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Duplicate Content: The un-necessary evil for ecommerce sites’ by Veom Infotech
Unique content is the need of the hour; SEO strategy and paradigm has shifted to Content Marketing from the traditional Search Engine practices.
This is one side of the coin, now we come to the retail businesses, or e-commerce based services as the jargon goes. These businesses rely on selling stuff/products not manufactured by them, yet they need to earn profit selling them. Price reduction remains feasible and viable to certain degree. After reaching the threshold, the need arisesto promote the business through other means. Let me clarify this with an example, an online retail store selling a mobile phone can reduce the price by 2%, another store selling the same phone will retail it at a discounted price of 4%, the maximum a store could offer would be 5-7%. So, with such a minute difference between the prices the main stay cannot be price wars. The storeowner logically and rightly would wish to have leads generated through SEO.
Herein lies the reason for writing this article. If this storeowner wants to generate content for the site, what can they write that will make the site different when it comes to selling the same mobile phone retailed at many similar establishments. All sites will have the same product description, same specs, same reviews, etc.
So what is the problem?
The problem here is the latest Google Algorithm update that recognizes the same content on all the sites (albeit logical) as duplicate, penalizes all the sites and demotes them to lower ranks. Google will index the same product description on all the sites selling the same product as Duplicate Content and would reprimand the sites in question.
Solution For this problem?
There are many ways to fix this problem; I will describe a few of them here and the associated pitfalls.
1. Firstly, the easiest (albeit technical) solution would be to use iframes. For a brief overview, iframes are code segments that enable you to present data within your page from another source without having it read/indexed by the search engine. This is particularly useful when you are showcasing technical information about a product and you are well aware of the fact that this is duplicated on other sites and yet it is important for the customer to be aware of them or is made mandatory by the manufacturer. By embedding data in an iframe, you are presenting the information for the customers’ eyes only and not for the search engine to index the same. The iframe is flexible and istweak able to appear as a part of the site. This can save you a lot of heartache as most products have technical specs presented by the manufactures and it is acceptable using them verbatim without employing much effort into vetting the details. The only drawback of this method is it’s speed and reliability as the content is being loaded from an external source, you are not sure of the data being produced every time as the server maybe slow or inaccessible due to external factors.
2. The second option is to generate loads of content, which is unique to your site. By adding content specific to the product, you can make your site stand out from the rest. Content does not necessarily mean a very long and lengthy explanation, it can be a small comparison of one product viz-a-viz a similar category product. You can create content by adding unique user product reviews, general feedback of the product from users. You can add some products specs that you discovered on using the product. Small product blogs that give specific product info and expert reviews is another preferred option. Any content that is useful to someone wanting to buy/review the product is great. The drawback of this option is generation of content that is not useful and is for the lack of a better word spammy. Some contents written by SEO companies to combat the duplicate content issue are not at all useful and end up being so below par of the prescribed writing standards, that the google algorithm can now penalize them for irrelevant content, which is much worse than the accidental duplicate content usage. Most companies prefer to hire low-quality (read cheap) writers to generate bulk content for their site; this strategy is doomed to fail as this content can never measure up to the quality standards of writing and results in the site being plagued with illogical, irrelevant content.
3. The third option is the toughest and most rewarding of the three strategies. This technique focuses on re-branding and presenting the duplicate information in a fashion that it becomes more appealing, interesting, relevant and overall germane. This technique is like presenting old wine in a new bottle. By amassing many user reviews/ratings and presenting them as a different evaluation (read yelp scores/angie’
The strategies as mentioned above are surely useful and incumbent to a successful SEO strategy for an ecommerce site/business. One other thing that needs consideration is the fact that this strategy takes a long-long time for complete and successful implementation a site. A typical ecommerce site is offering anywhere between 5000 to 10000 products; to implement the complete SEO strategy on all the products, it can take a very long time. The best option here lies in selecting products that generate highest ROI, are the most popular/best sellers, etc. the remaining products can be made non-index able until SEO proofed. This will help you in running your site as well as having the site SEO run smoothly in tow.
Ecommerce sites have always been at the cusp of latest advents in technology and advertising strategies as they are direct revenue generation sources for businesses. These strategies will surely help in avoiding any undue penalizations or problems stemming from the semantically generated error of duplicate content for ecommerce sites.