Monday, July 23, 2012

Google's Duplicate Content Issue and Etsy Shops

Originally published in Etsy forums in June, 2011

There have been a number of Etsy forum threads and I have also been personally contacted by Etsy sellers asking about a big drop in views and sales since 2/2011, placing blame on Etsy. This is understandable since Etsy added a new search around this time. 

But this is not all about Etsy . . . .

The shops which have been affected have something in common: duplicate content from one listing to another on Etsy and as well as the same items with the same titles and descriptions listed on other Web sites.

In February, duplicate content became a bigger issue with Google than ever before - Google stopped index Web pages that it considered duplications of other Web pages. Ecommerce Web sites were affected simply because so much information in each product listing is the same from one listing to another. This recent algorithm change is called Panda or Farmer. 

There are many blog articles about the Panda/Farmer update. You can read how ecommerce sites have been affected in one article 

You can also read a forewarning about this update on one of Google's own, dated 1/21/2011. Included in this long blog post, is this one sentence: "And we’re evaluating multiple changes that should help drive spam levels even lower, including one change that primarily affects sites that copy others’ content and sites with low levels of original content."

The key words here are "sites that copy others' content." Duplicated ecommerce listings were caught in this big and very general Spam Net.

Duplicating information from one listing to another can be very efficient but, but now it can and does affect all of your listings on all of your online venues. One way to work around this is to place this duplicated information on the shop policy page and include a link from each listing to the shop policy page.

The only way that ecommerce web sites are recovering from this hit from Google is by using unique text content for every product listing. This recovery will work on Etsy as well as other similar online venues.

No one knows exactly how much of each product listing has to be unique. The best way to find out is to make some changes and test the results in Google searches to see if all of your listings are displayed.

Creating unique text for product listings is what is working to recover traffic. 

SEO and Relevancy Guide Books


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