Why Duplicate Content is Terrible for SEO - Small and Mighty Co.

Why Duplicate Content is Terrible for SEO

SEO Expert Pri Kruijen gives us the lowdown on why duplicate content is hindering your business being found on Google.

Why Duplicate Content is Terrible for SEO | smallandmighty.co

What is duplicate content?

Before we deep dive into duplicate content and how it affects your website SEO, it’s important to understand what it is and how easily you can create it. While having the same copy on several pages, such as footer information or side menu widgets for your blog is acceptable, having large paragraphs can cause issues. There is no official figure that is deemed appropriate but an industry standard is around 20-30%.

The easiest ways for makers to create duplicate content on their website is to:

  • Use the same product descriptions across several platforms like their website, Etsy, Not On The High Street, Folksy, etc
  • Create multiple pages for the same product in different colours
  • Use generic product descriptions that are also used like bigger retailers like John Lewis and Amazon
  • Create multiple product pages for several categories rather than using tagging best practices
  • Use too many filters to describe products

Why is duplicate content is an issue?

From a customer’s point of view

Finding the right product can be a frustrating experience, especially if you have a large inventory. On the contrary, it also opens up to the question of how many products you have in your catalogue as it may look like you have a limited number of items.

From Google’s point of view

If providing a bad experience for your customers wasn’t enough to change your mind about duplicate content, this definitely will. Google has several ways of dealing with situations like this and the most common ones are:

  • You may find that other platforms or websites rank higher than you due to the domain authority
  • Google decides which product pages are relevant so may only show some of them in the search results
  • Google exhausts the crawl limit allocated to your website so new pages are not found when they are available

How to check if you have duplicate content?

Checking your website will depend on a number of different factors, here is a quick list of questions to ask yourself when looking at your business:

  • Aside from your own website, what other platforms do you use?
  • Are you creating individual product descriptions for each one or using the same ones? How have you implemented your product and category tags? Are you familiar with the best practice?
  • Are you selling any widely sold products that can be found in bigger online retailers? If so, did you write the copy or just use generic descriptions? Take a snippet and search in Google to see how many other pages are using the same content.
  • Have you created several listings for the same products because the dimensions or colours are different? Have you created unnecessary filters to show your product range in multiple ways?

Once you know the answer to these questions, you can look at SEO factors like clicks, average position, conversion details and number of sales to determine how you should clean up your online shop.

Steps to avoid duplicate content

The number one tip to avoid creating duplicate content is to have a visual sitemap for your online shop so you can map products to categories and decide how you want to display them for your customers. As small business owners, we want to give our customers as many options as possible, however, this can be overwhelming and cause decision paralysis.

“decision paralysis” —the complete lack of ability to decide.

By having a visual map of how your products interact with your categories and shop filters, you’ll be able to create keyword rich products that are unique to your website and convert better.

E-commerce SEO can be complex if best practices have been not implemented from the beginner. Having extra support when you remove pages is recommended to avoid deleting valuable pages that not only provide search results but also product sales. If you feel like you need some assistance, do reach out to me.

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