For manufacturing websites with a plethora of products, it may seem daunting to write separate descriptions for each and every product type, size, material, etc.
However, with Google’s private nature regarding penalties for duplicate content, many businesses with huge inventories were not sure if unique descriptions were necessary. After all, Google has mentioned in the past that they penalize users for duplicate content.
So, what’s the answer?
Luckily, John Mueller, Senior Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google, gave some insight into Google’s algorithm that judges duplicate content in a recent SEO Office Hours chat. Let’s get into his comments and what it means for your manufacturing site.
Duplicate Content Does Not Apply to Individual Products
Mueller’s comments detailed that there in fact is no algorithmic penalty doled out for duplicate content under these circumstances. Here are Mueller’s full comments:
“So there are two aspects here when it comes to duplicate content.
“First of all, you don’t get a penalty for duplicate content.
“So …even before you look into it too much, the only time we would have something like a penalty or an algorithmic action or manual action is when the whole website is purely duplicated content, …if it’s one website that is scraping other websites for example.
“If these are eCommerce sites and you have the description that’s the same and the rest of your website is different, that’s perfectly fine.
“You don’t need to worry about any demotion or dropping in ranking or anything.”
So, there you have it. You do not have to worry about duplicate content penalties regarding product descriptions. But that doesn’t mean duplicating is the right option for your business. Notice how Mueller only says you don’t have to worry about “any demotion or dropping in ranking.” He doesn’t say that unique product descriptions are not valuable.
Create Unique Descriptions if Possible
While Mueller detailed that there is no penalty for duplicate content, he also mentioned the importance of differing product descriptions.
“It’s essentially, we have this description, we want to show it in search and we’ll pick the best page that we can show for this description. So from that point of view, I think it’s always a good practice to have unique descriptions on your pages.
“But if you have a lot of products it’s not always possible.”
Ultimately, when a user searches for one of your products and adds some qualifying text about the product’s size or material, your product is obviously more likely to appear in the search results if it includes a unique description. This is a real opportunity to add meaningful, unique content and capitalize on manufacturing’s shift to eCommerce.
Often, you’ll receive products from a large manufacturer, and it might seem good enough to just copy over the included product descriptions. But, that is what every other reseller is doing with those product descriptions. So, providing unique descriptions can be a quick way to rise up rankings.
Though it may seem overwhelming to run through each and every product, it can have tangible results in rankings. Perhaps, if you don’t have the resources to adjust each description, tweak the ones that receive the most traffic or feature the largest profit margins. It might not make sense to perform a full overhaul, but if you can target a few key products at a time, you can make tremendous ranking gains.
Then, you can do a bit of your own analysis to determine whether it is worth it to extend those efforts out to the rest of your product descriptions. Since manufacturing resellers recycle the same product jargon across various websites, you are able to make it just a bit more polished, focus on some rewarding keywords, and end up looking at a serious uptick in page views.
Outwork (or Outsmart) the Competition
Keeping up with a large manufacturing site is difficult. From updating meta descriptions to new categories, it can seem overwhelming. Something like product descriptions can seem trivial and something far down on your checklist.
As Mueller said, this won’t cause a penalty that will tank your rankings and send your site into a tailspin. However, you could be losing out on meaningful gains and a spike in website traffic.
Nobody said SEO would be easy, but it doesn’t always have to be complicated. Sometimes you just have to do the work that your competitors don’t want to do.
Don’t have time to do the work? That’s okay. We can help.
At Foremost Media, we pride ourselves on our ability to provide manufacturers with updated websites that include personalized product descriptions. We look for any opportunity to bring more conversions and more traffic to your website. So, instead of outworking your competitors, just outsmart them with our sharp marketing team at Foremost.