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I need to target about 70 near duplicate keywords. Let's use the real estate example. The keywords would be "Chicago real-estate", "Milwaukee real-estate", etc.
I am considering the following approaches (Note, please do not hesitate to scream No No No, if you see I am about to cut my own throat)
1. Use 70 near duplicate pages with real content. Basically, same content, except a script will be used to substitute the city name in the title and body text and links. They will also differ in that each page will feature a few listings unique to that city.
2. Use a single (large) page that contains all 70 keywords.
3. Themes? I have read a little about this here in the past. Can someone tell me whether themes apply in this case?
Approach #1: I have read some engines such as AV do not like near-duplicate pages. Fine, I can figure out someting else for AV. The important SE is google. According to their do's and don'ts, they say they don't want program generated doorways. They also want to refer people to "content, not doorways or splash pages". The pages in approach #1 could arguably be considered program generated, but it can also be seen as real content. Someone searching for "Chicago real-estate" would indeed find that page relevant. I have read posts here that near-duplicate content accross different domains can get you into trouble with Google. Is this true of near-duplicate content inside a single domain too?
Approach #2: Safer, but not as powerful since I lose the effect of the Title tag for each of my keywords.
Approach #3: Do themes apply? Is this the reason, many webmasters began launching other related domains?
I thank you all for your valuable opinions
It all depends on how competitive your keyword phrases are. For real estate, you definitely won't be able to do it that way but if the phrases are not competitive, you may be able to rank under both with one page.
Then you can dynamically create those sub pages to show something like 10 results for each area. Then from those pages people can search or browse "Boston real estate", etc... I'd just make sure I had enough unique content on those sub pages. And very importantly that they linked to unique content, ie. boston real estate. If your 70 sub pages link to the same info then you will surely get pinned for SPAM...
It seems to me that the ultimate arbiter of what is or is not spam is: Does the page have a legitimate reason to exist? Is the page honest, appropriate and natural? Yes, do hand-tweak each page so that each page has its own personality. The above approach works well for me. Good luck.