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    Smile Concerns About Duplicate Content


    Hi everyone, I work for a company whose online marketplace is relatively homogeneous and I'm concerned about being dinged for duplicate content. I don't want to disclose exactly which industry we're in, but we retail parts for certain somethings. My conundrum regarding duplicate content is concerning a cookie cutter type template for individual product pages. Because we have about a dozen categories of parts, but parts within categories only differ slightly, much of the content is very similar on the pages within a category. Obviously URLs differ, titles differ, img names differ, and alt tags differ, but the headings and bodies on most pages are pretty similar. Does anyone have negative experience with a similar phenomenon or am I just being paranoid about the evaluations of the crawler gods? Thanks for your input, I hope you have a lovely day.

    - Vaudek
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    Look at your competition. If they have significantly different information for each of their pages, then you should too. If they don't, don't worry about it. My understanding is that it isn't so much about whether you meet the SEO requirements perfectly, but rather that you simply do it better than the competing website. So even though ideally, all your content should be unique, Google will be comparing your site against other sites with the same keywords. So even though, for example, auto parts stores may find it reasonably easy to vary the information on each page, if you're selling computer parts and everyone else selling computer parts is unable to vary the content, you should be safe because Google will be ranking you against the other computer parts sellers, not against the auto parts sellers.
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    Originally Posted by FCEnterprises
    Look at your competition. If they have significantly different information for each of their pages, then you should too. If they don't, don't worry about it.
    If they don't, you should definitely still do it. Eat dust, competition!

    This is a common issue with ecommerce sites. Avoid copying manufacturers' descriptions of the products; "cookie cutting" your own is already a little better. Unique content for each product is preferable but could be very time consuming. There are ways you can automate content creation, most notably a review system for user-generated content.
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    thanks for your information
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    Originally Posted by RBremer
    If they don't, you should definitely still do it. Eat dust, competition!

    This is a common issue with ecommerce sites. Avoid copying manufacturers' descriptions of the products; "cookie cutting" your own is already a little better. Unique content for each product is preferable but could be very time consuming. There are ways you can automate content creation, most notably a review system for user-generated content.
    Agreed, but there is often the caveat that manufacturers REQUIRE their descriptions on the products. Not sure if that is an issue for the OP but it is a case where you MUST have duplicate descriptions. The idea of user reviews helps to add some original content, but on a smaller, less popular site it isn't reliable - how often is someone really going to write one out?

    It sounds like all the necessary precautions (titles, images, alt text) have been taken care of. Write unique content if you can, but I would focus more SEO effort on the categories and subcategories where the products are listed. These are pages you have much more free range with and you can write a whole backstory on the product line. The search terms these pages target have more volume than the individual products. For example, you will likely earn more sales total from "Goodyear Integrity" than "Goodyear Integrity P195." That is, if you can manage to rank.
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    Thank you all


    Thank you all for your responses. Further analysis suggests that our primary competitors face similar restraints. I definitely appreciate suggestions for action! On page product reviews seem like a particularly good idea Adam W. Our site currently links from product page to an individual product review page, if we move those reviews on page it should help to differentiate content.

    An aside: This is my first post on this forum and I have to say that I'm amazed by the volume and quality of responses. You've inspired me to be a contributing member. Thanks again!

    -Vaudek
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    If there are thousands of products, giving each one a unique description may not be the best use of time. If spending 200 hours creating new content only stands to improve traffic by ten clicks per day and each click only has potential to earn $1 for every twenty clicks, writing unique content would be a waste of time. However, if re-writing the content takes five hours and stands to improve search results by 500 clicks per day and he averages $50 for every ten click on the page, then writing unique content would be well worthwhile.

    I don't disagree with the fact that writing original content would be useful in many situations, however, it isn't always wise. As with any business decision, you have to consider your ROI.
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    You're welcome!
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    At least take the more lucrative pages and do a little 200 word blurb on them. It can be anything that ads to your site. Give Google a reason to choose your site over everyone else's.

    You can just give a review overview if there are online reviews:

    "This product generally has positive reviews. One reviewer over at the candlelight forums complains that turning the flashlight on with gloves is difficult, so the XXX model might be better for that application since that model is similar bur is turned on by rotating the light head. All reviewers universally rave about the amount of light and the power consumption for this light. Amazon reviews are generally positive as well."

    Or you can discuss some aspect of the product.

    "The lakeland gazebo si simple to erect, using no hand tools. This sets it apart from many portable "gazebos" that require the use oof hand tools. A perfect use for this gazebo is large parties and outdoor gatherings. The canopy needs to have the cover removed during storms as the cover cannot support the weight of rainwater, so removal of the cover when the gazebo is exposed to storms is recommended."

    The products that make you more money with less hassle are worth the extra effort. If you do a few of the most profitable products each week, someday you will have done all of them.

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