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Is more content better? SEO Mythbusting

December 16, 2020 by in Agency

so what would you say for a publisher type of website that might talk about the same topic every year um maybe the content's a little bit different but it's largely the same conversation like let's say they're talking about a certain type of skincare treatment and they talk about it in 2017 and 2018 and 2019 right do you think they should take the same piece of content and update it each year or should they have three different pages well if it's it depends on if it's an incremental change that happened as in like if the skincare routine is pretty much the same as it was last year um you can maybe rephrase it a little bit but i would say you update the existing page and maybe just reposition it somewhere more prominently on your website for the for the visitors to see but i wouldn't create a new page that basically says the same thing because especially when they're really similar we might just think one is a duplication of the other and then canonicalize them together no matter what you do in canonical attacks [Music] [Applause] [Music] hello and welcome to seo mythbusting in this episode my guest is lily ray seo director at path interactive and uh we're going to discuss an interesting topic that you might want to learn more about what is it that you brought for us today we're going to talk about if if too much content is a good thing for seo or not all right so what is it that people believe about this what is the questions that you keep hearing and wonder about yeah i think a lot of companies think that maybe content's good for seo so we should produce a lot of it because it'll help us rank for a lot of different keywords and maybe we should put out a new blog post every single week to the point where their their website has thousands of blog posts and maybe they're not performing really well so i think a lot of people have a question about how much content should i really have and to what extent does this actually help my performance oh that's a really good question so i think just going back to the basics your key is to provide information to your users right how much content is good for that depends a little bit on what you're doing if you're a new site and sure cover as much of the happenings that you can but if your website is about a specific product then there is only so much you can say about it and just keeping rambling on in a single page is not helping you much right so you would think that maybe having a blog that talks about industry updates or things that are relevant for that company is are worthwhile but maybe not to just produce content for the sake of producing no not for the sake of producing content if you have something like if you have a product that is very versatile and different users or different customers are using it in very different ways then this would be an interesting thing to provide basically say like oh look our product can be used for this our product can be used for that but just for the sake of content having that's basically the same as having light content or useless content really and then you're just spending crawling and you're spending resources on things that are not performing much right is like the presence of a blog and showing google that you're producing new content something that helps your performance overall as a as a kind of site-wide factor not necessarily i mean it is not a sideways factor but uh if again this is your blog or your website is about something that is basically happening on a regular basis or has a lot of updates to it then that can help you bring relevant content to users that would otherwise maybe not find to your website especially if your users don't know about what you're doing then the blog that reports on current events or developments can actually help people understand that oh there's this company that does this interesting thing right but it doesn't change your search performance or like ranking or anything it's just providing something relevant and useful to users that is going to help you um if you're just putting it out to have a blog or if you're just like hey we we just have content that keeps updating and changing without actually giving value to the user then that's not helping you much so if you have an older piece of content would you recommend that if it's a high quality piece of content do you need to go back in there and make updates or should you only do that when something significant has changed i think you should update it if something significant has changed for sure um if nothing has really changed what you can do instead is you can write something different new content have a fresh piece of content and just link that other piece of content to say like hey by the way this is like referring this is not about necessarily you search relevancy or anything but it's more helping the user understand that there is other interesting content for them and it's keeping keeping them on your website making sure that they get the information they were looking for definitely is there any way that google tells us if there's too much content or maybe that content's underperforming like can we look at our crawl stats to figure that something like that out so crossouts are a bad place to look at this because the fact that we're not crawling something again does not mean that we are thinking it's bad or it's good if we're crawling it often what's more interesting would be to look at the performance report for instance in search console if you are seeing that you get a lot of impressions but not that many clicks you might want to change something about the content if you are getting a lot of clicks through it but then you see in your analytics that actually not much action happens then you can ask yourself is the traffic worth it or do i need to change my content there there's no such thing as too much content it's just again think from the user's perspective what is the thing that i want the user to understand and is the user interested in spending time on a page where they need 27 minutes to read everything right yeah you get to decide definitely if there's a lot of content that's not necessarily performing well on the website could that be something that kind of brings down the overall trustworthiness or authority of the website from google's perspective that depends a bit on what is the reason for it not performing if it's spammy content if it's very thin content then that can bring you down a little bit in terms of uh we might just spend crawl budget on pages that aren't in the end not performing or not even being indexed anymore and you might actually want to avoid having spammy content and bad content especially if you get penalties or manual actions you want to definitely clean up there but besides that it is usually a good idea to see oh this piece of content really does not perform well let's take it down or at least change it right and what would you think for like companies that have something like a help center where there's a lot of content that answers very specific questions but maybe it's only one or two sentences per page and maybe they have 500 pages of that nature would you say that's something that they should remain indexed on google or how does google treat those types of pages that's a really good question um that might be treated as light content as like as thin content and not not necessarily useful i would try to group these things and structure them in a meaningful way if it's a question about a specific like range of products then you can group all these questions together to one page or if you have questions in the category of troubleshooting or operating them the thing that you're trying to sell try to group this together to have more dense and helpful pages in one go because how likely is it that i have exactly one question right if i have one question i might have a follow-up question or i might have a similar question so putting these all together is a good idea so grouping it together i think that's one common theme that we talk about a lot in the seo world now is kind of consolidation yes so do you think there's a case to be made for one maybe you have two pieces of pretty similar content and they would be better as one single article so doing a lot of merging and redirecting definitely that's something that google's kind of appreciative when we do those types of things we have less crawling to do that's great uh we also know where to send the users then and there's a chance that if you have similar things that these come from organizational reasons like it's one department thinks about it and another department thinks about it none of these two talk to each other so if you consolidate that you you bundle more relevancy and information in one place and that makes it easier for us to figure out oh yeah this is a good site to check this out and then get the use of this information uh rather than cannibalizing each other or just like being duplication and what about word count seos are always asking is word count a ranking factor which i think google's talked about quite a bit yeah we've talked about this quite a lot and it's not a ranking factor if you can say what the user needs to know in 50 words that is fantastic if you need 100 words that's cool if you need two thousand words that's also absolutely acceptable it's again about trying to figure out what's the intention if you see yourself repeating yourself multiple times and saying the same things over and over again in the same document or the same page what's the point yeah well let's say you're in a situation where you've written 500 words for a specific topic or keyword that you're trying to rank for and you see all your competitors have 4 000 words or something like that even though word count's not technically a ranking factor that's probably a good indication that you need longer content right i mean it depends just because other people are doing it doesn't mean that they're doing it right right so if if you see them the rank high that might not continue to be that way just because they have a high word count again try to understand what is it that the users need maybe the larger word count just accidentally hits the right bits and of information that people are looking for and actually fits the query intention of the user better than what you're writing in this case if you can reformulate it so that your 500 words are better than go with that okay don't be the school kid that goes like furthermore as i was seeing just like to fill in unnecessary language yeah and what's kind of the criteria for determining if something is spammy or auto-generated so take for example if you have 50 location pages for 50 states and you want to talk about the business which is largely the same in all those places but you basically just swap out the name of the city and maybe add a couple a couple facts about that city for example how does google perceive those pages that's a really tricky one because either they work or they don't right right um so generally speaking if you are using generated content and that is really relevant and good and a human sees this and goes oh i like this you're probably on the right track that can work for these pages where you have different information for different cities but it's pretty much like the same kind of formula behind it um if you have enough like facts around it and there's relevant information in there that changes city to city that might really work it might also not if it's too similar and you basically that's i we see that in in places like germany sometimes that there are literally two sides of a river and then they're having like two different pages for this but they say pretty much the exact same things maybe like five words are different or something like that uh and maybe a few numbers here and there like different number of people there or whatever then we might just consider one duplication of the other and not put it in the index we might de-dupe it and and eliminate it from the index and then there's that not much you can do if we think it's the same kind of content then what's the point why would we show the same content on multiple urls right then we come back to canonicalization really but if you have information that is good enough and different enough from the other bits and pieces go for it okay so you would encourage businesses that are in that position where they do need to target highly localized keywords that it's okay to have those pages but really invest in making them as unique as possible make them relevant and helpful for the user the user is the key here really and if you're just copying data over from one place to another is that that helpful not exactly not exactly yeah can you talk a little bit more about how google treats or how does google determine what duplicate content is what's the threshold for duplication i'm actually not sure what the threshold really is but i know that we are basically fingerprinting the content and the fingerprint is done in a way that allows us to say how similar is it right we use different different similarity metrics and figure out okay so this is pretty much 95 of this is the same thing we see again we see that in the german-speaking countries a lot where for instance a shop operates in switzerland and germany and austria all of this is in german and then they have the same product and the price is slightly different due to whatever reason uh switzerland has a different currency but that's pretty much the entire difference maybe they use a few different words because the the local dialects are different sure so you have a thousand words in in each of the product descriptions maybe and like reviews and whatnot but uh the price is different the currency might be different if in switzerland and there might be like five different words or something like that and that we consider them all to be the same and then you can actually shoot yourself on the foot when you're like trying to canonicalize all of them because we're like that's not a helpful signal because we determined that what you think is individual pieces of content is actually kind of the same thing yeah but hreflang can and help again and make sure that we are surfacing the right version so we might only be indexing and canonicalizing one of them but we will be showing the different versions of these depending on where the person who's searching uh is got it located use hreflang when there's different dialects and different definitely if that's your issue but if it's literally just the content is slightly different because maybe you have different prices or something like that then we would consider that the same content got it thank you so much for being here and talking with me like through all these questions regarding content and what is good content and what's too much and what's not enough content and uh this was really helpful and interesting and thanks so much for making it here thanks for having me i think you answered a lot of questions that i have in my clients house so i really appreciate it hopefully this will be useful for everyone out there and thank you very much for watching thank you so the next episode we have barry schwartz visiting and we're going to be talking about seo community and google and how we can like you know make the relationship better hopefully looking forward to it

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