SEO Question: I Have Two Sites That Mirror Each Other In Content But Utilize Different Keywords and Meta Tags. Will This Help My Chances For Ranking Or Hurt Them?
I have two sites that use basically the same content, but are focused on different keywords and have unique meta descriptions. I was told this would help my rankings but I’m struggling to rank?
It’s no surprise that you are struggling to rank well. It’s a real surprise you rank at all.
The issues with duplicate content are many fold. Google doesn’t want to show the same content repeatedly, so it compared the text on pages to identify duplication.
Once duplicate content is identified, Google carries out a few further checks. It’s quite easy to compare the age of each piece of content, allowing google to establish which was the original text and which has been reproduced.
Google will also look behind your sites to see where they are hosted. If they are on the same server, it’s a good indicator that you own them both. They also check the WhoIs information so if both domains are registered to the same person then Google will penalise you in SERPs.
Having a different focus on keywords within text and different meta data isn’t enough to make your content unique. You can check the uniqueness of your content using http://www.copyscape.com which will highlight the percentage of identical text used on your pages.
It’s a fundamental content quality issue which Google is very good at filtering & removing from their search results. Duplicate websites used to work many years ago, but it’s not a strategy that will work for you today.