Duplicate Content on eCommerce Websites – How only translators and copywriters can help!

Now let’s go further with the explanation.

1 – The difference between internal and external duplicate content in the context of eCommerce platforms.

Duplicate content is pretty common and as long as the intent isn’t malicious, there is no need to worry.
That said, duplicate content has an impact on search engine rankings, and a few steps must be taken in order to make sure the site you are working on won’t be marked as low quality or even penalized.

What is internal duplicate content?
In the context of eCommerce shops, “internal duplicate content” refers to texts such as article descriptions that are reproduced multiple times on the same website. This is linked with low quality websites and might decrease the website’s position in the rankings.

Working on eCommerce shops can be very tedious, and the temptation to copy and paste the same text for numerous articles is high. Keep in mind, though, that every item of content should be unique and written with the users’ needs in mind. Even if the products are similar!

What is external duplicate content?
There are 2 examples I want to highlight here:

First, let’s speak about content coming from a manufacturer’s website.
If your client sells glasses, for example, he/she will buy the glasses from a manufacturer and be tempted to use the manufacturer’s product description on his website. This must be avoided.
A second example: your client wants to increase revenues by selling products on one of the world’s largest retailer platforms: Amazon.
Most business owners wouldn’t bother writing new product descriptions for this platform. But that isn’t the right way to do it. Why? Amazon has a lot of authority, and the probability is high that it will outrank your client’s website.
In other words, search engines will mark the content written on the owner’s website as content copied from Amazon.
Too few eCommerce shop owners are aware of this. The solution is obviously to write compelling and distinctive article descriptions for each platform.

One question I regularly get is:
– Is it considered duplicate content if I include a citation on my website? No, it is not.
2 pieces of advice, however: Don’t forget to include where you got the citation from, and be cautious with two many citations. You always want to add value and write something new. A collection of content that has already been posted on other sites won’t give you or your website the expert status you want to achieve.

2 – The tools to help you spot duplicate content.

The two tools I work with on a regular basis are Copyscape (www.copyscape.com) and Siteliner (www.siteliner.com). The second one is my favorite.

You insert the URL of the website you are working on, and the program gives you various statistics, including information on duplicate content. You can then click on the link and see exactly which content is duplicate, whether internally or externally. Then you can proceed with fixing the problem.

3 – How only translators and copywriters can fix duplicate content.

Before going further with this subject, I have to say that duplicate content also has a technical side that can be fixed by using rel=canonical in the URL or making sure every URL is unique.
But let’s concentrate here on the linguistic aspect of duplicate content.

Every piece of content should begin with bringing real value to the user. With this in mind, you want to write compelling texts!

I know it’s not always easy to write interesting content while working on a product description. A few weeks ago, a friend of mine had to write descriptions for mops, and she had quite a hard time of it. Afterwards, it became a very funny story.

When it comes to content, you want to answer all the user’s questions. Put yourself in his/her shoes and make a bucket list of all the questions he/she might have before diving into the particular product.

One of my clients installed the Yoast SEO Plugin on his WordPress site. It takes different parameters into account and can be very useful when used properly. Have a look.

Plugin for Ecommerce shops

(Source: www.yoast.com)

But…This plugin is still only a tool, and it can’t tell if content is compelling for the buyer. My advice: don’t set up your article solely in order to get all the green lights. It will quickly become obvious that you are only writing for SEO.

With my clients, I’ve seen traffic increase as much as 50 % as soon as the texts were rewritten and a real effort was made to meet the users’ information needs.

Before wrapping up this article, I would like to give you 2 bonus tips.
The first one is called “interlinking.” At the end of a product description, add links to 1 to 3 related products that the users might be interested in. You help your customer with navigation, and it increases the time the user spends on the website. Search engines consider this proof of a high-quality user experience.

My second piece of advice is to tag all your product pictures. If you watched my first video (“What is SEO”), you know that search engine optimization is applied to texts, videos and pictures.

Next time you have a client asking you to work on his eCommerce shop, you’ll be able to add some great services to your expert repertoire and help him or her on a whole new level.

If you are already working on eCommerce platforms, leave a comment below and tell me about your experience so far. I would be happy to hear from you. Until then, stay tuned and I will keep you updated next week with a new post on how to tag pictures properly.


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