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A short description on every page
Will it trigger a duplicate content filter?
pcgamez




msg:757645
 1:45 am on Nov 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

I run a site that contains information on books. Unfortunately, a small but significant percentage of people confuse the purpose of the site, thinking that I am affiliated with authors/publishers/whatever. The site name and everything else is very clear that it is a general database, not something specific to an author. I believe the issue is that younger people get to the site and see information on an author and think that this is all there is to the site.

To solve this problem, i've been thinking about adding a short (2 sentence) description of the site near the top of every page. Not only should it solve the problem, it should invite users to explore the site more.

Now, the question is, how can I do this without being penalized. The site has around 55,000 legit pages. On some pages, this description may constitute up to about 20% of the text (though probably closer to 3-5% on most). I am concerned that this will trigger some kind of sitewide duplicate content filter, resulting in a penalization.

Anyone have any experience with this or insights?

 

DamonHD




msg:757646
 10:43 am on Nov 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

Hi,

Do what is right *for the users* and if the common description is not the dominant portion of the text on the page I do not think that it will do you any harm in the SEs.

Rgds

Damon

kaled




msg:757647
 10:54 am on Nov 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

Bung the text in an <iframe> and the (potential) problem is solved.

Kaled.

MHes




msg:757648
 12:05 pm on Nov 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

Good suggestion from Kaled.

If the duplicate text is under 10% of the total text on a page I would guess that it is not a problem and just be ignored, like most template stuff, but better safe than sorry.

4string




msg:757649
 3:37 pm on Nov 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

Why not add a descriptive byline to your logo graphic? My philosophy is to instantly tell the visitors what the site is about with a few short simple words. You only have a few seconds.

ken_b




msg:757650
 3:46 pm on Nov 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

I had the same problem. What I found worked best was put the site description very close to the "contact us" link, and on my "contact us" page. Solved most of the problem.

But do try to keep it short, as in 3 or 4 short sentences at the most, people just don't read anything like that if it's too long.

I like the I-frame idea, I might make that change myself. I haven't had a duplicate comtent issue from this. But I have changed the wording a couple times and using an I-frame would have made that easier.

kaled




msg:757651
 5:23 pm on Nov 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

It's worth noting that if the text contains keywords, using an <iframe> could be detrimental to rankings. On the other hand, if it does not contain keywords, using an <iframe> might have a small beneficial effect. In any case, I would add a noindex robots meta tag to the included page.

Kaled.

abbeyvet




msg:757652
 5:49 pm on Nov 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

I have a small piece of text with a similar purpose that appears on many pages of a site and what I did was write the same thing in about 9-10 different ways, put each one in a .txt file and randomly include them.

This not only deals with the duplicate text issue, but also means the pages change just a little all the time. That works for users because they tend not to become blind to the text.

pcgamez




msg:757653
 5:50 pm on Nov 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

Being unfamiliar with iframe, is this the same as an included file in PHP? The site is 100% PHP/MySQL at the moment. The description will end up having a lot of keywords in it, that cannot be avoided due to the topic.

crypter




msg:757654
 6:02 pm on Nov 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

We had the same problem with a site. We made the text we wanted to include on every page into a graphic.

kaled




msg:757655
 7:07 pm on Nov 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

Being unfamiliar with iframe, is this the same as an included file in PHP? The site is 100% PHP/MySQL at the moment. The description will end up having a lot of keywords in it, that cannot be avoided due to the topic.

<iframe> includes are VERY DIFFERENT.
<iframe> is client-side not server-side.

Moving the text into a server-side include (however implemented) will have zero effect other than, perhaps, increasing the load on your server slightly.

Think of an <iframe> like an <img> however, instead of a graphic you include text. However, there is at least one critical difference... whilst <img> can be sized automatically <iframe> cannot - typically you might set width=100%

Kaled.

dibbern2




msg:757656
 7:42 pm on Nov 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

I've dealt with this problem by setting the text into a simple gif image. A very, very easy solution.

It's true that you're probably okay including such things in your code up to 10%(who knows for sure?) of the total content, but these little things have a way of snowballing... a little navbar, a little copyright statement, etc, etc, and suddenly you're 'way over 10% (or whatever limit).

ronin100




msg:757657
 8:45 pm on Nov 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

Thanks for the great tip on using a graphic for something important and "viewable" into a graphic!

Sweet, never heard of that one, but I have a couple of spots for them immediately!

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