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User Reviews - Avoiding Duplicate Content
markds




msg:4670666
 9:08 am on May 13, 2014 (gmt 0)

Hi everyone,

I have been doing SEO for quite a while now, but I have run in to an issue that I need new eyes on.

I have an online comparison website that compares products in different categories. One very central part of the website is the objective user-generated content (user reviews), and this is where I am in doubt about the setup.

I want to maximize the SEO value that we obtain from the user reviews, and therefore I would like for each user review to have its own unique URL, as well as a snippet being shown on the product review page. This leads to duplicate content issues.

I have thought about the following setup (which I would assume is best for SEO, but not for UX):
1) Show snippets of 5-10 most helpful user reviews on the product review page. Links to each individual unique user review URL, and a link to a:
2) User review aggregator page that shows snippets of all user reviews with pagination.
3) One unique URL that shows the full user review. Linked to from the product page and the user review aggregator page.

Obviously, this is a lot of clicking back and forth to read a user review, which is bad for UX, but as I see it, it eliminates the possibility of duplicate content. My questions are:

1) Will the user review aggregator page be seen as duplicate content, since it obviously only shows content that is also present on other pages on the site?
2) Are there alternative setups that can integrate the user reviews on the product page, so people do not have to click back and forth to read all of them, while still having each user review on a unique URL and avoiding duplicate content?

Thank you in advance for your help.

Best regards,
Mark

 

netmeg




msg:4670725
 12:44 pm on May 13, 2014 (gmt 0)

Personally, I would never put reviews on a separate URL, and I always vote for user over SEO. Always. Always.

I don't think this is going to work out well for you. It's not a 2014 tactic.

Sand




msg:4670790
 6:21 pm on May 13, 2014 (gmt 0)

Like netmeg, I wouldn't give each review its own URL. I don't see a benefit from it at all. Even if everything else was equal, what use would a standalone user review (which are usually very short and most often not especially great), have as an entry page to your site? I'd imagine that the conversions would be extremely poor.

I also wouldn't really worry about duplicate content like this. I haven't seen any problems with having the same snippets of text on different pages on my site. It's when I have many whole pages that are the same, or if my content is the same as content on other sites.

markds




msg:4670806
 7:35 pm on May 13, 2014 (gmt 0)

Thanks a lot for your replies.

Regarding giving the reviews their own URL, the reasoning is that it will accumulate to many more indexed pages (being more of an authority site, since we only have 200ish (very content rich) pages at the moment) and especially the fact that there will be several pages with unique content.

If we do not give the reviews their own URL, how would you structure the hundreds of reviews on the page then? Would you load all of them at once on the product page or have one single user review aggregator page with all of them?

Once again thanks!

tangor




msg:4670818
 8:43 pm on May 13, 2014 (gmt 0)

A simple "View User Reviews" link to the aggregate page would make more sense. If the user wants to read reviews that will take him straight there.

netmeg




msg:4670832
 9:56 pm on May 13, 2014 (gmt 0)

You don't want more indexed pages unless they're useful, unique and user friendly. If they're thin or duplicate, I keep them OUT of Google. I'd much rather have fewer good pages than a lot of meh pages.

As for hundreds of reviews on a page - who's going to read hundreds of reviews, anyway? Most people read a handful at best.

I'd show the ten or twenty most recent on the page, with a link to an URL that contains all the rest of them. Maybe sort them by ratings like Amazon does, so someone can click on all the five star ratings, or all the one star ratings.

It's absolutely my belief that you will get a lot more SEO benefit out of improved usability than you will with an infinite number of indexed pages.

JesterMagic




msg:4670855
 11:10 pm on May 13, 2014 (gmt 0)

Each of my user reviews has it's own unique url. My user reviews tends to be more in-depth since they are giving a number of ratings on different aspects of the service. I usually reject a review that is only a couple of sentences.

I think the aggregate page is important as it allows the users to sort the reviews by date, rating, etc.. On the aggregate page(s) it displays the title of the reviews, the overall rating and a short snippet of the actual review text. If the user wants to read further he can click on the review title.

I use rich snippets for the reviews (which is hit and miss if they are displayed) and each review page has a canonical link.

This sort of reminds me of the duplicate content issue I wonder about with my articles which are sorted by topics. I use schema article markup and canonical links on the actually article pages which should hopefully clear up any duplicate content issues of snippets of articles being listed in the topics

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