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Multiple, Identical Product Descriptions
Do you use them?
burcot




msg:4516902
 10:34 pm on Nov 7, 2012 (gmt 0)

I am working on a site with approx 200 products. Each product has a unique size, shape or colour. The problem is - they all share the same components.

If I write a natural and informative product description, ninety percent of the text would describe the components.

My question - would you guys repeat the component description verbatim or attempt rewriting 200 times?

I realize this question would suite the Google seo forum but I am hoping for opinions based upon real life Ecommerce experience.

 

lorax




msg:4516952
 1:54 am on Nov 8, 2012 (gmt 0)

I'd restructure the site.

It sounds like the sizes, shapes and colours are options to a single line of products. No need to create independent products for each combination because you'll either end up with duplicate content (even if the words aren't exact, the intent is) or looking like an idiot for rewriting the same copy 200 different ways! :)

dpd1




msg:4516984
 3:56 am on Nov 8, 2012 (gmt 0)

I don't know about 200 times. The exact type of product makes a big difference. But I do know that it can make a big difference in sales... at least for me.

I have products that when slightly modified, can perform in totally different applications. I modify them myself. One would think the logical thing to do would be to list the one item, then list the various things that one item can do. Tried that... Didn't work. I now list the same exact item as different things, with different text and names... even sometimes using the exact same photo. More sales that way. Strangely enough, nobody has ever questioned why they all look the same.

Some people need things 100% spelled out for them, or at least that's the way they prefer it I guess.

burcot




msg:4517316
 10:17 pm on Nov 8, 2012 (gmt 0)

I'd restructure the site

Thanks for your interest lorax, it is difficult to explain the problem without using specifics.

If I were selling clothing - I could add size color etc as options. This would enable me to offer multiple products from one page. It isn't that simple I'm afraid :(

even if the words aren't exact, the intent is

That is my fear. Gonna look like spun content at best

One would think the logical thing to do would be to list the one item, then list the various things that one item can do

dpd1 - exactly. I used to list the same product (with identical image) sixteen times. Each listing was simply a different size. Fortunately, back then - the user was the main focus and G didn't seem to mind

dpd1




msg:4517317
 10:33 pm on Nov 8, 2012 (gmt 0)

I don't know... I'm a deliberate idiot when it comes to SEO. I don't even care what Google does. But then, I don't have to sell the same exact thing as 500 other sites, so I feel for you guys that do. But strangely enough, I seem to get excellent ranking, with zero effort. Go figure. lol I guess it's like the chicken and the egg... Which comes first, the product or the advertising?

Bewenched




msg:4517450
 7:40 am on Nov 9, 2012 (gmt 0)

Some people need things 100% spelled out for them


It sure seems that way... I don't know how much more specific we can get with our products, but the general public still buys the wrong size..... they just don't read.

particleman




msg:4518049
 3:28 pm on Nov 11, 2012 (gmt 0)

You should investigate if your cart system can do product options such as color and shape in order to reduce down the number of installed products. I'm sort of repeating what some have said above, but I have had experience with this. It is of no use at all to write garbage descriptions for each product that is basically the same (been there done that). Try to condense them as much as you can. Keep usability in mind. It makes more sense to land on a page about square widgets and see a drop down to pick the color than have 20 different colors of square widgets installed as products. If you want your site to look "big" by doing this then it won't help you in the eyes of google at all.

lorax




msg:4518154
 12:57 am on Nov 12, 2012 (gmt 0)

Okay - I did a bit of research (after exchanging stickies with burcot) and here are some additional thoughts.

First, the page of your competition that ranks well isn't a product page - it's a category level page which backs up my theory that multiple products with similar copy won't rank as well as one page with excellent copy and options.

I see the trouble you're having with how to display all of the products/options. Here's a thought though:

Write copy for the first of the category level pages. Write about the different options and explain how they're different, what they do and what a buyer might want to consider before they buy. Make this page buyer centric - answer all of the questions they'll have about the products and the options. This is not the place to discuss shipping or warranties though you can mention them (and link to the appropriate page). Use this page as you KW target page. Make it extremely user friendly.

Provide a few of your top selling products on this page but make sure they're distinctly different in appearance so the buyer will instantly see the difference. Location of these should be above the fold somehow (sidebar?) Make sure these include links to the respective product pages. Think about including a Buy Now option for each one of these - no more than 4 or 6 on this page.

Then provide a link to Page 2 of the product listings (no copy on these pages - just products). Continue with pagination as you normally would. Be sure they all have an link back to that first category level page for the main keyword(s)

Focus your efforts on that category level page.

MLHmptn




msg:4518647
 4:54 am on Nov 13, 2012 (gmt 0)

Six months ago I would have said build it with one description and add variants/attributes etc. due to duplicate descriptions, BUT now that Google has thrown everything out the door I would build strictly for your users. Reason I say this is who cares what Google thinks now, they themselves say to build for the user. Well the user doesn't always realize other colors (or variants for that matter) are available if only one color is shown near any "Call of action" button. Sadly my newest website has a lot of duplicate descriptions with only a difference of the color in the copy but each color is shown front and center with its own sku versus having products with variants. I can only imagine sales will increase due to the customer seeing the different colors, sadly I will most likely get a nice warning from Google saying "DUPLICATE DESCRIPTIONS" of which I'd like to respond to them...."BUILD FOR THE USER".

particleman




msg:4518720
 1:02 pm on Nov 13, 2012 (gmt 0)

Amazon handles colors nicely, 1 product listing, colors are listed as thumbnails, when you click the colored item the price changes if applicable.

burcot




msg:4518874
 9:53 pm on Nov 13, 2012 (gmt 0)

Thanks for your thoughts everyone. Isn't it a shame that we have to pander to the whim of G instead of our customers.

Lorax - Thank you for the time you have invested in my questions.

My aim is to rank the homepage and category pages. My concern was - duplicate descriptions on product pages bringing the whole site down

I am going to follow your suggestions and see what happens.

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