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PPC, duplicate content and quality score

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# 1
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I'm running a campaign for an electrician, who is targeting towns in his county. He has a page for each town, as the majority of the traffic comes from electrician +town. The content of each page is the same, with the exception of the town name. Obviously this is an SEO no no, but what about PPC? My understanding has always been that it's not an issue. However, he is suffering from low landing page quality scores.

 

  • Each campaign is highly focused. Only 1 keyword, that is reflected in the ad copy and the landing page. 
  • The website is well designed and responsive.
  • High conversion rates.

Yet the landing page score is 4-5. I've gone over the website over and over and the only possible lead I have is the duplicate content. 

 

Anything else I should look at while trying to diagnose the issue? Or is this likely to be caused by the duplicate content?

 

FWIW I'm aware Google advises a single page listing all the towns, but this results in a lower conversion rate and I tend be slightly cynical when reading Google's guidelines.

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Accepted by topic author Paul M
September 2015

Re: PPC, duplicate content and quality score

[ Edited ]
Top Contributor
# 2
Top Contributor

Hello, Paul. Without getting into more details, it is clearly an issue if you have duplicate content, both from a PPC point of view and from an organic one.

But there's a way out of it: one single page + the keyword passed as a parameter in the URL via valuetrack, and the town name that changes according to the keyword being passed.

Couldn't you implement that?

Calin Sandici, AdWords Top Contributor | Find me on: Google+ | Twitter | LinkedIn | myBlog
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Marked as Best Answer.
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Accepted by topic author Paul M
September 2015

Re: PPC, duplicate content and quality score

[ Edited ]
Top Contributor
# 2
Top Contributor

Hello, Paul. Without getting into more details, it is clearly an issue if you have duplicate content, both from a PPC point of view and from an organic one.

But there's a way out of it: one single page + the keyword passed as a parameter in the URL via valuetrack, and the town name that changes according to the keyword being passed.

Couldn't you implement that?

Calin Sandici, AdWords Top Contributor | Find me on: Google+ | Twitter | LinkedIn | myBlog
Was my response helpful? If yes, please mark it as the ‘Best Answer.’ Learn how here.

Re: PPC, duplicate content and quality score

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# 3
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Hi Calin, I could implement this yes. Would it not be seen as the same thing? Thanks for responding.

Re: PPC, duplicate content and quality score

[ Edited ]
Top Contributor
# 4
Top Contributor

Don't mention it, Paul.

I don't think it would, if you use a rel=canonical that points to the default location for each of these dynamic URLs.

Everybody does it all the time, especially for E-Commerce websites where you have zillions of URL parameters for sorting and faceting / filtering and I think this is exactly your case.

Of course, there is another way, which is trying to alter the content slightly for each location, expressing the same things with slightly different words / phrases. But when you have many locations and URLs that is a lot of work.

Don't forget to redirect all old URLs to the new ones so that Google realizes that from now on it's a single URL that matters (one that points to your headquarters).

Also, please note that if you want to rank organically as well, for all the service + location queries, then you definitely need different content placed at URLs such as www.example.com/service/location1 , www.example.com/service/location2, etc. The canonical implementation will only rank for service + headquarters.

Calin Sandici, AdWords Top Contributor | Find me on: Google+ | Twitter | LinkedIn | myBlog
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Re: PPC, duplicate content and quality score

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 5
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Hi Calin, thanks for your input. I did consider going down the unique content route but it's just more trouble than it's worth. I am going to implement the query strings with a canonical tag and redirect the old URL's.

I'll update with any progress. Thanks Smiley Happy

Re: PPC, duplicate content and quality score

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 6
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
Amusingly I was logged in to his Adwords account when replying. Oh boy.

Re: PPC, duplicate content and quality score

Top Contributor
# 7
Top Contributor
Smiley Happy

Best of luck, Paul, let us know how it turns out.
Calin Sandici, AdWords Top Contributor | Find me on: Google+ | Twitter | LinkedIn | myBlog
Was my response helpful? If yes, please mark it as the ‘Best Answer.’ Learn how here.

Re: PPC, duplicate content and quality score

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# 8
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I've implemented the solution, it makes sense. Would you 301 to the /?=town parameter or directly to the homepage. I opted for the parameter so /town-1/ not redirects to ?=town1 that has a canonical tag to /

Or would you have gone directly for the 301 to the homepage?

Re: PPC, duplicate content and quality score

Top Contributor
# 9
Top Contributor
I would 301 all old location-related URLs to a main location-related URL, not the homepage, as they should have different content, I assume.

So when all is deployed, you'd end up with many location-related URLs to which you send AdWords traffic, while using a canonical to a main location-related URL.

Also, for old URLs, I'd 301 to the same location-related URL.
Calin Sandici, AdWords Top Contributor | Find me on: Google+ | Twitter | LinkedIn | myBlog
Was my response helpful? If yes, please mark it as the ‘Best Answer.’ Learn how here.

Re: PPC, duplicate content and quality score

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# 10
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Right, the master page is actually the homepage. This focuses on the county as a whole. Then /?=town-name is the query which then replaces the keyword with the town name.

The old url was domain.com/town-1
New url is domain.com/?=town-1

The 301 goes from /town-1 to /?=town-1

I also updated all the urls in adwords so that no redirects take place from the ad click.

Thanks for the clarification.