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Background

We currently have a site that displays information about our products, the product is known by a different name and has different branding in different states within the same country. This product information is the same across each state, the branding (logos and names) are the only difference. Our current site has a single url and page for the product across all states. This is causing us to rank very low when it comes to searches on the state specific branding of our product.

We are planning to update our site to have urls that represent the branding for each state. Example 'product/brand-name-1', 'product/brand-name-2' and so on. The urls will point to a page that has almost the same content with only the product name (test) and the product logo (image) changing.

Question

Will having multiple url's pointing at content with only slight differences affect out search ranking?

What is the correct method to handle similar content with slight variants?

Research

I understand that Google and other search engines treat multiple url's to the same or similar content badly.

1

You are right. Duplicate or nearly duplicate content will cause problems.

The best thing to do, and I have seen this many times, is have a single website that is the parent company with products pages available. As well, have each brand name represented as being owned by the parent with a single page for each brand or all of the brands. You can have each brand site focus on the brand specifically then link to the products on the parent company site. If the products are the same, then they should all point to the same product pages. If any of the brand products are unique, then you can consider separate pages for that, though it sounds like this is not he case for you. It is a simple scheme.

I saw this twice recently while exploring commercial parts for the boiler in my apartment building. Each company owned several brands and each brand was represented with it's own site. However, when I clicked to see products, I was taken to the parent site products page with a different part-number for each brand if it applied. A B&G part could also be a Xylem part. Xylem owns B&G, though B&G is the manufacturer. Xylem actually does something else where there is overlap with several brands they own.

  • Thanks closetnoc, the problem is not how the user sees us it is how the search engine sees us. We have a parent page that lists all brands and products. The problem is that google is ranking the product page, not the parent and only for brand a (the brand used on the page). – Levi Putna Nov 26 '14 at 6:05
  • @LeviPutna I have to admit being a bit confused now. Search engines will pick the first page as the authority and if any other page appears to be a duplicate, then they will not rank. It is possible that only one of the several will rank and the other will not because they are at lease fairly similar. Am I still in the right ball-park? If I am, I can update the answer with additional info on how this stuff works within Google. – closetnoc Nov 26 '14 at 6:09
  • Consider the following two urls. lottoresults.com/latest-results and lottoresults.com/latest-results?state=queensland. You can see the branding change however the results are the same. Google will only index the first url so if I do a search for 'Monday lotto' it will be fine, if i do a search for 'Monday gold lotto' it will rank as well as it should. – Levi Putna Nov 26 '14 at 6:15
  • @LeviPutna I have not looked at the pages, but the first thing that jumps out at me is that the Monday gold lotto is a more specific search. It contains more search terms that will more specifically match fewer pages allowing a single page to compete better. As well, search engines will see both links as being the same page, but one with parameters. – closetnoc Nov 26 '14 at 6:20

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