What happens when you have content that legitimately belongs in multiple places? How can you get content to appear everywhere it belongs, while avoiding a mess of duplicate content?

The answer to these issues is cross pollination. You have to learn to set up your content so that it lives in one place but so that links to the content can be easily and/or automatically pushed out to various locations throughout the site where appropriate.

How can you create intuitive paths for users to find relevant content when it lives in various places throughout the site?

The answer to this is convergence. If you are building out your content in a good tree like structure as described in the previous lesson, you may find that different branches of the tree sometimes have a good reason to grow back together, rather than to keep growing further apart. These convergent sections can become a hub that houses information that needs to be shared by multiple branches of the tree (sections of the site).

These are very common problems and can usually be addressed using one of the techniques described below.

Example 1: Companies often offer a variety of products and services that share some of the same features with other products or services. But, repeating the same feature information in multiple places around the site will present duplicate content issues that will ultimately harm your SEO.

Possible Solutions:

  • Solution A: One of the most important considerations when tackling this problem is whether how much good quality content can you write about each feature. If it’s only a few sentences, then you should consider just creating a features page for each product or service, as long as each product or service has a different mix of features.

  • Solution B: If many of the features are shared across many of the different product or service categories, then you may want to build out a separate features section giving each feature its own page and then pulling a short summary of each feature into the appropriate places throughout the site. The critical decision here is whether or not each feature can support its own page. You should avoid adding pages with under 400 words of content whenever possible. Therefore, if you can write at least 400 words about each feature, then this could be a great content section.

    By building out a feature section like a blog you can use each feature name as the title of the page, and pull the page titles and maybe even the summaries, into a blog roll that is styled to look like a feature list. This strategy makes it easy to pull the feature name and/or summary feature description into anywhere you want it to be featured on the site. By creating tags to match each service or package, you can set it up to automatically populate the appropriate sections of the appropriate pages with the appropriate features.

  • Solution C: If you find that you cannot write at least 400 words of good quality and interesting information on each feature, then you may want to group features into categories and present each category page as a list of features. You can still include links next to each feature that link to the products or services that apply.

  • Example 2: Another example is a full content page, such as an article or blog, that belongs in multiple categories. It is very common for bloggers to come up with a set of tags and then get a bit lazy and assign that same set of tags to most/every blog they post. This definitely causes duplicate content problems. Remember, categories and tags are essentially the same thing. The problem is that every tag becomes a blog roll. It's not so bad to have the blog show up in many blog rolls, but it is bad if the actual blog is being published under a different URL for every blog roll where it appears.

    Solution: It is always best if a page actually lives in just one location of your site. This is important for avoiding duplicate content and making sure that all of the likes, shares and links that the content gets will be going to one page. You can do this by just using either categories or tags and setting up your blog rolls to pull in content based on tags, but make sure that each page has a permanent URL no matter what blog roll it shows up in. Also, make sure that you are using canonical links on those pages. This is convergence, where many paths lead to a single well optimized location.

    Now Let’s Get Into The Sitemap Workbook!

    Next In the next lesson we will introduce you to a document that will give your website a level of organization that it has probably been missing. Let’s introduce you to