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We have a ecommerce website that can deliver products all over the country. We have seen at least one of our other competitors create an index page for every city in the country. So the pages essentially have the same content, but contain a different city name in various key parts of the page. They do not have multiple locations/stores or anything.

They have managed to get a lot of these pages listed in Google so that when a user searches for the product in a particular location, they pop up at the top.

My question is, would it hurt the website rankings in terms of SEO if we were to do the same? We can deliver to all over the country. I haven't really found out definitively if this is a no-no in terms of SEO?

  • Don't do the same, it can harm SEO of your site because of duplicate content issues. – Zistoloen Apr 14 '14 at 13:12
  • No go for me. Only when you can provide content that differs more than 60% it will be seen as a new page. (value by Google, not me, since the last time I checked) – Martijn Apr 14 '14 at 13:35
  • Why is Google not then taking down content that is essentially duplicate content? It doesn't actually appear from what I've read that they always will. But they will try and rank the most appropriate pages higher. – Manoj Solanki Apr 14 '14 at 14:42
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    Regarding the example you cited: Google will not de-list the pages from the search engine result page (SERP) nor will they drop the rank of the site, but they will, in time, drop the pages from view in the SERPs, pushing them down so to speak. The pages will appear on page 43 vs. page 2. And it will be rather difficult to get it back. Whatever advantage they have now will never make up for the penalty they will see later. – closetnoc Apr 14 '14 at 15:15
  • These are valid points and should be provided as an answer instead of comments. – phoops Apr 14 '14 at 18:43
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It totally depends, if you only have one or two unique words per page, then its probably not worth it;

If you have a totally unique page per geographical area, then (from a country perspective) it works well - promoting different products to different countries works, along with different language content seems to not harm the SERPs.

It might be totally different in your use-case though, if its 'widgets new-york buy our premium widgets today' and you have a different version for each US city and the only word thats changed is the city name, then I'd say that was spam, and google will probably pick up on it

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