A 5-Minute Hack to Eliminate Duplicate Content on Your Ecommerce Store

A 5-Minute Hack to Eliminate Duplicate Content on Your Ecommerce Store

When you’re starting an ecommerce store, you have a lot of things to consider. Make no mistake about it: You’ll work hard, with no excuses—but the rewards will be well worth the effort.

First, you’ll need to choose a sturdy platform for your business, and the multitude of choices can leave your head spinning. Do your homework, though, and you’re sure to find a stable site that offers plenty of room for your business to grow. According to Bill Carmody of Inc., the top 5 ecommerce sites are Shopify, BigCommerce, Magento, YoKart, and Big Cartel.

Once you get your store up and running, you’ll have other issues to consider. Take the problem of duplicate content, for example.


What Is Duplicate Content and Why Does It Matter?

The phrase “duplicate content” refers to the phenomenon of a single page on a particular website being available from different internet addresses, or URLs. These occurrences are important because they can negatively affect your store’s rankings with search engines like Bing and Google.

As a matter of fact, some search engine optimization (SEO) experts say that duplicate content is your ecommerce store’s chief enemy in its climb toward the top of the rankings. Until you have eliminated duplicate pages at your ecommerce store, nearly all of your efforts to increase your status in search results will be in vain.

Fortunately, the knowledgeable folks at Magento have been kind enough to share a useful hack that can minimize or even eliminate duplicate content. Read on for more.


Where Does Duplicate Content Come From?

Of course, you either designed your ecommerce site with meticulous care or hired an expert to do that for you. So duplicate content most likely didn’t exist on your site when it was brand new. Duplicate content is some of the debris that can collect on a site over time, and keeping it at bay is a matter of routine site maintenance.

If your ecommerce store has been open for a while, you might not even realize that duplicate content has gathered in the corners of your site like dust bunnies in a normally well kept home.

One of the ways duplicate content can happen is when you give your customers the option to sort your products in different ways, such as “newest,” “bestsellers,” or “summer sale.” Each search, then, produces a separate internet address.


Get Acquainted with the Different Types of Duplicate Content

When different internet addresses lead users to identical pages, such as illustrated in the drawing above, this is called full duplication. Full duplication negatively affects your store’s SEO rankings.

Partial duplicates are pages that have a significant percentage of duplicate content but still have minor differences, either in the text blocks or in the images. Since some of your products will likely fall into more than one category, sorted searches can lead to blocks of identical information ending up on different pages, causing partial duplications. Partial duplication is nearly as bad—in the view of those picky search engines—as full duplication.


What to Do? What to Do?

You can eliminate the problem at the source, however, by following a few simple steps:

Go to Google Webmaster Tools, then click on Crawl, and find your store’s URL. You should see a table that looks something like this:

Next, click “edit” and choose “yes” in the dropdown menu in answer to the question, “Does this parameter change page content seen by the user?”

Choose the radio button for “No URLs” in answer to the question, “Which URLs with this parameter should Googlebot crawl?” At this point, you should be seeing something like this on your computer screen:

Save your new choices and give yourself a hearty high five. You have now outwitted those pesky duplicate pages at their very source.


Find More Help if You Need It

If this simple fix does not completely eliminate your ecommerce store’s problems with duplicate content, look online for more help. In addition, there are automated tools that can help as well.

With diligence, you can keep your ecommerce store running smoothly, climbing ever higher in the search engine rankings and drawing lots of satisfied customers your way.