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Better to combine similar products or keep separate pages
Need Some Help




msg:4614331
 9:40 pm on Oct 2, 2013 (gmt 0)

Hello all, I'm pretty new to the e-commerce scene and it feels like I jumped in the deep end of the pool.

My site has a few thousand products on it, many having similar descriptions and specifications. For example, one series has 12 products, the only difference between each of them is their size and dimensions. As such, would it be better to put them all on one page or would it be better to keep them all separate? The only reason I have not combined them yet is because the e-commerce platform I'm currently using does not allow me to change the page content when selecting different options.

I understand google penalizes for duplicate or even similar so I would combine for that reason. At the same time the different SKU's for products do not get indexed on combined pages. Is there anyway for me to get around this?

Any help is greatly appreciated!

 

netmeg




msg:4614341
 10:24 pm on Oct 2, 2013 (gmt 0)

I'm having my clients combine products where possible, even if we have to redo the SKUs. In other cases where that isn't possible, we only let one or two pages into Google and Bing, and mention the fact that we have other colors or sizes on that page.

But overall, I would say it depends on the percentage of your products that are situated like that. If it's only five percent of your total products, you're probably okay. If it's 25 percent or more, you're going to have to come up with something.

Need Some Help




msg:4614351
 11:57 pm on Oct 2, 2013 (gmt 0)

Thanks for the quick reply netmeg!

I just found out that our system does not allow us to have different prices for combined products.

However, I would say almost 80% of the products on our site fall under this problem of having similar specs or descriptions. Looks like I'm stuck until I move to a more versatile system.

FranticFish




msg:4614376
 7:43 am on Oct 3, 2013 (gmt 0)

You could:

1) 'noindex, follow' the near-dupes and mention the options in the product description for the page that you do show to Google

2) use rel=canonical or Google's url parameter tool to try to amalgamate the pages into one virtual page for Google (N.B. not guaranteed to work and the parameter tool should be used carefully)

I think 'condensing' products and having options instead of multiple products is best for humans too though, so I'd look to get the CMS tweaked.

Robert Charlton




msg:4614381
 8:29 am on Oct 3, 2013 (gmt 0)

Timely thread, as I'm just beginning to deal with this.

To throw in an additional complicating thought, on some products I'll be dealing with, different sizes or lengths will likely affect shipping costs substantially.

Am also not familiar enough with their system yet, but I think that some sizes and dimensions are built into traditional product numbers (beyond SKUs), that involve the entire distribution network, printed brochures, etc.

Some sizes, I know, also affect product popularity, by an overwhelming amount, so much that one would want to link to this different size separately. :(

Thoughts?

netmeg




msg:4614533
 6:42 pm on Oct 3, 2013 (gmt 0)

I have a client where about 40% of his products (around 1500 of em) can be customized in various ways, from imprints to sizes to colors to fabrics to options, and a lot of those options entail a product price change (some entail a shipping charge change because they add to the weight) We're still grappling with how best to do this, both from a user experience and not to mess all over ourselves in the search engines.

Long term, the idea is to combine as much information as we can into as few pages as we can and still make it useful for the consumer. We don't have a shopping cart solution that will handle everything out of the box, so custom programming is going to have to be done at some point.

Right now - all the easiest products are being combined onto a single page where it makes sense to do so.

We're working on a "widget-builder" customization tool where the customers can see their widgets every step of the way as they choose sizes, colors, options.

Some "brand builder" products will have adjunct information pages, where people can get FAQ or support info, customer success stories, application ideas, etc.

That's about as far as we've got. Is a puzzlement for sure.

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