Boilerplate takes on different meanings depending on the context it is used.
The newspaper industry took on the term, and used it to describe a unit of writing applied over and over without changing it.
This helps keep a consistent brand image while preventing people from having to describe a company differently all the time. The company boilerplate receives the broadest exposure, and can be used across a variety of channels, if not all of them.
In the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) world however, boilerplate refers to any text that can be or is reused in new applications or contexts, without changing it significantly from its original.
Google considers boilerplate the content that forms part of the page layout on your site such as a tagline or navigation.
For example, if your website’s main content area has a short paragraph about your company on each page, but there’s content about services in the region that’s unique or valuable, this is considered boilerplate.
On the flip side, if the main content area has similar descriptions about your company and the only different on the page is the name of the city in the title, Google considers this duplicate content.
Consequently, Google may treat page elements differently based on where they’re located.
Identifying the boilerplate helps to find and analyze any repeated non-content across your web pages.
Boilerplate Tips That Haven’t Changed Over the Years
As a general rule, if the overall percentage of boilerplate content increases beyond the optimal, your website could find itself in a rank tracker.
Boilerplate content is reusable on your site, for example, a particular paragraph from a useful piece of content may be reused in some places on your website.
It won’t do much harm to use one or two of such paragraphs.
However, avoid using very similar or the exact same content on more than one page on the website.
One of the popular boilerplate types that occur frequently is known as hidden content. Once you display a particular page to your web users or visitors, Google will crawl the other pages and considers that specific one as boilerplate content.
This should however be limited in its use as your website could get penalized.
From an SEO standpoint, boilerplate content can increase semantic ‘noise’, which confuses search engines and causes your page or pages to be ignored completely.
If you’re on the razor’s edge of SEO, there’s so much more to learn that can help as you review your SEO strategy to see what works, and what doesn’t.
Here are some essential boilerplate SEO tips that haven’t changed over the years.
1. Minimize repetition
This is probably one tip that keeps being repeated over and over for years as it still stands based on Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.
The guidelines say clearly that boilerplate repetition should be minimized. So instead of including lengthy text at the bottom of each page, have a brief summary and link to the page that contains more details.
Boilerplate content can be found on millions of websites, especially those that are credible and rank well.
Google can figure out boilerplate content from duplicate content on your site, but, it is your job to ensure it isn’t repetitive across your site.
Content such as copyright information, legal disclaimers, or short company blurbs with links embedded are common in many site pages.
These are often found in form of replicated footer content, navigational menus, or sidebars, and are a common target for Google algorithmically.
2. Optimize your content for Google and humans
Create unique content and focus on it if you want to improve your rankings.
However, great content isn’t everything; you need to optimize it for Google, and for humans.
Proper on-page optimization determines the success of your content, because even the best can fail without it.
As mentioned, duplicate content can affect your site’s rankings, making it even tougher, and here’s where your technical SEO setup comes into play.
Similarly, with print-only versions of your pages, Google may pick this up and display it instead of displaying your web page so check on this as well.
Another cause of duplication is in poorly implemented mobile sites. Embrace mobile, but ensure you write quality content, and clean up your backlinks.
Adjust your SEO strategy to avoid possible imminent penalties, and keep threats away for the long term.
Note: Google recommends you implement rel=”canonical” or 301 directs; it no longer recommends blocking duplicate content.
3. Be the best result
Write meaningful copy on the keywords you want your site to rank for.
Although each situation is different and it’s not always possible to write elaborate content on everything, the least you can do is ensure each product page contains some original introductory content.
For instance, if you sell lots of products that are similar, don’t just put an image and buy button close to the pricing.
You can also optimize the category pages instead of product pages, or use canonicals to avoid issues of duplicate content.
Maybe most pages are a slightly different version of one product that you sell, for example a certain brand of smartphones. If your content can prove the title, introduces it correctly, that’s fine.
Use long titles and work on semantics to ensure your title still sends out the correct message even if boilerplate words are truncated.
Keep it simple, natural, and descriptive.
Sentence-based titles are not only natural and safe, but they have a higher chance of matching with natural user-query types.
4. Leverage tools that search engines offer
Take advantage of tools given by search engines like Google Webmaster Central or Bing Webmaster tools.
You can sign up for these tools to learn more about how these search engines view your site.
They also tell you about your site’s content, SEO score, and a lot more information they are aware of.
Google gets smarter as time goes by. Duplicate and boilerplate content issue are among the big things that led to the Panda algorithm, which affected lots of businesses.
These tips take time and effort to implement, but they’re also here to stay. Ultimately, search engines are getting better at providing great experiences for searchers.
To succeed in convincing their algorithms that your site is worth ranking, align your objectives to help searchers.
Sam loves to write on technology and related stuff – with ecommerce, mobile and internet marketing equally driving her interest. An avid reader and absolutely mad about donuts, she’s been associated with Mofluid for a long time.