One SEO professional was concerned about having multiple location pages that were identical on their website.
Basically, they have pages like “piano course in Birmingham,” and “piano course in London.” Many of the pages have exactly the same (or extremely similar) content.
The only difference between these pages is the location.
They were wondering: should they canonicalize these pages? They were also curious about what the SEO best practice would be in this particular case.
John explained that, if you have a handful of pages, it’s something where – purely from a doorway page point of view – you shouldn’t really worry all that much about that.
But, for pages with multiple locations, the general best practice is to make absolutely sure that you’re really providing the user with something unique and valuable on these individual pages.
If you’re offering a product or service in one particular city, John said, but you’re also offering it in another city, you may want to give some unique information about why you have these separate pages.
Additionally, he said that you should really make sure that you construct the page in such a way that it provides something that really matches the relevance of these pages, rather than only the keyword “piano courses in the UK.”
The other approach you can use is canonicalizing those pages, and making sure that you have something really valuable and really distinct in terms of those multiple pages.
But, if you’re just using variations of the same thing, you may want to consider folding all of those pages into one really strong page that targets those other specific phrases.
The main advantage of this strategy is that you make a much, much stronger page, rather than multiple weak pages that are simply minor variations of each other.
This happens at approximately the 28:07 mark in the video.
John Mueller Hangout Transcript
John (Submitted Question) 28:07
We have a client having almost identical pages per location. And I thought this was your question, Adrian. “Piano course Birmingham” and “piano course London,” the only difference in those pages is the location. Should I canonicalize those pages? What would be the best practice?
John (Answer) 28:25
Kind of like I mentioned before, if you have a handful of pages, it’s something where purely from a doorway page point of view, I wouldn’t really worry about that. If you have these two pages with two locations, the general best practice here is really to make sure that you’re providing something unique and valuable on those individual pages. So if you have something that you’re offering in one city, and you’re offering it in another city as well, then give some information about why you have these pages separately. And make it so that when people are searching for it, they really find something that matches that, not just like oh, piano courses in the UK, and like a handful of City Pages there. So that’s kind of one approach there. The other approach is, like I mentioned before, canonicalizing.
And just picking one of those pages to show, I think if you have something distinct that you want to provide and having multiple pages is perfectly fine. If it’s something where you’re just offering variations of the same thing, then sometimes folding them together is a better strategy. The advantage of folding them together is that you make a little bit of a stronger page rather than two pages that are kind of like, okay, from a strength point of view. And the general idea here is that Google has some information about your website. And if you kind of dilute that across a whole bunch of pages, then each of those pages individually will be a little bit less value than if you concentrate everything on fewer pages.
So if you think you can make a really strong page, just piano courses, then that might be a good approach, especially if there’s a competitive market there. If on the other hand, you think that these individual locations are distinct enough that you want to have individual pages such as maybe you have really physical addresses in these locations, or different opening hours or different kinds of teachers in these locations, then that definitely makes sense to keep separate because you’re providing something unique that people can find value on there.
So that’s kind of the approach I would take there. It’s not that there’s one answer that works for all websites here. For some it makes sense to fold them together, for some it makes sense to keep separate. Depending on the website, sometimes you even combine them. So if you have an e-commerce site, you might say, well, this model of shoe is all the same model shoe, but you have maybe one unique size that really kind of stands out or a unique color variation that really stands out. Maybe you’ll split that off into a separate page.
So those are kind of the thoughts behind that.