SEO QUESTIONS: How do I create a duplicate of my US site for Australia?

SEO QUESTIONS: How do I create a duplicate of my US site for Australia?

The next in my series of quick and easy SEO Question and Answer blogs: this one via email from Samantha who runs a health and fitness website.

SEO question:

“We’re planning to launch an Australian .com.au version of our .com site and want to understand the impact that duplicate content could have on our Search Engine ranking. What’s the best way of doing this?”

Short answer:

Choose the correct region targeting and have accurate hreflang tags on both websites and you should be fine.

Long answer:

We all know that Google frowns on duplicate content, that’s why we have to ensure we don’t copy title tags, meta descriptions and content from page to page. Each page of your website should be unique.

So if you’re creating an Aussie version of a US site – do you need to change every word to ensure you don’t get ‘bashed’ for duplicate content? Or can you just clone the lot and be done with it.

Well yes and no.

  • Ideally you should be tailoring your content for the audience that’s reading it and I don’t mean just changing the spelling of color to colour. The Australian audience has different needs, cultural references, and arguably sense of humour to a US audience – so you ought to rework your content – that way it’s better for your readers and there’s no chance of duplication.
  • If reworking the content is not an option for budget reasons then you should at the very least set your Google Web Toolkit targeting and ensure your hreflang tag is accurate.

The truth is that if you don’t adjust your content and only rely on coding then I don’t think you’ll see the search rankings you need, and more importantly when people hit the site there will be a disconnect if the content isn’t tailored.

I always like to get a second opinion on these issues so I sought out the some clever SEO brains who said this:

“From research I came to the conclusion that duplication issues come from a search result filter that stops duplicate or very similar content being shown twice in the same search result. If you duplicate over different regions this shouldn’t be a problem, as they’re not directly competing for the same results. If there is contention the hreflang is there to help.

Tony McCreath

Jacek Wieczorek pointed me in the direction of this great article on using the correct hreflang tag – which includes a cool generator tool

And I’d also like to give a shout out to James Norquay , Jason Mun and Tom Johns for their help with confirming my thinking for this article.

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