‘Duplicate content’ refers to substantive blocks of text that either exactly match or are substantially similar to other content within and/or across domains.Having it in your ecommerce site—even if it’s non-malicious—can cause it to lose traffic. That’s because when content is duplicated, Google only ranks one and will not show the other.
eCommerce sites are particularly vulnerable to duplicate content issues because many products share the same or very similar descriptions, and because those product descriptions likely appear on other websites, too. The good news is that the issue is fairly simple (albeit time-consuming) to solve. You can simply write a unique copy for every individual page.
Here are some specific duplicate content issues you might have on your online store and how to address them:
Fixing onsite duplicate content
Similar product descriptions
Do you sell similar products that share the same specifications, short paragraphs, and other content? This will dilute your authority in the eyes of Google. It’s best to invest in robust, compelling, and unique descriptions for each page and product.
Duplicates in category pages
These pages usually cite product grids and titles pulled from the main product pages, so they’re hotbeds for duplicate content. Consider adding unique descriptions at the top of each category page to talk about the types of products featured within a category. Try to add 100 to 300 words while considering the screen resolution of your users.
Homepage duplicate content
Make sure you have unique content in the majority of your body content, even as you are trying to target the same keywords. Rewrite the descriptive content of your home page if you have used the same on external websites, like business listings or directory submissions.
Fixing offsite duplicate content
It is common to find duplicate content existing between two or more ecommerce websites, and in some cases, content websites. Google is making a move to rank websites based on inbound link metrics, so those with less inbound link equity are struggling to rank well because of issues like the following:
Copying manufacturer-provided product descriptions
Avoid copying the product descriptions from the product manufacturer because search engines are more likely to rank big brand websites with the same descriptions. Extensively rewrite existing descriptions while making sure that any new products you add to your site come with unique descriptions. You can also fill in unique photos where possible, provide more details about the benefits of using the product, and add product demo videos, user-generated reviews, and schema markup.
Duplicate content on development, sandbox, or staging websites
Remember that search engines can also discover and index these pages, so consider adding an X-robots tag or ‘nonidex, no follow’ meta robots on every test page. You can also prevent crawlers from crawling these sites by placing the ‘Disallow: /’ command in the /robots.txt file on your text site, password protect them, or set up these sites separately in Webmaster Tools and use ‘Block URLs’ in Bing or ‘Remove URLs’ in the Google Search Control.
Third party product feeds
Do you use the same content to sell on both your own ecommerce site and on Amazon and other such platforms? Stop. It’s best to write something unique for your own website. Make sure it’s appreciably different from the content you use on other marketplaces.
Does your ecommerce website have an affiliate program? Avoid distributing your site’s product descriptions to affiliates. Instead, provide the same product feeds that you use on third party vendors who promote or sell your products. Make sure there are no third-party vendors or affiliates using the same descriptions you are using.
Low-quality scraper sites may steal content from your ecommerce website to drive sales and generate traffic through ads. File an Intellectual Property Infringement with Bing or a DMCA compliant with Google to let these search engines know about the issue.
Auction sites and classifieds
Other retailers may copy your product descriptions to sites like eBay and Craigslist, but the pages are likely to expire within a few months. If you have your own listings on these websites, use your product feed in them wherever possible and be wary of any content duplication.
Tools you can use
There’s a number of tools you can try using to identify duplicates and low-quality content in your ecommerce website. Here are some of the best:
This will crawl your website and identify potential technical issues including duplicate content, error messages, improper redirects, and others.
This can identify external editorial duplicate content. It can crawl the sitemap and compare all URLs to Google’s index to spot instances of plagiarism.
This tool can spot internal duplicate content issues. It is particularly useful at identifying thin content pages.
Lear here how SEOValley helped TDot Performance achieve stupendous organic rankings and traffic using Ecommerce SEO strategies and establish it as one of the largest source of car performance parts in Canada.
While it’s fairly easy to address duplicate content issues in smaller ecommerce websites with just a handful of pages, the task can quickly turn daunting if your online store has hundreds of products. We can help. Contact SEOValley today for Ecommerce SEO service. We can quickly diagnose any duplicate content issues and rewrite your pages to make them 100% unique.