Overcoming Duplicate Content Issues on E-Commerce Websites
Seasoned search engine optimisation technicians or those that are just learning are at some point going to have to face issues when working on e-commerce…
Seasoned search engine optimisation technicians or those that are just learning are at some point going to have to face issues when working on e-commerce websites. Due to the scale of these websites, it’s nearly impossible to make sure the site is perfect but we can try our best to make sure there are as few issues as possible. In this post I’m going to cover the main issues you’re likely to encounter when working on an online store.
There are two kinds of duplicate content you may encounter on an e-commerce site (this is a bonus, because you’re getting two-for-one).
Duplicate content caused by lack of canonical tags
A feature on many e-commerce websites is faceted navigation and filtering, this allows the user to filter product selections to show only items that are relevant to them. Unfortunately for you, that means that the same content could be displayed and crawled. What’s the ideal solution for this? The useful rel=canonical tag, which I’ll show you how to use in just a few moments.
Duplicate content could also be caused by an individual item appearing in multiple categories. For example, a shoe may not only appear in “Black Shoes” but also in “Leather Shoes” and “Tommy Hilfiger Shoes”. Each of these pages may have a separate URL path, which is fine, but we need to make sure we are making Google aware that a canonical version of the page exists by using the rel=canonical tag.
To use the rel=canonical tag, you need to choose the main version of your page, and place the following in between the <head></head> tags on your website:
<link rel="canonical" href="http://domain.com/path/to/canonical/version" />
Duplicate content caused by the use of “stock” copy
This may only be a problem if you’re selling products by other people. Each product on your website should have a unique description, but if you’re selling a product that many other websites sell there’s a chance that your copy is exactly the same as another sites. The best solution for this is to hire copywriters to write unique, keyword-rich content. Not only should this help you out-perform your competitors, but — if written by a good copywriter — it could also be more engaging for the user.
Written by Jason John Mills