It is quite tempting to create content just for the sake of it.
You have a business, you want traffic to your website and to attract traffic, you need content. We all know this but one thing we keep forgetting is that creating content just for the sake of SEO is not going to help us. In reality, it will do more harm than good.
If your website has lots of pages with similar content with no additional value, it is indeed a good idea to get rid of all the pages with similar content or consolidate them into one page. There is no real value for users to go through 10 different pages with similar content in it and this is also not good for search engines because they see mostly similar content on different pages of your website that offer no significant value. Eventually, this cluster of pages will get marked as “Thin content”
Let’s take an example to understand how people practice this concept of similar content across a wide range of pages on their websites.
Let’s say you have a business that sells call center solutions to companies, small and medium-sized businesses and self-employed people. You have centers in different parts of the country and you want to attract traffic from all these parts. So you go ahead and create two hundred pages on your website, each page focussed on a particular city
And so on and so forth.
This is the perfect example of a website with a large number of pages with similar content. Search engines explicitly do not say that these pages violate their quality guidelines but during their evaluation process of your website, they can clearly figure out that these pages do not provide any additional value to users. There is only a slight difference in content across all the pages, maybe the name of the city is different or the currency sign in different or there is just a minor difference in the overall copy of the page.
In a Google Webmaster Support thread, Google employee Aaseesh clearly suggest a website owner to either improve the quality of the content in each page or to cut down on the number of pages with similar content in them. This includes other domains which the business owner has which also has similar content. Here is what he says
I’d recommend working on improving your content, and cutting down on the number of pages with similar content. You also seem to have other domains with similar content so maybe you can try consolidating pages if they don’t provide any other value to users.
The question was asked by someone who owns a Packers and Movers company in India, he had tons of pages on his website with just the city name in it and offering similar content across all the pages. The website did got hit by an algorithmic update and saw a major drop in rankings from Google search results. This usually happens because of thin content penalty
This, however, does not mean that location-specific pages in a website are absolutely unnecessary. The key thing to note here is that if you have location specific pages on the website, you need to ensure each page has unique content in it and that it is not similar to an existing page on your domain or to another page on any other domain you may or own or may not own. It should provide substantial value to the user and not be a “Cookie cutter” page with just the name of the location in it and have the same content spinned over it, trying to rank for location-specific search queries.