Ecommerce websites run into a lot of content problems, especially when it comes to their product pages. A single website can host thousands of product pages, and this makes it prone to content issues such as thin content and duplicate content. Leaving these issues unresolved can damage your website’s rankings on SERPs. This post will provide more information on these two issues, and offer solutions to improve your website’s search performance.
The Problem: While websites with strong, established domains like Amazon and eBay can get away with thin content, other eCommerce websites still need to make sure their product pages contain valuable, engaging content.
Some of Amazon’s product descriptions look thin on their own, but the combined strength of the domain and the additional editorial and customer reviews and related products add value to their product pages.
Identifying thin content isn’t just about counting the number of words on each page. Looking at statistics like bounce rate and average time on page can also help you determine if you need to thicken up the content. Pages with 95-99% bounce rate and an average time on page between 0.1 to 5 seconds could benefit from a new content strategy.
The Solution: After identifying pages with “thin content, you need to determine how to add more value to them and make them interesting enough to reduce your bounce rates and improve user engagement. Some recommended solutions include:
- Enabling and encouraging user reviews/comments
- Create additional content for the page, such as additional features and benefits
- Combine different variations of a single product into one page
- Display related products or relevant promotions and special offers
There are three different types of duplicate content problems that are common to ecommerce product pages, the best solution varies for each.
The Problem: Copy-Pasted Product Descriptions
Many ecommerce websites that sell products manufactured by other companies make the mistake of copy-pasting descriptions straight from the manufacturer’s website.
The Solution: Create your own product descriptions to make them unique to your website. If you have hundreds of pages with copy-pasted product descriptions, choose which pages to prioritize and look for expert SEO services that can handle the writing for you.
The Problem: Duplicate Product Descriptions for Product Variants
Some websites have pages for different versions of the same product, and use the same descriptions for each.
The product pages for color variants of these Grendha shoes on Zalora use the exact same product description.
The Solution: As mentioned above, you can always combine variants of the same product into one page. Zappos does this using drop down menus and clickable images that show the different options to choose from.
Don’t forget to implement 301 redirects for the old URLs to make them all lead customers to the new condensed page.
The Problem: Duplicate Pages Generated by Search Query Strings
Multi-faceted navigation for products makes it easier for customers to find the exact product they want through categories and filters, but this can generate duplicate versions of the same page with the search filters appended to the URL.
The Dorothy Perkins US website displays the same block of descriptive text for the “Dresses” default page and pages with selected filters (Style, Size, and so on).
The Solution: The solutions have more to do with web development than content creation. You can use one of the following methods to handle duplicate content from search queries:
- Use the rel=”canonical” tag to distinguish between original and duplicate content
- Use Robots.txt to block faceted pages
- Identify URL parameters to ignore using Google Webmaster Tools’ parameter handling feature
Improving your online store’s search ranking and performance requires a good combination of unique content and effective web development. Talk to us to see how we can get you better sales and conversions through ecommerce SEO, design, and development.