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I realize this question is very similar to many questions already asked, but please bear with me as I haven't been able to find any answers that apply to my situation specifically.

Basically I'm building a site that is split in two because once a user arrives on the site, they're asked to choose their location and then they will be taken to the content for that location. The content is nearly identical for both locations, as there are only minor details changed (like price and address, etc.)

The difference here is that the two locations are two different cities within the same province of the same country. So a lot of the answers I've found don't quite apply as they're targeted more for different countries or languages.

First I'll explain how I've built the site. It's built on Wordpress and just uses one domain, no subdomains or anything. There's a landing page that has a link to each location. Upon choosing a location, you're taken to the homepage for that location, which is the "Parent page" for that half of the site. All of the other pages for that location are children. A nav bar is served up based on the location you've chosen so that only links to that location are available. The URLs look like this:

  • example.com/location-1/location-1-contact
  • example.com/location-2/location-2-contact

My question is, do I need to be worried about duplicate content with Google, and how do I make sure that the correct location's pages are being served to the correct people?

I've found a few solutions to similar questions, such as:

  1. rel="alternate" hreflang="x" but this seems to be more for targeting different languages or at least different countries, which is not my case. As far as I understand this tag, I'd be putting in the same info for both locations anyway.

  2. canonical also doesn't quite fit as I understand that it dictates which content is the "main content", however for me neither is the "main" content, it just depends on where the user is located. I want whichever location they're searching for to be prioritized.

Maybe I'm just misunderstanding how some of this works, and maybe I have nothing to worry about at all. But I've been reading and researching for a while and I can't find anything that speaks to my specific situation and I don't want to get penalized for duplicate content.

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Google only supports localization at the country level. You can have separate sites with the same content for two countries, even if they speak the same language. For example you can have separate sites for the US, UK, and Australia. Google allows this because sites often have to support several differences between countries:

  • Different word spellings
  • Different currencies
  • Different shipping options

Google does not support separate sites at a more granular level. If you do have separate sites for different cities, Google will usually just choose one to index and ignore the other. The best you can do is choose which one you want to have indexed using canonical tags.

If you have different content between the two cities, Google will likely index both. For example your contact page for the two will have different phone numbers and addresses. Google will want to index both contact pages in that case.

| improve this answer | |
  • Thank you for the clarification on this! – JLW Dec 14 '19 at 17:41

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