Duplicate Content - Is It Harming My Website?

With all of the sites available today, competition can be tough and you have to be on your A game to compete within most niches. It’s more important than ever that your website and SEO tactics are streamlined and up to date. Now is a good time to give your website a good look through and make sure you don’t have any of the following issues that could harm your site. If you do happen to find something problematic, we’ll talk about how to correct it. 

Problem #1 - Duplicate Content

This is by no means a new issue, but it has drawn more attention over the years and become a potentially harmful problem. Depending on the type of website you have, you may have hundreds or even thousands of products on your website and writing descriptive content for each one can be a bit daunting. It’s tempting to use the manufacturer descriptions or copy another website, but if you want to rank well, it’s up to you to write your own content. If you’re not sure whether you have duplicate content on your site, there are several programs you can use to make the job faster and easier - Live ImaginationAffinity Tracker, and Organic SEO Manager being one of them. These applications provide automated scanning of your website to identify any potential duplicate content.

Depending on how much re-writing you may have to do, it’s okay to work on your descriptions a bit at a time. Obviously do your most valuable items first and consider setting the rest of your duplicate descriptions to No-Index. You won’t rank for these pages, but neither will you get penalized and this will allow you to make your changes as you are able. 

Problem #2 - Thin Content

Thin content can be almost as harmful as duplicate content, but don’t worry, we’ll take a look at how to fix this problem. Not sure what thin content even means? Ask yourself a few questions to determine the answer: does this page provide unique information on a product? Could this information be combined with other similar pages? Do people spend much time on this page when they visit? Each page of your website should have at least 300 or more words of unique content. If they don’t, you’ve got a problem.

You may start finding pages that are just not needed as they don’t contain much information or you find similar information on other pages. It’s time to correct that mistake. First off, you can remove the page completely. If you find pages that are no longer useful, do not get any traffic, or do not provide important information about a product, get rid of it! There is no sense in keeping pages that are unhelpful to customers and causing you hassle. You can also help yourself by merging the page with similar pages. For example, you could have a page with a blue candle and a page with a red candle. However, if the candles are the same and come in a variety of sizes, colors, and so on, you might want to combine them into a single page. 

If you find you’re not meeting the 300 word product limit, you can think about writing content yourself. If you sell candles, you might think it difficult to come up with that much content for each candle, but consider what you are including in your description: how it’s made, exchange information, commonly asked questions, detailed specs, etc. Still not convinced? Take a look at Amazon’s site. They provide product descriptions, information about pricing and shipping, whether the product is in stock, and most important, they include customer reviews. Also, everything is laid out neatly and easy to read.

Once you have your product descriptions written up, make every effort you can to include product reviews from your customers. The opinions of your other customers will go a long way in getting potential customers to make a purchase. Plus, reviews give you credibility and build a level of trust with your customers. 

Problem #3 - Duplicate Page Title Tags

This is a very common problem and happens all the time, especially among larger e-commerce sites with lots of product pages. There are many ways to address this problem, it just depends on how big your site is. Here are a couple of solutions that you could try to get rid of duplicate page title tags: 

  • If your site is fairly small, you can manually review and update the title for each page of your site.
  • Delete pages that offer little or no value to your site.
  • 301 Redirect the other pages to the primary page with the title
  • Merge similar pages into a single page. 

Removing duplicate content and thin content is a time consuming process and will take effort on your part. However, the extra time will be completely worth it if you want to rank on search engines. Nobody said having a business was going to be easy and this will be one more step to help you be more successful and gather more traffic to your site.