Duplicate Content & Boilerplate Pages

by Dave Curtis on 10/26/2014

in Boilerplate, Every Day SEO, Productivity Tools

Creating Boilerplate Duplicate Content on a WordPress Site using Plugins

Although Google advises strongly against duplicate content, it does understand boilerplate “duplicate” content.

Boilerplate applies to lots of products with very similar text content to describe each, or services which are provided in many various areas. However, there is difference between a search for a precise model or size being regarded as distinct in Google that makes portions of the page content unique. At theee same time, such otherwise identical boilerplate pages can benefit further with the addition of unique content on each of these pages. The same goes for boilerplate service area location pages. Some SEOs use canonical tags to refer all service area pages to a main general service page, but if individual searches for services provided in the distinct marketing areas are delivering boilerplate page results on page one in Google, then canonical redirects don’t seem to make much sense. In other cases where your site may have a post with the same content as on a page, you’ll want to make the canonical page the page and not the post because Google prefers the pages as they will rank higher. There’s even evidence which suggests that taking a high ranking post and then copying it to a page and making the page canonical will make it rank even higher.



That said, the main emphasis of this article is on creating multiple pages with very similar content to sell products with much the same descriptions and only minor variations to the text. The same goes for services which cover multiple counties or states, and in the case of counties, multiple place names within each county.


So you’ve got a site that covers multiple counties (or you’re selling very similar products with only minor technical differences in the descriptions, it doesn’t matter) and about 100 different sub-sections all together within those counties (or products). For example:

Chelsea, Yorkville, Wall Street, Carnegie Hill, Lenox Hill, Tudor Hill, Hell’s Kitchen, Greenwich Village, Five Points, Alphabet City, East Village, Little Germany, the Financial District etc.

You want to target each area in searches for those searching for “Search Engine Optimization company, Wall Street District” but also “Search Engine Optimization company, Yorkville” so you’ve got to produce boilerplate pages that are essentially the same, but that focus on each specific area – in the end if you’re covering the counties of Richmond, Manhattan, Brookly, Queens and the Bronx you’ll wind up with hundreds of pages – almost all the same, but each different.

Creating a new page each time and placing it under the proper parent page in WordPress, and then copying the text from one master page dull, very time consuming and tedious. The work drags on and on – particularly if your company offers several services and you need to produce several hundred boilerplate pages. It will take months.

Five plugins that will help you make your boilerplate creation easier and more visitor relevant & specific are:

Clone Posts  but there’s also another one which seems to be preferred which I haven’t tried: Duplicate Post
BestWebSoft Google Maps Pro
A Graceful Sidebar Plugin

Exclude Pages from Navigation – This plugin hasn’t been updated in 2 years, but it works for me. However I’m also using the Thesis Theme, so it’s really only necessary for sites using the standard WordPress menu, unless you want huge dropdowns full of sub-areas.
WP Htaccess Editor – Advanced developers will find this extremely useful for time when changing URLs. In the case where you don’t know how to work with .htaccess files or aren’t sure there’s also the Velvet Blues Update URLs plugin, so if you change a page or a sub-page URL all of the newer sub or sub-sub page URLs will be updated and corrected automatically. Why would you want to use these? Well let’s say you created several parent pages for “SEO in NYC” SEM in NYC” “SEO Consultation in NYC” etc. and you’ve created 500 pages under the parent page of “Search Engine Marketing New York City” but you meant for them all to be under “Search Engine Optimization in New York City”. You can either rename the SEO Marketing NYC Page to SEO NYC and redirect the whole thing via .htaccess OR you can let Velvet Blues do it for you. If you don’t then all of your new 500 sub-page links will wind up as 404 not found errors. Yikes!

Dexpot Multiple Desktop Software Last Free Version

One last mention here is that if you don’t have more than one monitor installed (many web pros are using 3 monitor systems so they can see all of their opened pages and files at once) then use something like Dexpot. The last Dextop Freeware Version was 1.3. The newer versions are paid. I’ve uploaded a zipped version of Dextop’s last free version 1.3 for download. It’s clean and on an HTTPS secured DropBox account shared Public Folder, so no worries of trojans or malware infections as I’ve installed it myself and checked it out.  Alternatively you can go directly to the newer version with more bells and whistles at http://dexpot.de/?lang=en (German software, English speaking page) and pay for a license there. I personally am using something called “Large Desk” which I downloaded back in 2,000 and have been using when needed for bigger projects on any computer ever since. That one isn’t available any more and as it needs a user name and key to activate after the free trial is over I can’t share it, and there is no website for it since the company is no longer in business. Sadly their keyword “Large Desk” was a very poor choice because every company selling furniture beat the crap out of them in the search engines and they simply couldn’t compete.

Multiple Desktops are a great way to keep your work tabs clearly segmented so you can have one desktop open for email, LinkedIn and other news and social updates, another desktop for your text or database/excel spreadsheet files, and one for your actual website updates. By doing it this way you can stay away from the Gmail emails, Mightytext, LinkedIn, Twitter etc stuff and stay focused on the web work you need to accomplish.

A Graceful Sidebar Plugin

Ok – so first things first for services covering different areas you’ll want to use the Graceful Sidebar Plugin so you can plug in different content on every single page or post in the widgets area of the sidebar just for that page or post. Graceful Sidebar is free.

BestWebSoft Google Maps Pro

Then you’ll want to use the BestWebSoft Google Maps Pro (not free, about $30, but well worth it!) to create a quick map of each exact area, and zoom in so you see the area name in the map.  You can create a title with the specific area to help Google recognize that, no kidding, that page/post is really about that area. Since it’s a Google Map being pulled up also targeting that specific area, that certainly can’t hurt.

You’ll first want to create a text page with all of your areas like this:

The East Village

Then create a map for each using BestWebSoft Google Maps Pro and paste in the map references created by the plugin like this:

Yorkville [bws_googlemaps id=1]
The East Village [bws_googlemaps id=2]
Chelsea [bws_googlemaps id=3]
etc. etc. until you have every single area of the entire city (Manhattan, Brooklyn, etc) created within that file.

Clone Posts

Here’s the major time saver. After you’ve created your main category page of, say, SEO NYC, you’ll create sub-pages called Manhattan, Brooklyn, Bronx, Staten Island, Brooklyn with heavy boilerplate content for each. Then you’ll create NEW marketing copy that’s more specific to each area, something like this:

“Living in and owning a business in Yorkville is different from owning a business anywhere else in NYC. Yorkville businesses attract a more unique clientele due to their specific location in Manhattan.”

So once this sub-page under Manhattan is created you can now clone it, and then scroll down to the clone/copy and right click on edit, and open it in new tab

Then you’ll copy one line from the area name and Google map text file you created earlier and paste it into your Graceful Sidebar, cut out the section for the area (the East Village) and paste that into your meta title, into your page title, the URL to update it (and change the case, adding a dash after it) and remove the -2 that the cloned page adds to the page URL.

Finally you’ll use the “Ctrl” “F” (for find) and find/replace to replace Yorkville with the East Village. Also edit the URL so that it isn’t yorkville any more, but east-village, and confirm that the title, meta-description, and everything else are correct and then publish it, view the page to proofread it, and go back to the Page List tab.

Once on your Page List tab click the F5 key to refresh and bring you back to the position on the page you were to see that the Yorkville copy is now gone and the new East Village page under NYC SEO has been properly added along with the Yorkville page.  Click on clone again, and scroll down (or search) until you find the clone / copy and do it all over again.

The job is still tedious and will take a long time, but you’ve just cut out about half of the hours looking in Google Maps and setting specific embed sizes for each and every map on your site, and you’ve also gotten rid of hours and hours of work setting parent pages and copying over content from one page to the next.

Good luck and I hope this helps you.


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