With Google increasingly trying to deliver an instant question and answer service, and even making it possible for a website’s entire FAQ section to appear in a dropdown menu on the results page, it’s understandable that many businesses want to focus on the question-answering aspect of their site.
That might leave some webmasters wondering whether the best course of action is to pepper their site with the same questions, whether copied word for word or slightly rephrased.
You’ve probably stumbled upon landing pages that are clearly written for search engine optimisation (SEO) purposes, perhaps containing multiple subheadings that appear to answer the same question repeatedly, such as “where’s the best place to buy ballpoint pens?”, followed by ‘where can I buy ballpoint pens?” and then “can I buy ballpoint pens online?” The page will have been written to target a variety of ways search engine users might word their question, and answers each one by effectively saying “buy your ballpoint pens here, from us”.
The fact that you’ve more than likely seen such a page, and been directed there by Google or another search engine, may suggest that it’s a practice that can work, but remember that the world of SEO changes very quickly. You know perfectly well what you’re doing if you write like this, and so will the clued-up reader, so it’s only a matter of time before Google picks up on it too.
Indeed, Google has just tweaked its guidelines for sites looking to feature in FAQ rich results. To be eligible, developers are now advised not to mark up several instances of the same question using Google Search Console. Those that do are in breach of Google’s guidelines and leave themselves susceptible to a search rankings penalty. Search Engine Land repeats Google’s advice to mark up just one instance of the question.
By and large, this is reinforcement of a long-taught maxim to ensure content is fresh, high-quality and of benefit to the user, not repetitive and ‘black hat’. At Engage Web, duplicate content is a pet hate of ours, so find out today what we can do to supply your site with regular content that engages visitors and attracts the algorithms of Google and its peers.