How to Avoid the Duplicate Content Filter
What is a duplicate content filter?
A duplicate content filter is a way for search engines to weed out sites that have content that's exactly the same. After all, if you search on "torch enameling", you probably want a a variety of choices rather than the first ten to be exactly the same site.
So Google and other search engines compare words on pages and if a large portion of them are identical, the search engine figures it's just a copy and paste from one site or one page to another and so they "filter" out the duplicates and only offer up one of the options in their results.
That's good for the person doing the searching, but it can cause trouble for the website person in certain instances.
I know a lot of people who list on eBay, Etsy or their own website and will have one sentence that describes the item they're selling followed by about ten cut and paste paragraphs of their normal "spiel" (shipping info, return policies, etc).
To a duplicate content filter, those pages may all appear way too similar to be posted as search engine results because they basically say the same thing.
How to fix this problem?
I did it three ways.
- On one site, I write my speil in Photoshop and saved it as a jpg. Then I just post that jpg in each listing and it's one URL rather than five paragraphs that will look identical from listing to listing.
- I started talking more about each individual item. This is easier when it's an item that took me a week to make and used three different jewelry making techniques. Less easy when I'm trying to destash a strand of agate beads. That way, even if I do repeat a sentence or two throughout all my listings, those duplicate sentences do not account for the majority of the post.
- On my own website, I put all that "speil" info into my policies page. I do worry that most customers do read the shop's policies when they place an order, but it really makes each listing much more streamlined without all the info on shipping and returns and how to care for your jewelry, etc.
- When I list the same item in multiple sites, I don't copy and paste from one site to the other. I change the wording in every sentence. For example, here is the first sentence in a listing on my website:
"Hand fabricated bangle designed and created to appear as though it could have been found in an archaeological dig".
And the opening sentence for the the same item for sale on Etsy:
"I designed and created this bangle to look like something that could have been found in an archaeological dig site." They say the same thing but the words are different.
If you’re interested in seeing if there might be pages out there that duplicate some of your content, here’s the URL to check.
Be forewarned, you’re only allowed about ten scans/searches per month. [ETA: I have been informed that the site considers any Etsy URL as an overall Etsy check so if others have already checked their Etsy shop that month, the program will say you've reached your limit; I probably only tested my own website so didn't notice that.]
And with this site...
... you can check for diplicate content within your own site.