4 Feb

SEO and eCommerce: Handling Duplicate Content

seoSearch engines already look down on duplicate content, often associating it with low quality sites, or worse, spam. Google webspam head Matt Cutts admits that 25-30% of the Web’s content are duplicates, although he has also stressed that this isn’t an issue with SEO efforts.

The Scenario

Ecommerce sites suffer the brunt of this concept, as products in one marketplace are highly similar to each other. In effect, these sites and the trusted SEO companies they employ have a harder time dealing with duplicate content to maintain their rankings.

Sizes are pretty much the same but this runs the risk of being deemed spam when every page of the hundred products on the site has this particular content. The same principle applies to colours and other similar aspects of online marketplaces.

Duplicates dilute link equity, resulting in slower SEO campaigns. Without proper handling, it could certainly damage the reputation of a site.

The Solution

The core solution to handling duplicate content is a proper condensation of certain elements. This is where quality web design comes in, as you would need to manage some aspects of the website to make it work for SEO. For colours and sizes, it would make more sense to have dropdown lists instead of elaborating every option the searcher has in a text box. This move will also make it more engine-friendly.

Unique content is the way to go, as evidenced by the thousands of sites that benefit from this form of content marketing. It wouldn’t make sense to have unique product descriptions of the same items. At the same time, it’s not possible to do so for technical specs that are unchangeable. This method is possible, but requires a decent amount of effort to pull off, particularly when you’re selling items such as laptops and tablets.

Canonicalization proves to be effective in many scenarios, as the search engine traces the page that produced the original content. This is like a declaration to Google’s bots that you know these products use the same descriptions and so on, only that you’re sourcing these details from another website. This removes the need to rewrite product copies and avoids being flagged by search engines.

When it comes to SEO, ecommerce sites can be a tricky project, but you could establish – and even improve – your rank through and through by implementing the right strategies.