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'Big' site SEO advice?

Discussion in 'White Hat SEO' started by Faberleen, Jul 27, 2017.

  1. Faberleen

    Faberleen Newbie

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    Hi guys,

    I have a big website for plumbers set up this way:

    20 subpages containing information on plumbing
    500 pages one for each city in the Netherlands which have common content, the only thing that changes it the townname pretty much

    Now i believe this common content will give us some issues + it's pretty hard to start linkbuilding.

    My plan is: create unique content for each region (one region contains around 10 pages/towns) in the Netherlands which will make sure we have less common content. Each of that region has 1 big city and i want to use canonicals and internal links to link from those 10 towns to the one big city.

    Do you think this will help push the big city to the top of the SERPS?
    Or would it be better to do something else?

    Thanks for reading.
     
  2. mbreezy

    mbreezy Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    You definitely want internally link to and from those pages, but I think that is the wrong use of the canonical tag. As I understand it, it is to help mitigate duplicate content from multiple URLs and consolidate on/off-page link equity, ie:

    You set the landing page to rel="canonical" href="https://example.com/123/"

    But you have external and internal links that have been indexed in these variations:

    https://example.com/123
    https://example.com/123.html
    https://example.com/123/?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=new-article1

    Google will know your preferred landing page and origination of the content was https://example.com/123/, now:
    • that is the URL they will show in the SERPs
    • this can potentially save on some crawl budget as well
    • /123/ and /123.html won't be splitting link signals

    The way you're describing using it doesn't make a lot of sense to me because you mentioned all pages will have unique content. This tag is used for things like: technical SEO, ecomm, and content syndication. It isn't really meant for manipulating the flow of context/semantics and backlinks.

    I've managed websites with 10k+ location pages. Those smaller regions are great low hanging fruit, so I would canonical them to their actual URL, and not another page.

    The URL structure you're looking for would go something like this:

    plumberwebsite.com/netherlands/big-cities/smaller-regions

    Don't try to flow your authority up through the smaller regions. Build your links straight to big cities you care about... especially if you can get local links from those big cities.

    If you're doing link bait blogs/articles, or link building to your service/product pages, have your internal links go to the parent folder/page of those big cities (ie /netherlands/).

    Channel your link equity from top to bottom, or focus on the priority big cities/landing pages themselves. I don't think you should try to trickle it up from pages that don't matter as much to you for two reasons: those smaller regions are lower competition/hanging fruit, and I'd rather have my links pointing directly to my most important pages and doing the best and most robust content on those pages.

    It is good to have to supporting/contextual content. If you want to rank for those big cities, it is good that you are semantically proving to Google your relevance by having a page about the regions located within those cities. But I believe you will see the most benefit from directly concentrating your best efforts and links to the big cities that are most important to you.
     
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    Last edited: Jul 27, 2017
  3. maildigger

    maildigger Power Member

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    If your going for the Google traffic I would delete the 500 pages with thin/similar content and redirect them to your new big city pages.
     
  4. raindance

    raindance Registered Member

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    To OP, I am also handling similar situation right now and put this off for two weeks now but for my client business is one city. My plan is quite similar to break city into say 4/5 bigger region say north south etc, then on each region have the sub region. I do not intend to try to catch all the sub region with a single page because if we are honest this is gonna be the same content but spun and I don't mean use spinner, I mean essentially you are gonna rewrite the very same info.

    I got a plan for that on mine by the way. I will get pics from my client for different service and then gives me "fresh" angle to write for them. Fresh image different service picture, slightly different thing to talk about 750 word + - per page will be ideal, but must avoid like the plague to overly reproduce this content to closely to its other sub region pages, you might even follow google guidelines if your careful ;)

    @mbreezy I like your link equity structure and I would recommend OP to link to some of the individual service page from those city. For example he talking about replace a tap, for user relevance he should link there to the replace a tap, the quality of info on replace a tap page gonna be far more likely to convert a client, link equity structure aside :) this is assuming great energy is put into this website main pages!

    don't do same for each sub page, be diverse and natural and if you can't I would wait till you think why you can - note I have put off job now for weeks ! ;)
     
  5. MisterF

    MisterF Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    Are you doing like a directory, where you rank the site then rent space out to advertisers?
     
  6. Nut-Nights

    Nut-Nights Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    OP that's not a big site but black hat one for sure.
     
  7. ThopHayt

    ThopHayt Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    If you use canonicals it is just telling Google to index one page as the "real" page and ignore the other pages as nothing more than different versions of that page. If you are wanting each city to rank individually in Google this is the wrong way to go about it.

    My advice... don't be lazy. Make SURE each city page IS unique, and just put them up one by one as you have time to write content. You can have SOME common content, but try to keep it to a fair minimum. Otherwise Google could view them as doorway pages assuming they all are otherwise identical. Ideally you should have a few slight variations of the page payout as well in order to avoid issues for sure.

    The other bonus of adding a few pages a day is that Google LOVES fresh content updates so they will be indexing your site like crazy.

    -ThopHayt
     
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  8. charliebrooker

    charliebrooker Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    Sounds like you need to restructure the pages, make each truly unique and targeted, mentioning local names, places and addresses, and build strong internal and relevant inbound links. Big job!
     
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  9. Faberleen

    Faberleen Newbie

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    Thanks alot for your reply! I didn't quite understand canonicals i see...

    Right now i have 500 separate pages for each city, so: /city. Should i change it to: /bigcity/smalltown or keep it this way and use linkbuilding for the big cities only?
     
  10. mbreezy

    mbreezy Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    Here is the canonical guidelines from Google: https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/139066?hl=en

    For the URLs:

    With proper internal linking to the smalltown pages, having the structure /bigcity/smalltown would help pass link equity/juice/PR to the small town pages... while /bigcity/ would, of course, get the full initial PR and some of it will flow to the smalltown pages. That is really the biggest benefit of a URL structure like that.

    One other option is maybe having a different folder like /services, or /availbility... ie /services/city. So any links you build to /services would pass PR to the city pages. However, with 500 cities, it will be difficult to get the internal linking to be natural (basically you'd have link farm of 500 internal links on that page, and Googlebot might now like it.

    It might even make sense to structure the URLs like /services/bigcity/smalltown(s). That way, everything you build to /services and /bigcity trickles down to /smalltown. But then again, the competition should be very low in those small towns... so you may not need very much PR for those pages... or none at all. Often times no one has created a page for that location... so just having an indexed page with content on it alone will rank.

    The biggest down side to just going with /city:
    The internal linking can be difficult. Even with XML and HTML sitemaps, Googlebot might not crawl all 500 pages and the PR that is being spread to all 500 links would be very little for each of the 500 pages. With the previously mentioned structures, it would be easier to create what I think is a better internal linking structure for crawl-ability and spreading link equity/PR.

    In the end, because the smalltowns are not as competitive, you should be ok as long as you're focusing your best SEO efforts on the big cities that return the most value/volume.

    Also, one disclaimer. Google can sometimes view these types of pages as "doorway" pages. You'll be ok until you get manually reviewed... and then you might get hit with a manual action for thin/spam content. So it is important to make these pages as unique and valuable to users as possible in order to avoid any issue of a manual review in the future.
     
  11. Mark Anthony

    Mark Anthony BANNED BANNED

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    Yes! That is a great idea by the way..
     
  12. timothyc3r

    timothyc3r BANNED BANNED Jr. VIP

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    That's a lot did you experienced being penalized?