Dealing With Duplicate Content


Image by L.Whittaker

For a large or even moderately-sized eCommerce site, learning that your site is full of ‘duplicate content’ is a harsh wake-up call.

Duplicate content is a great way to ensure that your site doesn’t appear prominently in any search engine, and it’s easy to end up with it.

Using suspiciously cheap freelancers, manufacturer’s descriptions, or spun content can all result in your entire site being full of duplicate content, and it can be difficult to work out where to start.

Hopefully, this post should help you get a grip on your biggest problems.

What Kind Of Duplicate Content Do You Have?
This is the most important issue to address.

If, for instance, you have hundreds of pages of deliberately plagiarised content, you should firstly feel ashamed of yourself, and secondly remove all of the copied text, to be replaced as soon as possible. Apologising to the people you plagiarised is an optional bonus.

If you have spun content, or content that was plagiarised but the plagiarism was obfuscated in some way, you have a couple of options. Seriously spun content, which tends to be almost unintelligible to the average human reader, is not going to register as duplicate content, but needs to be cleaned up and edited manually. Lightly spun content can be more heavily edited so that the substance of the text reads differently on every page.

Manufacturer’s descriptions should be completely restructured and reworded on as many pages as possible. Treat this as an ongoing project, and brute force it with man-hours and decent copywriters. It’s tough, but it’s worth it for the extra search traffic.

Finally, there’s the problem of what to do with multiple similar products. There’s not much difference between a half-inch screw and an inch-long screw, so if you’re a site that deals in a lot of hardware you’ve got a problem.

How Should You Write Your New Content?
You should see this as an opportunity to really freshen up your site, and strengthen your brand image, as well as fixing a technical SEO problem.

Writing with a unique and creative voice on your site will give readers a reason to remember and maybe even link to your pages. As long as you’re still being clear, straightforward and informative there’s no reason you shouldn’t put your own spin on your products.

As an example of tailored on-site content, this Bristol SEO agency, for instance, has written about subjects unique to Bristol, such as its business-friendly atmosphere and highly creative cultural traditions.

There’s a point where substituting synonyms and switching paragraph and sentence orders just won’t cut it anymore – truly original and fresh content stands out, and you will be able to reap the dividends of all that hard work.

Besides, it’s just more fun to create something that has your own brand’s stamp on it!

No Shortcuts
When writing your own on-site content, there are no shortcuts.

The more work you put into your site, the more you will get out of it.

Fortunately, this sort of work isn’t an all-or-nothing proposition, but an ongoing project that will yield quality results as soon as you get started.

So if you’ve got an eCommerce site that’s lagging behind in organic search, check to see if duplicate content is the problem, and get cracking!

Attached Images:
  •  License: Creative Commons image source

James Duval is a technology and business writer for Strategy Internet Marketing, a Bristol-based digital marketing company offering SEO and CRO services.

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