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Getting Found in Google: The Impact of Duplicate Content and Ads on Page

By Julie King |

The duplicate content fiasco

A major concern post-Panda are cases of duplicated - and in some cases stolen content - ranking above the original source.

This concern was echoed strongly on Google's Webmaster Forums after Panda was released.

"The truth is, they just don't know," said Craver of Google's ability to distinguish original content from copies.

The issue of scraper sites appearing above the original content source is supposed to have been addressed in an update to Panda that Google rolled out shortly after the conference. Time will tell how effective it is in restoring sites that produce the original content in the search rankings.

One audience member at the panel had a client who blogged extensively and saw traffic to the main website drop post-Panda while incoming traffic from Bing and Yahoo had increased. However, he was very surprised to see that duplicated content on sub-domains for his client's site - which should not have come above the main site - ranked well and were getting more traffic.

This could be, as Davies pointed out, yet more support for the idea that user signals are now strongly influencing page rankings.

If users are interacting differently on the sub-domain (which is regionalized) this could be why the sub-domains are performing better in search than the main website.

All panellists agreed with Van Horne that Google now treats sub-domains as just another folder of the domain, something that's been in place for about a year and a half now. Van Horne recommended that sites in this position compare data between the two domains to identify the key factors that are affecting ranking of the main domain.

Ads on page important element

Van Horne raised the issue of the number of ads appearing on a page as a factor in Panda, noting that sites hit by the Panda update had five to ten ads appearing on each page, whereas three is the ideal.

Posting ads from more than one ad network may also be a problem.

"A big one, is if you bring in another ad partner, they don't like that at all," said Van Horne. "They don't mind so much if it's your own advertiser [where you sell ad space direct to the end customer]. As a side note, what I used to do with Ad Sense is take it out for a while, shut it down, and then go buy advertising directly from the people that were using Google. It's a lot cheaper."

Next »: A look at the Google +1 button, tag pages and new meta tag options

Page 1: Panda-pocalypse Survival Guide at SES Toronto
Page 2: The duplicate content fiasco and problem with too many ads on the page
Page 3: A look at the Google +1 button, tag pages and new meta tag options
Page 4: Action steps, putting advice from this session into action

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