot of duplicate content issues.

Crystal Carter:

Right.

Mordy Oberstein:

So here's Barry Adams on when you do and when you don't need to worry about duplicate content.

Barry Adams:

When do I and don't I worry about duplicate content? I think I have maybe slightly different opinions on duplicate content than many other people in the SEO industry. But generally, I only worry about duplicate content if it's happening on one website. If you have multiple pages on your website that have identical or near identical content and, thus, are targeting the same keywords, the same topics, the same space in Google search results for the same types of queries. When that happens, you may need to find ways to disambiguate your pages a bit to make them a bit more distinct, to make them more unique, to give them specific, topical focus on one area versus another area so that they don't compete with each other. Because if you have pages on your own website that are competing with each other for the same search results, for the same rankings in Google, you are basically making life a lot more difficult for yourself because you are also, of course, competing with all the other websites out there.

So try not to compete with yourself in the process. Another instance where duplicate content is often a worry for a lot of people: if you have your own content distributed on multiple different websites. An example would be a news publisher that syndicates their content to other news websites, and the worry is always there that those other websites are going to outrank the original publisher for keywords and searches related to that article content. That is sort of a valid concern. But it's not a major concern for me because I feel you can use that as a comparative advantage to a certain extent. Duplicate content ... Google does the best to filter it out in search results to a certain extent, but you very often see republished content taken from another publisher ranking quite well in Google search results. Especially in the new search results, but also in regular blue links search results, and I think that is by designed to a certain extent.

It is quite difficult for Google to filter out duplicate content in their search results, and I think they deliberately tried to err on the side of coursing and just let content that they feel might be duplicate still show up in search results, and then not filter it out too aggressively. I think as a publisher, you can use syndicated content to your advantage by making sure it is properly attributed. So if you give your content to other websites to publish, make sure there's an attribution link back to your own website. Any internal links in that article you'd ideally point back to your own website, to your own tag pages, your own category pages, and your own related articles. And of course, if you can, put a canonical tag in there. Ask the republishers to canonicalize it back to your original version, which is also part of Google's recommendations when it comes to syndicated content.

And beyond that, there's a lot of things, a lot of fear, I think, about duplicate content that isn't entirely warranted. There is no such thing as a duplicate content penalty, so just make sure all the pages on your own website are unique, are properly structured, well-targeted for specific topics and specific rankings. And don't worry too much about what other websites are doing with taking your content or scraping your content. Just focus on making sure your website is as good as it can be, and that you have all the tools at your disposal to make sure your own content ranks in performance in Google search results to its maximum potential.

Mordy Oberstein:

Thank you, Barry. Don't forget you can check out Barry at @badams on Twitter or at polemicdigital.com. I don't think we could have said that better ourselves. By the way, content syndication ... If you're a news publisher, I do not work on news websites. I do not want to work on news websites because that is such a hard decision to make, because it's a business decision. What do you want to do? What do you do now? Because often, you don't rank.

Crystal Carter:

Well, I think that a lot of times it has to do with building authority for your site as any publisher would. But maybe we should talk about content syndication on another podcast.

Mordy Oberstein:

Make it it's own thing. I remember talking to Alli Berry over at The Motley Fool ... and now I think she's at Sports Illustrated now ... about what they would do, and it's complicated. But as Barry mentioned, again, let's reiterate, there is no such thing as a duplicate content penalty.

Crystal Carter:

No.

Mordy Oberstein:

If there's anything you take away from this show, it's that there's no duplicate content penalty.

Crystal Carter:

And I think that him talking about canonical tags and about link attributes, this is certainly something ... If you're working with digital PR, this is something that you will see a lot. For instance, if you get coverage in a major news publisher, you'll often get published in lots of their syndicated publications as well. People are like, "Oh, those are all individual links." Kind of. They don't count as much as if they were individual articles, but they're still useful. But a lot of the major publishers will use that canonicalization and will use a lot of the tactics that Barry has recommended, because Barry is the dude for that kind of stuff.

Mordy Oberstein:

He really is, which is why you could find him again on Twitter at @badams, or polemicdigital.com. Now, if you think duplicate content is a problem for your average website to handle ... which it can be ... it is a nightmare, or can be a nightmare, for enterprise sites with thousands upon thousands and thousands of pages, like Wix. If you are working on a large site, we figured you want to get some insight as to have a better handle on duplicate content on such a large site. Which is why we asked our own Rebecca Tomasis over at Wix what we do on literally our thousands upon thousands of pages of overlapping content, from the blog to the knowledge base and niche hubs like the Wix SEO Learning Hub. So let's travel across the Wixverse as we dive into duplicate content and SEO at the enterprise level.

Speaker 4:

Three, two, one. Ignition. Lift off.

Mordy Oberstein:

So for your listening pleasure today, we have one of the, I would call, biggest SEO experts at Wix because she's part of the blog team, which handles so much of our organic growth and drives so much organic growth. It's such a big focus for us. She's Rebecca Tomasis. She's an organic growth expert on the blog side of Wix, and one of her biggest problems is duplicate content. So that's what we're talking about today, duplicate content with Rebecca. How are you, Rebecca?

Rebecca Tomasis:

I'm good, thank you. Thank you for having me.

Mordy Oberstein:

Sure!

Crystal Carter:

It's so nice to have you. You're brilliant.

Mordy Oberstein:

You are amazing, by the way.

Rebecca Tomasis:

[inaudible 00:21:51] Too many kind things at once, but it's very nice of you.

Mordy Oberstein:

No, no, no. Just behind the scenes of all these teams, there's always these people that you don't know who they are. Everyone knows Kyle. Kyle … Siegel, right? All the people talk, talk, talk. I'm just kidding. But the people who are the quieter people, who are actually pushing the thing forward ... I'm just kidding. Everybody's pushing it forward. But there are people who are silently doing it and who are really doing an amazing job with it. You are one of those people.

Rebecca Tomasis:

Well, thank you very much. That means a lot.

Mordy Oberstein:

I'm just going to go right to it.

Crystal Carter:

Yeah.

Mordy Oberstein:

What do you do with duplicate content, because it's such a problem for us. We have so many different verticals. We have blog. We have knowledge base. We have the, "Oh, no. The SEO Hub coming in with our own content." You're treading foot on your content. Now, it's a turf war. It's the Jets versus the other people on the West Side Story.

Rebecca Tomasis:

The sharks?

Mordy Oberstein:

Sharks, yeah! There we go.

Rebecca Tomasis:

Yeah, we're an enterprise site, right? It's a headache. And I think in an ideal world, we'd love to avoid it. I know there are a million fixes that we can do and there are all sorts of things that we can do. But I think that on a site level, when we talk about the verticals and we talk about this, I think there needs to be a lot better kind of communication and management of content between us. We all have the same end goal, but we all have very different goals and we're all tracing different intents and different audiences. It shouldn't be so hard for us to have those kind of communications and that sharing of schedules and content ideas and what we're targeting and to be able to make a decision on.

I think it's something that the blog and the SEO help now do very, very well, where it's almost like, "This is your content and this is your sphere of expertise. This is what you write about and this is what we write about." Almost to the extent where we avoid it, right? Then there's not even an issue or duplicate content, and I think that's something that definitely comes back to communication and sharing, and it's something that we can all get better with. But I will tell you, honestly, we are a huge blog. We are a legacy blog. The blog is almost 10 years old.

Crystal Carter:

Wow.

Rebecca Tomasis:

The number of times that we've duplicated ourselves, and then only realized because we'd run another site audit. It was like, "Where did this URL come from? This wasn't in Screaming Frog last time. Where have you come from?" Seriously. Every time, these URLs keep popping up and we're like, "Oh my goodness," so I think that's also part of it. Running those site audits, a lot of auditing content, checking, checking, checking, checking. We have a very strict redirect budget. We're an enterprise site, right? I think, often, a redirect is thrown around as an easy solution. And yet, technically, and how Google sees it, it is an easy solution. But then, we run into a lot of issues. We run into a lot of issues with crawl budget, with redirect chains. We are potentially preparing for a huge migration. It's just not necessarily always the fix that it is.

And a much better fix for us, for example, to de-optimize something or even change the content. Give it to another writer and ask them to turn it into something different. Turn it into something that targets something else. Yeah, that's something that I think we are trialing more and more is how can we be more creative with this content and change it into something that targets a different intent or targets a different audience, or maybe even we'll have a different distribution channel. And actually ... Am I allowed to say it? We won't let it appear somewhere in the search. Everything that we do on the blog because everything we want to be out there.

But sometimes, it's on a level of content that we thought was great. We have great pieces of content that were written at a time when the intent was super separate and they were not really duplicate at all, and they really stood their own. And now we find, almost, the more successful we've become with the pieces of content that we really want to be successful ... with our pillar pages and everything ... It seems unavoidable, the duplication, and we really have to ... I don't know, I'm always telling writers, "It's just a piece of content. Stop being so excited about it. I'm de-optimizing it. Live with it." No, I'm joking.

Crystal Carter:

What I'm getting from this conversation is that when we think about duplicate content, I think a lot of SEOs think about it from the post publish perspective. So, "Oh, there's this duplicate content. Oh, we need to go back and we need to change this around." But it sounds like you're saying that it should start when you're thinking about whether or not content might be duplicate. You should be thinking about it in the planning stages, so when you're planning your content.

Rebecca Tomasis:

I'm a firm believer in planning content. And I know that we can't plan a year's content in advance, right, but we can plan a content strategy. I mean, we work with a clustering model. Yeah, a very specific, intense change. An intense, specific queries change. But at an entity level, on a topic level, the history of something, or things that are important to designing a logo, these things don't change. Sure, there are trends and different types of font and different types of colors and shapes. But the essence of what's important to, say, designing a logo, this doesn't change. So when we plan a cluster around how to design a logo, we can pull out all of these pieces of content and really plan it better. We used to really try to narrow down with our content like, "This content targets a keyword." And I think this creates a lot of problem with duplicate content, of course, like cannibalization.

And now, we're actually at a place where this is a pillar page. This pillar page is going to fall for 100 keywords, 400 keywords, 700 keywords. And then, it also becomes less of an issue there, I think. Look, this is all me speaking. It sounds so easy in theory. Sometimes, I wish I could take our legacy content and just ... I don't know. There's just no way to get rid of it. But it's difficult because we're also a team of different people and different priorities, and somebody wants this and somebody wants that and it's not always so easy to plan.

Mordy Oberstein:

Yeah. And I've seen this in work firsthand, where I've done work with you and the blog and I've done work with the SEO Hub. That pre-planning of knowing that certain types of content, even though it might be very similar or not the same topics, but a different kind of intent or for a different kind of audience on one forum versus another kind of intent for another forum. Knowing that in advance, just as a writer, has helped me understand, "Okay, if I'm going to write this, I'm going to go to you for the blog. If I'm going to go for this, I'm going to write this for the Hub." And that clear line of demarcation around intent has been so helpful to me in understanding what goes what and where. It's sort of helped, as you mentioned in advance, prevent duplicate content from showing up.

Rebecca Tomasis:

Yeah.

Crystal Carter:

And I think, also, the other thing that I've seen the team do ... And Mordy, I know you've been a part of this process ... is refreshing content, certainly. And that's one way I think, as well, from a planning point of view, that you can reduce the kind of duplicate content that you're creating, instead of spinning up tons of the same ... Trends for Logos, or whatever, 2023, and then another blog, Trends for Logos 2024, and then another blog, Trends for Logos. Whereas, I know that the blog team spends a lot of time refreshing content so that we've got one URL that holds equity around keywords, around intent, around information. And it means that you're giving users the best information possible, but you're not duplicating yourself necessarily.

Rebecca Tomasis:

And I think within that, so many best practices, right? Even down to the URL we choose and how we optimize. These things are super, super important because these things are things that cannot be fixed, right? Yeah, I think it's a lot of moving parts and a lot of things to think about.

Mordy Oberstein:

To quote my favorite movie, "A lot of ins and outs, a lot of what-have-yous, a lot of different people involved," to quote The Big Lebowski.

Rebecca Tomasis:

Right.

Mordy Oberstein:

It literally sums it up perfectly.

Speaker 4:

And I think, to quote The Big Lebowski again ... I mean, you talked about pillar pages a lot and they really hold the room together.

Mordy Oberstein:

We've got a full Big Lebowski in this segment. Rebecca, thank you so much for coming on and sharing with us. Where can people find you?

Rebecca Tomasis:

Actually, that's a very good question. I'm not on Twitter, which probably everybody's going to be like, "Oh!"

Mordy Oberstein:

Are you on TikTok?

Rebecca Tomasis:

I am not. Are you crazy? I was born in the 80s. I have teenagers.

Crystal Carter:

They can find you on the blog! You wrote on the blog! They can find you.

Mordy Oberstein:

You're on the blog! Find me on the blog.

Rebecca Tomasis:

You can find me on LinkedIn.

Mordy Oberstein:

Okay! Rebecca, thank you so much for coming in and see you soon!

Speaker 4:

Three, two, one. Ignition. Lift off.

Mordy Oberstein:

Always love talking to Rebecca. Literally, whenever I go into the Wix office, which is every once in a while. Love it when people always search out and find to have a little chat with because she's so knowledgeable.

Crystal Carter:

She's amazing.

Mordy Oberstein:

Yeah. She really is. She's a huge driving force behind the Wix blog, and it's amazing when you think about these things. There are all these driving forces. You never see them or meet them if you're on the outside, external world. But they're there, and she's a force to be reckoned with.

Crystal Carter:

Yeah, she's absolutely amazing and she's so committed to making the blog better all the time, which I think is awesome. And I think that in marketing and SEO, what you need is somebody who just keeps going, and Rebecca's absolutely that person.

Mordy Oberstein:

And the proof is in the pudding because their rankings have gone up. Anyway! Leaving that aside for a minute, what would an episode be if we didn't get into what's happening in the wide world of SEO? So, here is this week's Snappy News. Snappy News, Snappy News, Snappy News. This week, got three little nuggets for you. One from Matt Southern over at Search Engine Journal. He says, "Google's desktop search results are now continuously scrollable." So this has been the case for a while on mobile. No more pagination. You just continuously scroll down for a while. It's not infinite scroll. It does stop at a certain point. Now, this is on desktop. The upshot here is that it may mean the users scroll a little further down the results page, making URLs that ranked towards what was the bottom of page one, a bit more visible.

Item number two: Google tests topic search bar refinement on desktop after launching on mobile. This one from Barry Schwartz over at Search Engine Roundtable. So here we're seeing, again, something that was very recently launched on mobile now appearing on desktop. So let's say, for example, you're looking for a recipe around ... I don't know, some kind of food. You'll now see filters on mobile being tested on desktop. That might mean you refine it by healthy recipes. And then under "healthy," you can refine even more with high protein recipes with lots of vegetables, whatever it is. All sorts of refinements along the way, which is basically the lesson that I think that you should take away from the results page in general, which is Google's offering users way more opportunities to refine the queries. Because Google knows that users, when they might search for a broad term like meatloaf recipe, they really do want something a little bit more specific, like a healthy meatloaf recipe with lots of protein. Which I don't know how you would do without a lot of protein, but different story, different time. I'm not a meatloaf expert.

Item number three. And this one, again, comes from Barry Schwartz, but this time, from Search Engine Land. Barry is everywhere. He says, "Google helpful content system update rolling out now. December 2022 update." This is V2 of Google's helpful content update. If you're looking at the tools that track the algorithm's fluctuations, they'll tend to show not a lot of big movement towards almost no movement. I don't think this is that kind of update. There are reports coming in from particular SEOs, such as Glenn Gabe, of showing sites that are being impacted by the helpful content update. I don't think it's a sort of widespread thing that we're used to seeing with, let's say, the way a core algorithm update may roll out. I think this builds over time. I think the patterns around the rollout will be a little bit different from what we normally see, which is kind of what's happening out there, from what I see with the SEO "weather tools." And that is it for this week's snappiest of Snappy News. And we're back from the Snappy News! Always so newsy, isn't it?

Crystal Carter:

So newsy.

Mordy Oberstein:

So newsy.

Crystal Carter:

So newsy. It's so full of news.

Mordy Oberstein:

So snappy. Well, since we're talking about duplicate content this week, we figured that there are many, many people across the SEO space who talk about this topic and talk about it well, but we're going to focus on one person this week. That's right. It's time for this week's Follow of the Week, which brings us to one of the nicest people you'll meet in the SEO world. He's really, as my grandmother would say, he's a boogie. His name is Patrick Stox. He's from Ahrefs, and you can find him on Twitter @patrickstox. That's P-A-T-R-I-C-K-S-T-O-X. So Stox is S-T-O-X. Patrick Stox.

Crystal Carter:

He's such a good guy and he's so clever. I think I met him this year at brightonSEO, and he was just super kind and super just jazzed about SEO, which I think is great. Again, you need people that really want to do stuff and really want to move things forward, and he's that kind of guy.

Mordy Oberstein:

Yeah, he writes a lot for the Ahrefs blog about topics around, let's say, duplicate content or how to use SEO data the right way, and search console and data stuff. So follow Patrick, take a look at what he's writing. I know when he writes something, it's always well-detailed, always well-thought-out, and always substantial, which is rare.

Crystal Carter:

Absolutely. He takes a lot of care about the work that he's doing. And Ahrefs is also a great place for some information about content syndication. They've got some great articles there, so check it out!

Mordy Oberstein:

Definitely check it out, and follow Patrick on Twitter. We'll link to his Twitter profile in the show notes as well. Anyway, that's going to do it for us this week. Anyway, that's going to do it for us this week. I will make the same joke over and over again. I will make the same joke over and over again.

Crystal Carter:

Is there an echo in here?

Mordy Oberstein:

My life is an echo. I'm not sure what that means, but it sounds really poetic.

Crystal Carter:

It sounds so poetic. It sounds like-

Mordy Oberstein:

It sounds so poetic.

Crystal Carter:

The kind of thing ...

Mordy Oberstein:

We can't stop. We're going to end this now before we go down this wormhole way too far. Thank you for joining us on the Serps Up podcast. Already going to miss us? Not to worry! We'll be back next week with a new episode as we dive into e-commerce SEO. Is it really a thing? Look for wherever you consume your podcasts or on the Wix SEO Learning Hub at wix.com/seo/learn. Looking to learn more about SEO? Check out all the great content webinar resources on the Wix SEO Learning Hub at, you guessed it, wix.com/seo/learn. Don't forget to give us a review on iTunes or a rating on Spotify. Until next time, peace, love, and SEO.

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