Dumb SEO Questions

(Entry was posted by Novem Harder on this post in the Dumb SEO Questions community on Facebook, 07/18/2013).

Duplicate content on regional websites.

I just want to confirm regarding duplicate content practices. 
We have five websites and four of them are our regional websites with location specific tld`s such as co.uk, .com.au, com.sg and .com.my. 

Of course creating different content for each regional website will require more time as well resources. But will our regional website be penalized if we have the same content as wit our main website?  

We have copied the content of our main website to our regional websites and but we have made some changes such as having the local addresses and numbers. 

Your inputs on this will be greatly appreciated. thanks !
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Selected answers from the Dumb SEO Questions Facebook & G+ community.

  • Victor Castillejos: I have customer that do the same without any problems, try to customize as much as you can each regional website. use  ;geo meta tags for each website.
  • Novem Harder: the websites been up like a couple of months already but so far traffic are still stable. i'm still doing some observations. just really want to confirm, after all no one wants to be penalized by search engines especially Google. ;

    Thanks +Victor Castillejos ; !  ;

    Looking forward for more inputs . =) ;
  • Nevin Thompson: What you ought to do is have one main domain, and redirect the regional sites to that domain (obviously all sites are in English rather than local language, otherwise you would not be faced with the duplicate content issue).

    Then, on your main site, have subsites or pages for each region. Be sure to include NAP information on each subsite or page. Use schema or highlighting (in WMT) to ensure Google understands the addresses.

    Update your site in directories with the correct information.
  • Novem Harder: +Nevin Thompson ;Actually no redirections are made. We cloned the the main website then just made some changes on the addresses and contact numbers. The schema suggestion is great, haven't thought of it until you mentioned it. Thanks +Nevin Thompson ;
  • Bhupendra Rathore: my friend also done the same before 1 yr ago for his websites...there is no problem at all.....till now.
  • Nevin Thompson: >Actually no redirections are made. We cloned the the main website then just made some changes on the addresses and contact numbers. ;

    No, what I am saying is you need to redirect all URL's to one main site. If you clone the sites, only one will show up in Google results anyway. The others will be marked "duplicate content" and will never show up.
  • chiejoung poon: What you also can do is add the canonical tag and point to your main domain. Has the same effect as Nevins idea: preventing duplicate content in the eyes of Google.
  • Nevin Thompson: Ah yes, that's right. Duh.
  • Novem Harder: cool. will implement canonical tags on our regional sites then. thanks for your inputs guys :) ;
  • bharat thakare: If you have the same content for different country websites, you can do the following:
    1. Ensure that the content style if local. For example, "optimization" in US and "optimisation" in Australia. Also, have local addresses, numbers etc.
    2. Go to webmaster tools and set target country for respective websites.
    3. Use ahref lang tag on all the websites linking to each other.

    This way Google will understand that all websites are different versions of the same website.
  • Nevin Thompson: Duplicate content will still be seen as duplicate content (without a canonical tag) and will therefore incur a penalty.

    The thing is, you are going to have a problem even if you use the canonical tag, because the non-canonical sites will not be indexed by Google and cannot compete locally. So you won't have a local presence unless you create unique content.
  • bharat thakare: This link should help - https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/189077?hl=en

View original question in the Dumb SEO Questions community on Facebook, 07/18/2013).

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