Content duplication issues for e-commerce sites fall into two categories:
- Off-site: Content appears on many sites on the web.
- On-site: Several pages of the site display the same content.
But you must make sure that every page of your site is unique! So, also your product pages. How to do?
Resolve the problem of duplicating off-site content
The duplication of content off-site is natural in e-commerce. Online stores often use descriptions, images and product specifications provided by manufacturers. It makes sense, since you can not invent new specifications for the latest iPhone. However, there are a number of solutions to the problem.
- Write unique descriptions for each article. If you have a team to write your entire product catalog, go ahead. It is an investment, with a definite return if the writing of product sheets follows the fundamentals of web writing and SEO.
- Take advantage of user-generated content. Encourage visitors to write comments on the products they have purchased. Send follow-up emails and get feedback from customers, or offer discounts or bonuses to customers who leave a review. Certainly, there is no guarantee that you will have a steady stream of reviews for all products sold. In addition, comments should be moderated to avoid spam and obscene languages, which requires additional resources. But it is a good complementary strategy.
- Add a Questions / Answers section for each product. You can make your product descriptions unique by adding an FAQ section with questions that customers often ask about this product. Again, this will require additional human resources.
- Optimize only the product category pages. If you do not have the time and resources to work on product pages, you can choose to create unique content for category pages only. In this case, it is necessary to prevent the indexing of the product pages (using txt or the meta tags ) – this means that the produced pages will not appear in the search results.
Why request an agency for your product content?
If the number of products increases steadily, the writing of the descriptions – and the translation, if any – will have to keep pace. And not to lose in quality, performance and relevance.
In fact, the writing of product sheets is a strategic discipline: calibration, SEO, readability, singularity and non-duplication, conversion and inspiration … It is a profession in its own right. It’s ours: every month, we write, rewrite, translate and optimize between 100 and 500 product sheets.
Write three, four versions of a product sheet, at a rate of 250 – 300 unique words, and, of course, each optimized on the right keywords, in the context of each e-commerce site, it borders the engineering editorial. And we, we like that.
On-site content duplication: another approach?
The duplication of content on the site is a common problem pages of online shops. It can be caused by the Content Management System (CMS) or an inconsistent site structure.
There are two typical scenarios.
First, a product can belong to more than one category. For example: A Samsung TV can be found at the same time in the “Home”, “TV” and “Samsung” categories. The content management tool could generate different URLs for the same product, depending on the path the user takes in the product catalog.
Then the CMS could generate a different URL and page for variations of the same product (for example: size, color or other specifications). This approach was not a problem before updating Google’s Panda algorithm. Currently, Google may penalize websites for duplicate product pages in different URLs.
Two solutions to circumvent the duplication of product sheets on-site
Regardless of the user’s path in the catalog, the CMS must always return a single URL for a particular product. How to do that? Two possibilities: to control the urls or to canonize them.
- Master the URLs. Regardless of the user’s path in the catalog, the CMS must always return a single URL for a particular product. All product variations must be represented on one page accessible via a URL, so that the user is not redirected to other pages. This approach eliminates duplicate content and ensures that your site’s Crawl Budget is used wisely.
In conclusion, there is no point in publishing content produced if it is not relevant, qualified and unique. You torpedo a valuable source of incoming traffic and scare away scrupulous buyers looking for clear and precise information about your catalog offer.