Q and A: How do I avoid duplicate content created by my CMS for product pages on my site?

QuestionDear Kalena…

You’ve helped us out with a couple of problems over the years ~ thanks again. Don’t have a problem this time but I do want to get your opinion/guidance so I can maybe AVOID a problem.

We handle over 5,000 products, and we want to create a page for each product using an automated page generator. Same as what thousands of other people do. Nothing fancy and no SEO tricks. Just a brief description of the item, price & how to order.

I’ll be using a template, of course, and about 75% of the words (excluding shared borders) will be common to all pages. The other 25% of words on a given page will be unique to the product/page in question.

I may be overly cautious, but I’ve learned the hard way that what seems like a good idea or what the rest of the herd is doing might not be acceptable to the SE’s, especially if not executed properly. We have a fairly well-performing website and the stakes get higher as we grow. So, any tips on what to do / not do when creating these individual product page would be appreciated.

Thanks
Rick

Dear Rick,

Sometimes it’s possible to reduce duplicate content by placing that content in a dedicated section of your website and then linking to it where necessary (this can apply to things like shipping/handling, product guarantees, returns policies and terms & conditions… which some store owners will try and display on every page but could quit easily be put elsewhere).

Another way to make the search engines focus on the unique content is by using emphasis tags (such as H1, H2, bold, italics etc.) and use them sparingly (or don’t use them at all) in your page header, footer and other duplicate parts of the page. This will help the spiders isolate your unique page-specific content as well as drawing your readers attention to the most important parts of the page.

You could also try and setup a feature that allows users to add reviews or feedback on each of the products. This user-generated content would become yet another source of additional unique content for each page (and what’s better is you didn’t have to write it yourself).

Hope this helps!

Peter Newsome
SiteMost SEO Brisbane

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