Duplicate Content – SEO Best Practices for ecommerce

duplicate content on multiple online e-commerce sites?

How to fix duplicate content on multiple online e-commerce sites?

What is the duplicate content?

Content can be considered duplicate if it repeated in multiple TLD or in the same domain and subdomain.
Duplicate content generally refers to substantive blocks of content within or across domains that either completely match other content or are appreciably similar. Mostly, this is not deceptive in origin. Examples of non-malicious duplicate content could include:
• Discussion forums that can generate both regular and stripped-down pages targeted at mobile devices
• Store items shown or linked via multiple distinct URLs
• Printer-only versions of web pages
Duplicate content on a site is not grounds for action on that site unless it appears that the intent of the duplicate content is to be deceptive and manipulate search engine results.

Many sites have a press release section, or a news section that re-posts relevant articles. Since it’s all duplicate content, they be better off removing these sections (even with plenty of other unique content)?

What content can be considering as duplicated?

• visible text on the page,
• images and its “alt” and “title” tags,
• link and its “title”,
• Meta “title” tag – most important (source: GoogleWebmaser tools);
• Meta “description” tag
• Meta “keyword” tag ( some search might ignore it)
• Same video and links to the video sources.
• Even Parameter driven URLs can be seen as a form of duplication by search engines (source: http://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4258404.htm)
• maybe more… and in comment
Again, if all above (mostly together) repeated exactly the same over multiple pages or/and over multiple TLDs then it might be a problem.
Hope I am correct or very close to be correct on duplicate content definitions. 😉
I looked at Google Webmaster (the best reference for online businesses) and find very nice post.

When we need to start worry about?

… Google tries to filter out duplicate documents so that users experience less redundancy. You can find details in this blog post, which states:
1. When we detect duplicate content, such as through variations caused by URL parameters, we group the duplicate URLs into one cluster.
2. We select what we think is the “best” URL to represent the cluster in search results.
3. We then consolidate properties of the URLs in the cluster, such as link popularity, to the representative URL.
Here’s how this could affect you as a webmaster:

It is clear that authentic online businesses that try to sell similar products on couple or several own websites should not be worry about much instead nee to concentrate and committed to make changes and try to make as unique content as possible.
Unless they are spamming and use “black hat SEO” techniques.
(In case iframe from yourtube does not work use this link: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL6720C94A83F0F740)

How to fix duplicate content on multiple online e-commerce sites?

1) Some CMS like mambo, osComemrce, Zen Cart… are well know for being non-search friendly. But it depends on the context of the page and what you are trying to achieve.
How can it be fixed? Depending on the context of the page you may wish to try implementing the canonical tag – ex:
2) Should we add “noindex” “nofollow” meta tag?
No, you should not.
It might prevent Google and other search engines to index “couple of your online shopping carts”.
If your long term goal for online shopping cart is to hide it from search engines much faster and better way exist:
• Remove content from my own site from Google’s search results
• Remove content from another site from Google’s search results
But make sure you read this first: URL removal explained, Part I: URLs & directories
Using the tools for other purposes may cause problems for your site, so read this: When NOT to use the URL removal tool.

You can later send “resubmit” request but what is the logic if you would like to sell from all of your’s shopping carts.

Update your content on static pages like About, testimonials… and on dynamic categories and products page, make it more or less uniquely.

Of course it is hard to make Policies, terms and conditions, or help unique
Yes, it is possible to have some unique content even if you and your competitors sell same products from same suppliers on hundreds of sites.
• Be creative, it is not easy way!
• Look at Google or other keyword tools and try to see how people search. What Web search query they type in search box.
Search for same “products names” as your competitors. I guarantee that you will be very surprise to see huge or non ;-() amount of variations on “Local”, “Global” and “Competition” results.
• I will look at “Local” and “Global” results depend on your Geo and Demographic.
• “Competition” is if you use pay per click but also important.
• So, compare the results and try to see the pattern that make your title or product name uniquely but popular in search result:

manufactory name;
type of product;
SIZE (very often users know what size they are looking for);

Try to “Geo and Demographic” your content if possible. Find something unique to highlight in your product that people might looking for.

Compare results for (case lower or upper dose not matter in this example):
• Plywood,
• 2 inch Plywood,
• Waterproof 2 inch Plywood,
• Waterproof 2 inch plywood in New York or as close as possible. All depend where you can ship and how much it will coast to ship. Or if you “local pick up store only”
• Stainless steel gutter
• Made in USA
• Locally Made
• Factory direct
• Free Shipping
• Cheap “something” – nothing to be shame of. Your competitor might sell more because of this term

Choose correct linking structure and navigations.

Is there such thing as building to many links, if you’re following Google’s webmaster guidelines exactly? Too many where you would get banned, even if you’re following the rules?

Look closely how you link to your products and use “unique”, “descriptive” and short (2-5 words) title tag where possible in HTML for links and images.
Test it with mouseover links in Firefox or Chrome to see your title tags got links and images.
Use clean URL if possible with clear name of the category and products names.
Try to use name of the category in short searchable way in your URL.

Is there such a thing as building too many links?

It all depends on what you do and how you do it.

If you are spammer good luck with that.
If you are business owner them proper use of social media sites help to have good (read Google webmaster guideline) backlink
People tend to blame someone who makes advice instead of use imaginations during implementations process.
Ex. Using twitter are helpful but if done incorrectly with no imaginations just posting 5 – 15 links to the same site per day or mentioning people who will never follow back or/and had account with “bad standing” will not work…
You need to talk to people make you tweets fun to read and in between link to something you want them to pay attention on your site.
or this from 2 years ago:

As you might see that “Rule” does not change.
Provide relevant content, try to be different while selling same content and properly use social media will help
Very good ideas, very good techniques or structure can be damages during implementations time.
If you find this post informative and useful I leave comment and I will continue. Some might find this post irrelevant or not useful if so please leave your suggestions in comment area too.
About Author of this post:
Personal page: http://www.youneeditall.com
Twitter: @infotechusa – Web Design & SEO
LinkedIn: Nikolay Gul – Web Design, Web Development in Syracuse New York


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