Figuring out what to have on your website can be tough. There’s the easy part: home page, contact page, product/service pages. But then what else do you have?
The answer to that question is part of the strategy of Content Marketing. This post is not about Content Marketing, however, but just an introduction to one of the fundamental mistakes a website owner can make: duplicate content.
When launching your website, you want to make sure that you have enough content related to your business that potential clients will find your site. How to do that is covered elsewhere. Here I just want to talk about what not to do.
Certain pages on your website are going to be pretty unique:
- your homepage should be an attractive place for your potential clients to find you,
- your contact page should contain all the many ways – address, phone, email, fax, social media, text – that people can contact your business
- your about page should tell your company’s story.
But what do you do about your service or product pages, where the easiest thing to do is create a template and reuse it?
And what do you do about a blog? Isn’t the easiest thing to do to hire someone cheap in India to do it for you?
There’s a temptation for the small business owner to use templates or to use cheap labour to create tons of content for their site. There is one thing you need to keep in mind before creating content, especially if you are using templates: your content must be unique.
When I say “unique” I don’t mean 100% unique. What I mean is that it must be different enough from other content to unique in the eyes of Google and other search engines. What we’re talking about is about 20-30% similar words from another page, whether that page is on your website or someone else’s.
So, if you use a template for your service or product pages, you’ll need to check each one against each other to ensure you have changed enough of the page.
If you hire someone cheap to write for you, you need to make sure they’re not just copying someone else’s stuff.
How do you do that?
Checking for Duplicate Content
It’s really quite easy. There are a few steps:
- Put your home page into Siteliner. Siteliner will tell you the percentage of duplicate content you have on each indexable page of your site versus all the other pages. You can use Siteliner to see exactly which words and phrases are copied or you can use CopyScape.
- Put any specific pages created for you by a freelancer into CopyScape. This site will check a particular page against much of the internet. It’s not perfect, but it’s easier than doing it yourself.
- Use the CopyScape Comparison tool to see exactly what is the same on any two pages on the internet. This tool is easier to use than Siteliner’s, in my opinion, and will let you work through a page making enough changes to lower your percentages next time you check your site through Siteliner.
That’s all you need to do. I suggest doing these steps before you launch your site initially and then running step 2 every time you purchase a piece of content from someone. Any time you add more pages yourself, you should run step 1.