Depending on how it is used, the word “boilerplate” can take on different meanings. In public relations, for example, a boilerplate is a short, standardized paragraph at the end of a press release that provides journalists with a high-level background on your company. In relation to search engine optimization or SEO, a boilerplate refers to text that is reused in new contexts without changing it significantly from the original content.
This article discusses what a boilerplate is in SEO, provides examples, and how to avoid potential pitfalls.
What is a boilerplate?
A boilerplate is a piece of text used in many different areas on a website, in a contract, or in online marketing. Generally, the text summarizes important information. Webmasters use boilerplates to integrate text repeatedly into headers, footers, and sidebars.
Some boilerplate examples are navigational content that occurs on several pages of your website, using similar content used throughout the website and using the same word to link one page to another.
Boilerplate content versus duplicate content
In most circumstances, the boilerplate refers to navigational aspects of the website or repetitive legal disclaimers. However, sometimes boilerplate content becomes confused with duplicate content. In SEO, duplicate content is content that appears on more than one website.
Duplicate content causes problems for search engines because they don’t know which version to include or exclude from their index. They also may not know if they should direct the link metrics such as authority, anchor text, and link equity to one page or keep it separated between multiple versions. Finally, search engines may not know which version of content to rank for query results.
Duplicate content causes problems for website owners as well. If duplicate information is spread across multiple web pages, those pages lose rankings and traffic. This is due to search engines not listing multiple versions of the same content. Also, the quality of the backlinks suffers because other sites have to choose between the duplicates as well, which dilutes the link equity.
While search engines typically refer to parts of the page’s layout, there are times when boilerplate text can also appear in the main content area. When boilerplate text is in the main content area, search engines tend to consider it duplicate content. For example, if a company has multiple locations and uses the same description on every location page of their website and the only difference on the pages is the location in the title, that is considered duplicate content, not boilerplate text.
SEO boilerplating pitfalls
Although duplicate content and boilerplate content are technically different, boilerplating may still cause potential problems for your website. One possible issue with SEO boilerplating is relevancy. Repeating words or adding unnecessary words can make your content less relevant for users and search engines, which could lead to lower rankings.
Another problem with SEO boilerplating is uniqueness. Changing a few words in the content across your website does not make your content unique. Even worse, if you only change a few words of your competitors’ content and try to pass it off as your own, you are plagiarizing and going against SEO best practices. This will ultimately lower your rankings or get your website deindexed.
A final boilerplating pitfall focuses on meta titles. If you use a lot of boilerplate content in your title, there will be less room to include other important keywords in the title. Also, if the title is too long because it is full of unnecessary keywords, search engines may cut the title off.
SEO boilerplating tips
So, how can you make sure your SEO boilerplate content is actually useful and not potentially damaging to your website? Here are four SEO boilerplate tips are essential.
Write meaningful content
If you want the best result, you need to write meaningful copy. This will include the keywords that you want to rank for. The best pages include simple, natural, and descriptive content that gets straight to the point. Be sure to take your reader’s perspective and intent into account and avoid unnatural keyword stuffing.
Be less repetitive
According to Google’s Webmaster Guidelines, you should minimize boilerplate content and be less repetitive throughout your website. You can do this by summarizing your text briefly and including a link to a page with more detailed information rather than including lengthy text at the bottom of each page.
Optimize your content for your readers and search engines
Improve your rankings by creating unique and engaging content. But great content isn’t enough. You must optimize your content for your readers as well as search engines. Proper on-page SEO determines whether your content is successful or not. Duplicate content can potentially affect your website’s rankings, so avoiding duplicate content and incorporating technical SEO is an important aspect of optimizing your site as well.
Utilize tools that search engines have to offer
Use tools like Google Search Console. Google Search Console is a free service that gives you information about your website and the people who visit it. Google Search Console can provide data such as how people find your website, the traffic your website receives, the device used to view your site, and which pages are the most popular. All of this information can help you improve your overall website increase your search engine optimization and rankings.
Further understanding your website’s content
Search engines get smarter over time. Issues of boilerplate content and duplicate content can affect your business’s rankings. If you need more help implementing these SEO boilerplating tips or understanding the overall health of your website, contact the team at SEO Design Chicago today for an SEO analysis.
- What is a boilerplate in SEO?
- What are examples of SEO boilerplating?
- How is duplicate content different from boilerplate content?
- Why is SEO boilerplating a problem?
- What are tips to improve SEO boilerplating?