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When Is Duplicate Content Acceptable For Local SEO? Google Explains

Google's John Mueller clarified that localized duplicate content across regional websites is acceptable. Unique content is still recommended for specific page types.

  • Google doesn't penalize duplicate content on localized websites.
  • Translating or customizing core content for local markets is acceptable.
  • However, unique content is still needed for certain pages.

As businesses cater to diverse geographic markets, handling duplicate content across localized websites is a concern for SEO professionals and digital marketers.

Search Relations team member John Mueller clarified this issue in the latest installment of Google’s monthly SEO office hours.

When asked directly, “Does Google penalize duplicate content for localized websites?” Mueller responded:

“The answer here is no. Localized content is not considered duplicate content.”

When Duplicate Content Is Acceptable In Local SEO

Duplicate content is a concern as Google has historically viewed excessive duplication as an attempt to manipulate rankings.

Muller’s response acknowledges that businesses operating in multiple regions must adapt content to specific locales through translation or cultural customization.

Localized duplication is deemed acceptable because it serves the purpose of delivering tailored experiences to global audiences.

Examples

Based on this statement by Mueller, here are some examples of localized duplicate content that would likely be considered acceptable by Google:

  • Having the same website content duplicated across different language versions of the site (e.g. an English version and a Spanish version with the same content translated).
  • Using the same core product/service descriptions on location-specific pages or subdomains for different cities.
  • Duplicating company background/about information across different location websites or landing pages.
  • Maintaining consistent NAP (name, address, phone) business listing information across directories, location pages, etc.

When Duplicate Content Is Unacceptable In Local SEO

Mueller’s guidance isn’t a blanket approval of duplicating content indiscriminately across locations.

As outlined in our article on the subject, duplicate content is unacceptable for certain pages.

Examples

The following types of localized pages shouldn’t contain duplicate content:

  • Service Area Pages: These location-specific pages should contain unique descriptions of how your service or solution meets the needs of customers in that particular area. Duplicate content here could send conflicting signals.
  • City/Metro Landing Pages: When targeting visibility in a new city or metro area, craft fresh content incorporating local landmarks, surrounding suburbs, customer testimonials, and other localized details.
  • Articles/Blogs: Take advantage of the opportunity to create hyper-local, timely content tailored to trending topics and real-time events in your targeted cities. Use formats like lists, videos and infographics.

Related: How to Solve Duplicate Content Issues

Why SEJ Cares

Mueller’s statement is important for websites that maintain localized versions, as it alleviates concerns over potential penalties.

This allows businesses to focus on reaching global audiences without fear of repercussions.


Featured Image: Screenshot from YouTube.com/GoogleSearchCentral, June 2024. 

Category News SEO
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SEJ STAFF Matt G. Southern Senior News Writer at Search Engine Journal

Matt G. Southern, Senior News Writer, has been with Search Engine Journal since 2013. With a bachelor’s degree in communications, ...

When Is Duplicate Content Acceptable For Local SEO? Google Explains

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