This article is about avoiding the use of what is known as “duplicate content” in your online ads. More than just avoiding duplicate content, it’s also about creating unique and engaging content in it’s place.
To be clear, I mean copying (and pasting) product descriptions and feature lists from manufacturers websites or third party data providers like NADA – verbatim.
Before I get into this I want to start by saying that creating a lot of high quality and unique content isn’t necessarily easy or quick, but over the years working as an SEO consultant I have personally seen it to be effective and worthwhile; this practice has been integral in helping me produce online success stories (and continues to).
If your dealership is struggling with this, I recommend setting a goal to do at least half of your content “yourself” (i.e. you or your Internet Sales Manager/team) to start. Then see how that goes, and as your processes and capacity improves you can scale up to 100% (or as close to it as possible).
Let’s first establish the fact that duplicate content is generally bad for search. I don’t want you to miss this.
Google’s been giving website owners and content creators hints* on how to rank by saying these kinds of thing for years, and I quote (emphases added):
· The “Steps to a Google-friendly site” Google Webmaster Tools Support Page starts with this:
“Provide high-quality content on your pages, especially your homepage. This is the single most important thing to do.”
· This video from Google’s official “Search Quality Team” says:
“First and foremost, you want to create original content.“
· Moreover, the “Duplicate Content” page also from Google Webmaster Tools Support states that:
“Google tries hard to index and show pages with distinct information.”
There are many more examples of this kind of language from Google that I have come across in the past.
In essence, this means that there is no shortcut and no workaround to creating high quality, unique content (if you want to rank in organic search).
The good news is that once you clear all of that copied text out of your ads, there is plenty of room for:
- Effective calls-to-action
- Engaging descriptions
- Useful features lists
- Well-lit, high definition photos and videos
- Memorable and unique value propositions
- You can even use an advanced technique known as building customer personas, this is fun stuff that can even help improve your organization’s “corporate culture,” helping you be more customer-centric.
Suffice it to say duplicating content is “so ’90s” and not advisable if you want strong search engine rankings.
Drew Clifton is a web analytics and search engine optimization consultant with RVT.com.
*They’re more than hints really; Google has been direct and consistent with this type of messaging for some time.