One Big Reason E-Commerce Sites Are Struggling & How To fix It

There have been a few questions from e-commerce sites this week on LinkedIn about their falling ranking post-panda & penguin and all the sites that I looked at shared the same problem so I thought I’d cover it for you all – that problem was duplicate & thin content.

Spotting Problem Pages

Copyscape is a powerful tool when it comes to analysing your site. With searches costing just a few cents it’s usually my starting point when analysing a site which is heavy on product descriptions. The problems usually come from:

  1. not enough content on the page
  2. too much of the content is standard manufacturer specifications & features

A good way to start is to pick a few of your product pages at random, and if there are several hits when you paste the content into copyscape and several of those are 25%+ you
have some work to do.

Quick Solutions

High Quality Reviews

Avoid pasting product descriptions straight from affiliate program sites or manufacturer information. Give some real value that isn’t offered on every site that sells the product from video reviews (include the transcript!) to just testing the product fully and being honest → add some value.

User Generated Content

Encouraging your users to post reviews after they purchase is a powerful way to add value by giving your visitors additional information & at the same time adding a lot of extra content to your pages. Amazon encourages you to review by e-mail & when you sign in for example.

Do Something Nobody Else Does

If your site is identical to every site that offers your product why should search engines reward it with a ranking? Oyster differentiate themselves from on big players in the travel niche with real professional reviewers on the team and photos that nobody else can replicate (think the ‘real photo vs hotel brochure linkbait they did). Think about ways you can use video, social media, and interact with your users in unique ways to set yourself apart.

The Next Step

Only once we’ve clearly defined a strategy and attended to duplicate content issues do we start to outreach to bloggers and news sites to build links & promote your unique content. Give me a ring or connect on Linked In if you’d like to chat more.

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Author: Steve Brownlie

Steve loves helping businesses grow and receive the press exposure they deserve. He does that every day as the lead consultant at palladous. He can be reached on Twitter.

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