How to Deal with Duplicate Product Descriptions
SEO content checks are important as they allow site owners to identify and address duplicate issues and ensure quality content. Recently, Google’s Search Advocate John Mueller gave guidelines on making unique SEO content descriptions for identical products without getting duplicate content issues. Although Mueller noted that having duplicate content on one’s website is not a negative signal, he said that having unique descriptions assists Google in ranking pages for highly similar items.
He provided some creative suggestions for writing product descriptions in a Google Search Central SEO office-hours hangout on 7 January.
Mueller explained how to distinguish descriptions for similar items and the importance of writing text that describes how a product is visually unique from others.
Same Descriptions for Different Products
A person asked Mueller how Google treats ranking e-commerce web pages for different products with a similar description. They said the situation involved handmade shoes for a certain age group, created with similar materials and techniques. The only distinction is the shoes’ designs.
This person asked Mueller if Google would consider the product descriptions as duplicate content, as they plan on writing a single high-quality product description for all items. They were also concerned if writing a unique description for each product would reduce the content’s quality.
Unique Content Does Not Reduce Quality
Mueller doubts that the content’s quality would suffer if site owners and publishers create original descriptions for each product. He even assured the person that product descriptions can be unique and high-quality.
Google Does Not Penalise Duplicate Content
Next, Mueller addressed the person’s main question about duplicate content. He said that Google’s system knows what duplicate content is, but it would not penalise a website for having duplicates.
So, when a user searches for a piece of text within the duplicated product descriptions, Google would instantly recognise that this piece of text can be found on several other pages on the same website. The system would choose maybe one or two product descriptions from the website and show them in the search results. In a nutshell, Google neither demotes nor penalises sites for duplicate content.
Showing Multiple Pages of Same Content Does Not Make Sense
Mueller suggests that restricting the number of pages displayed in search results from a single website is a worthwhile consideration.
He said that Google notices if a website contains many pages with the same content. So, if a user is looking for specific information, it’s not logical for Google to show all of those web pages. And that is reasonable because when people search for something, they do not need to find or visit all of the web pages within the website that contain that same piece of content.
Helping Google Rank Similar Products
Mueller notes the importance of using text to describe a product’s appearance. He stated that failing to describe a product’s appearance adequately may negatively impact search presence.
He said that when an e-commerce website does not have anything in textual content to describe their products’ visual elements, it is difficult for Google to show them properly in the search results.
Mueller then used the person’s website as an example. The person asking the question mentioned that their website sells handmade shoes. Suppose they have red and blue shoes but never stated their products’ colour on their website. If someone searches for blue shoes, Google might think that the website is irrelevant because it did not use “blue shoes” anywhere on its pages.
Mueller said that it is acceptable to leave a few parts of the product descriptions similar. However, one should write something that uniquely describes the products’ visual elements.
Duplicate Content Makes It Difficult for Google to Rank Pages
According to Mueller, Google will not demote a site for duplicate content. However, he also said that Google has a harder time ranking pages without text content that discusses the product’s visual quality.
So, suppose the product descriptions for comparable items are identical. In that case, one should look for the right words to correctly describe the features that distinguish each item from one another, such as its intended use. Mueller particularly encouraged e-commerce publishers to write text describing what makes one product visually distinct from others. It also helps to conduct SEO content checks to ensure that previously written content perfectly describes the products’ appearance.
Tips on Writing Product Descriptions
Engaging and creative product descriptions are important in leading customers through the sales funnel. They allow products to be more appealing and convert more sales if they’re infused with a little bit of creativity and enthusiasm. Moreover, it greatly benefits one’s SEO by achieving higher traffic, greater user experience, and a better conversion rate.
Below are some simple tips when writing product descriptions:
1. Include persuasive words
Persuasive words, such as “easy”, “now”, “remarkable”, “introducing”, “quick”, “hurry”, and more may lead to sales. These words can entice readers to take action.
It’s important to be clear and honest when writing product descriptions, but being truthful doesn’t imply pointing out the product’s shortcomings; rather, it emphasises the product’s advantages to encourage and persuade the reader.
2. Tell stories
Storytelling is a powerful tool for attracting and converting visitors into clients. Readers on the other side of the screen can’t physically touch or feel the product, so they rely on photos and product descriptions. That is why appealing to the reader’s imagination when describing product features might be a good strategy to improve conversions.
3. Keep copy concise
The product descriptions should be simple and quick to understand. A technique to create scannability is to add bullet points at the bottom of the description with clear and essential information about the product. Readers typically don’t have enough time to thoroughly read your description, so ensuring that they receive all vital information can help them stay focused and convert. One should also avoid unnecessary words that can distract and disengage users from the conversion funnel.
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