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I'm building a website for my client's hospice center. Right now, she wants to have a landing page for each city that the hospice serves, but for the content on those pages to be identical (like, adding a city name to the main landing page). The reason for this is because her hospice is located in only one city but will send people up to about 50 miles away (encompassing several counties and cities).

The end idea is to be able to search "Hospice in {This City}" and for her website to show up in the search listing (even if not local). My problem is that I'm afraid that if I just make multiple duplicate pages Google and other search engines will penalize the website and it won't show up at all.

Right now, my thought is to create pages for each county with the cities listed ("/locations/{county}/" will contain a list of all of the cites served, plus content on that county, or an "About Us" page). I've considered making each city a page ("locations/{county}/{city}"), but there isn't any way to add that much unique content.

My issue seems similar to this one: Multiple index pages on website for multiple locations, SEO no-no? (even in that she has seen this behavior in competing websites).

Here is an example of a hospice center that has multiple location pages with identical information: https://www.heartlandhospice.com/find-an-agency/

So my basic question is: is there a safe way to do this (maybe besides unique content) or should I convince her that this is too dangerous of a practice?

  • I am not sure of the right answer for you, however, DO consider using schema.org's mark-up! Full addresses and phone numbers would help. Contact names are a possibility too if it applies. Cheers!! – closetnoc Jul 18 '16 at 18:40
  • @closetnoc thank you for your reply. I'll make sure and look into schema.org's mark up. If it makes a difference, I've added a website to the question that exhibits the functionality I was talking about (heartlandhospice.com/find-an-agency). Thanks!! – David Reichert Jul 18 '16 at 18:44
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It is against the Google webmaster guidelines to clone pages and change only a few keywords to get them into the search results for different keywords. Google calls this practice doorway pages.

You can create a page for each city served, but you have to make the pages substantially different as not to risk a penalty from Google. Some ways you could do that are:

  • Describe how your services are specific for that city. What are the closest facilities?
  • Provide statistics about how people from the city use your services. ("374 residents from X have gotten care at..")
  • Put reviews on each page that were written by people from that city. "Here is what people from X have to say about our services:"
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I would put the cities listed in the meta information in the header. I would consider putting "locations served" in the menu with a dropdown for each city. Using PHP or Javascript, you can then have areas on the site that pertain to a particular city show that city's info Google shouldn't penalize you, since there are restaurants and dentists that do this on their sites. Why would this be any different?

The advantage of this is that you won't have to duplicate anything. Given enough time, and how many people use the site, Google should pick it up for each city. Granted that could take years. Google rankings aren't a quick process.

You can also use this: https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/home?hl=en

...which will allow you to add her domain to the search index. This takes time, but gives you more granular control over the results. You'll have influence over search presentation, keywords and more.

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