Is Duplicate Content Ever Okay?

Duplicate content has been undesirable for websites since last century, so it was no surprise when long-time clients Surreal said they needed a little duplicate content problem fixed. They have a show going on that needs to be promoted at Surreal Chicago and Surreal NYC, as well as in numerous social media channels and other websites. The basic information will be the same, and what they have above the fold is really what their visitors want to know.

Still, New Year’s Eve parties are very competitive, and Surreal wants to be sure that their party — in a space that can hold 14,000 — is highly visible to people searching for an exciting way to ring in the New Year in the Windy City. They needed a few quick, exciting paragraphs to distinguish their sites from the others.

It’s a good example of one of the situations in which duplicate content can really be an issue. A description of an event may really need just the time, place, and associated celebrities. How can you add unique content without ending up with “thin” content or keyword stuffing?

The problem is related to the issue that often arises for e-commerce. The truth is, one pair of men’s underwear or box of glowsticks is very like another. It requires some lateral thinking to come up with unique descriptions for a whole bunch of really similar items.  It’s worth it, though. The search engines don’t have people checking out websites and saying, “Ah, I see, they’re just using the manufacturer’s description as all the other vendors do. That’s fine.” They have robots quickly analyzing content for duplication or suspiciously frequent keywords. It’s all numbers.

I fixed up some details about the party, the venue, and the performers. Site visitors may or may not read it (they may be wondering about the parking and nearby hotels, you know), but the search engines will understand from it that there is a human being writing Surreal’s stuff, not a robot smearing scrapings on their wall.

There is always something new to say. Always. Say it, or hire someone like me to do it for you. There’s just no reason to take a chance.







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