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Question about Dupe Content and Thin Content

10:03 pm on May 22, 2013 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

We sell widgets for cars, these widgets are identical in all features and specifications except their fitment for each vehicle. The fitment varies on the basis of interior color.

We have taken the time to add all these widgets as separate products (multiple product pages based on each vehicle) but with drop down selection boxes that have interior colors.

We have written page titles, meta descriptions, alt image text, bullet-ed lists stating fitment then item details to minimize duplicate content and thin content.

I am concerned because we used to have great ranking for these vehicles and a dominant keyword that describes our widget. It appears that this may now trigger issues with significant penalties. We have been hit with what appear to be Panda penalties, no manual, just algorithmic.

We originally did this because the platform we are on we had to use basic guided navigation categories (Vehicle manufacturer > Vehicle model sub categories > Year sub categories)to get people to specific vehicles that would list several widgets that fit their vehicle.

In today's SEO environment this looks to be thin content and is frowned upon. I am trying to come up with a way to fix this but am asking for some help or possibilities, and explanations would be appreciated. Would this be considered thin or duplicate content?
9:47 pm on May 23, 2013 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

That drop-down box sounds like extremely common order page functionality. My first take is that there must be some other reason for your ranking loss.
1:40 pm on May 24, 2013 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator goodroi is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

In general I avoid adding multiple product pages if they are near identical. This can lead to very significant bloating which dilutes the internal link structures and looks very spammy to manual review (and probably will trigger automated issues). If the product is the same price and near identical I would place it on one product page and when people try to buy it I would then ask them which sub-model they want.

I recently had to fix a clothing website that made separate pages for each different size of the same product. They wasted so much time doing that. Now they have time to write articles that bloggers and even a few news sites are linking to.

It is much better to slim down the product pages and then build out valuable content on the company blog. You can use the blog or article section to go after extra keywords you are trying to target.

Adding extra pages is not helpful. Adding extra value to your website is helpful.
8:57 pm on May 28, 2013 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Thank you for the replies, goodroi my question to you is that this one product has nearly 5000 variants based on vehicle interior color and vehicle make. I am unsure how I would make this work while still making it easier for the consumer. They method that I chose makes it very easy for individuals to find but could look spamy to the algos. Any additional advice?
11:13 am on May 29, 2013 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator goodroi is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

If you think its spammy, then a Google engineer probably will think its very spammy.

You could block the near identical pages from the search engines and this would still allow the users to access it.

Another option is to add unique information to those pages like users reviews that are relevant to the color & vehicle make.
1:19 pm on May 29, 2013 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

You could use the canonical tag to amalgamate the pages.

But I think I'd have a few (or maybe even one) page(s) where you ask the customer to narrow the selection down through vehicle make > model > year > etc

Whether to use one page or more would (for me) depend on significant differences such as dimensions, appearance, fitting method etc rather than the vehicle make.

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