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Beyond Basic SEO – Practical Strategies – Part 2 – Avoiding Duplicate Content

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In this second part of the seminar we discuss how to avoid duplicate content by creating unique product descriptions and meta titles that are descriptive of the content and therefore help Google understand what the content means. And we discuss how to emphasize key words and add internal links to reinforce the meaning of the products. We also talk about using 301 redirects to eliminate duplicate content.

Video Transcript

Rick: So we’re going to start off with Anatomy Wear and I’m going to unmute Mark’s microphone. Mark, why don’t you tell us about your site briefly?

Mark: Okay so it’s actually just a husband and wife team in Miami that sells women’s clothing. It started off with kind of action wear. I’m an author and I teach creative thinking. They’ve read my book and wanted to hire me and I ended up partnering with these guys to try and build a better website and to help them with general consulting. I mean, the website they have today is a pinnacle shopping cart but it has no content. So they’re doing all the wrong things. We’re going to have a you know, a jpg image or the About Me page and just stuff that you know, search engine can’t crawl or do anything with.

So I built this new website with the intent to doing and I think you’ve said in your videos you know, 90% is good enough. Find the keyword phrases, write a content around those keyword phrases and try and work on the links. And so the first two, that’s kind of what I’m trying to do. So I’ve built this website. I’ve done the keyword analysis. I’ve seen 10 keywords I want to go for but the number one phrase is a 4-word phrase. It’s travel clothes for women spelled exactly like that.

And so I got the site up and running. I’ve had some issues with Shopp you know, I hope that finally got resolved. But anyway so, I’ve written probably me and one of the interns I had working for me had written 28 to 30 articles under news, under the blog. The news is the blog portion of the website. And what’s frustrating is I’ve done this before and I crawled my way up on the Google searching, done well with other websites. This one, I’m still not there yet. When I go to like the Firefox tool that lets you see where your rankings are, it always shows like I’m ranked 80th with only like 1 page. So that’s what I’ve been struggling with.

The other pieces, Rick, the Shopp toolbox that we had talked about that I bought a couple of weeks ago. I’ve uploaded that feed 4 or 5 times and it keeps getting rejected Google and I’ve gotten responses back from Google, actually, a couple of times in the last 2 days that has a lot more kind of strange, weird restrictions with images and other stuff that I don’t completely understand for the Google merchant account upload. And you know, the developers just sent me an email about 20 minutes ago saying they’ll dive into it, try and help with that piece of it.

For main Thesis where I’ve written 20 to 30 articles or posts and I’ve been writing 2 a week. They’re not showing up where I want them to show up. And I think I’m doing the right thing for the Thesis plugin on playing with SEO titles and playing with meta descriptions. I think I’ve put the right kind of stuff in the Shopp here. Either it’s a time thing or I’m doing something wrong.

Rick: Okay well and so your first instance of this right now is on page 7. So if you search for travel clothes for women, the first time anatomywear.com shoes up in that search is on page 7.

Mark: Which by the way Rick, now that you’re showing that, that’s the first time that’s ever happened. Page 7 and page 8 usually have them being one remote post like about jackets or something. And that tool that I’m talking about, this Rank Checker in Firefox when I run that, it only shows one page in Google and it never shows anything under Yahoo or Bing.

Rick: Well, you notice that actually, this has changed since you asked me this question last week. I mean, because, in fact, the home page, I didn’t find in Google when I searched. And what I found was the blog post for the new summer jackets collection and these testimonials didn’t show up and this testimonial is now showing up as the second thing in here. And then let’s see, we’re going to know because I’ve gone through this a few times.

Mark: They have 2 of those videos you just passed, they’re mine.

Rick: Maybe you have gone closer with the other one, with the 12 jackets one or with the new jackets. Let’s just see. There it is. Actually, you’ve really moved up because the designer travel jackets is now on page 4.

Mark: Okay, I see. I was on page 8 or something like it.

Rick: Yeah. And on page 7 is your home page which I guess I didn’t keep on going trying to find your home page and then you have testimonials. So you’re moving your way up the pecking order. I guess I would say that the first thing to recognize of course, is that you’re competing against big names that are well established. Like Travelsmith.com, Packing Light, Orvis. I mean, you just keep on going through this list. Cold Water Creek, REI… you know, you see them coming up several times in front of you for this subject. And they’ve been around for a long time. They’re very well known and it’s going to take you a while to beat them at this game.

Mark: Let’s elaborate on it a little bit. I knew that and the reason I went after that phrase was when I did the analysis, there was about… you know, it wasn’t a huge number but it was like 8,000 people a month typing that exact phrase in. And all those big names you said don’t have direct post and content you know, value-added content with that phrase in it. They just got big marketing budgets and they’re popular. So I didn’t know if Google algorithm is just giving them more credit because they’ve got all… you know, they’ve got a longer history or…

Rick: Sure, absolutely and their sites probably have good page rank. You know, you have been posting for 2 months, your site is essentially brand new so the fact that you’re advancing that quickly I think, is pretty remarkable anyway.

But actually, you have a problem. And if you search for Anatomy, you have competition for anatomy, right? You have anatomiestyle.com. And if you work your way through here trying to find yourself in this list, it’s going to be quite a while before you get to anatomywear.com. One of the problems is that anatomy is, of course, a French word so that makes that a little bit more difficult.

Mark: But here’s the deal. I have it on Anatomie Style. Like I said at the beginning, it’s a shopping cart without you know, any SEO stuff into it. But the reality is nobody that I can see you know, from the Google Analysis is searching for anatomy spelled that way. The only trap for getting… their model is basically trunk shows. You know, they’ve been around for 7 years. I mean, that’s their… with my cart, that’s the people Miami are talking of. So you know, all the traffic they’re getting isn’t an organic search on travel clothes for women or sportswear. It’s somebody that typed that exact name in because they’ve already been to a trunk show. The deal I have with them is I’m trying to prove to them, I know what the heck I’m doing and essentially, we’ll shut that site down when I start selling stuff. But I’m not there yet.

Rick: Well and so, if you look at your home page and their home page you know, you have a similar set of menu choices. If you go to the jackets, you have a similar set of jackets. They’re all named the same, right? Because obviously, it’s the same product. If you go look at the jackets… so we’re looking at, which one, the biker long jacket – orange. If you go look at the biker long jacket – orange… or let’s see, let’s just look for…

Mark: Well, the reality to that, obviously, it’s the same flash file and it’s the same images that I’ve gotten from their… that they gave me from their catalog. The business intent is they have enough data in their website I don’t have so 1/3 of the stuff they have, I really don’t have. Everything I’m showing on mine is stuff that’s in stock, ready to ship. That’s the intent.

Rick: The point I’m trying to make here is that you have a duplicate content problem because you have exactly the same content as they do. Maybe it’s not exactly the same but you have this, if you look at the descriptions of your products obviously, you’ve got those product descriptions from them and it’s the same product descriptions in both places. They have a website that was set up in 2005 so they have a fairly long history. They are in a business that you know, Google is very sensitive about ripping off. That is you know, knockoff apparel, right? And so when you have the same products, the same product names, the same product descriptions and the variation on the name of the website, you’re not much different than Louis Vuitton misspelled. You know, where they’re selling the Louis Vuitton bags which are just Chinese knockoffs. And Google can’t necessarily tell the difference between the two. And so in the short term, what you need to do is change up your content a bit and that’s going to be a long process because you have a lot of products. But you should really change the product descriptions.

Mark: Well then to be honest, the product descriptions are a little different becase we rewrote them all. I mean not completely but we went back through them all once and tried to spruce them up. I mean there’s going to be a lot of similarities of course. But it shouldn’t be the exact same because we rewrote them all.

Rick: Okay well you should change up the first sentences then, in any case, because I really didn’t go compare everything. I just saw very strong similarities and so I assumed that they weren’t rewritten. But if you have rewritten them then you should probably just try to make sure your first sentence is significantly different.

Mark: Okay. I can tell them to redirect Anatomie Style to Anatomy Wear.

Rick: Well, that’s the long-term solution. The long-tem solution is to take every product on the anatomiestyle.com and direct it specifically to its analogy here. And you’re going to do that with 301 redirects but that eliminates the duplicate content except, this… If we come back and look at this search result… travel clothes for women and I’m on page 4. If we look at this search result here, this does have a duplicate content that shows up a couple of times in the page and a couple of times in the posts. And I guess I saw that most clearly, now that I say that. I saw that most clearly from looking at the Google representation because they show you what they are… all of anatomy is fine. Travel clothes for women are made within… right?

Mark: Hey Rick?

Rick: Yeah?

Mark: What did you just do? I’ve never even seen that before. What did you just click on to make…

Rick: Oh, in Chrome, if you hover over the arrow at the side, it will show you a cached image of the page.

Mark: Okay.

Rick: And in red box, it shows you the thing it’s taking the text from. So you can see here all of anatomie’s fine travel clothes for women are made with an innovative system of versatile, high performance fibers. Well, that little thing right there actually shows up on a whole bunch of your products, right?

Mark Right. Okay.

Rick: And so somehow you need to re-emphasize it or reword it or add some variations in it because this also is duplicate content. And Google may not be able to really tell the difference between the content of one product and the content of another if there’s a real, substantial similarity between each one.

Mark: Okay, gotcha. That makes sense.

Rick: And this is a problem that any ecommerce site has because if you are selling products other people are selling then the chances are, you’re using their product descriptions.

Mark: Yes, I was just going to ask Rick, because when I worked for I-Omega, I mean, we had 20 or 30,000 bars and every one of them had identical wording because they got it from our marketing package that we gave them to install on their websites, you know?

Rick: And those guys probably didn’t show up in search results.

Mark: Right. Okay.

Rick: And so if you want your product to show up in search results, you probably need to create your own product descriptions or supplement the product descriptions with new information on your own comment. And that new stuff probably needs to be towards the top of the description.

Mark: So now it makes sense to me. So the 28 or 30 posts that I’ve written, all that is brand new content that does not exists anywhere on Anatomie Style.

Rick: Which is why you’re showing up.

Mark: Okay or started to, right.

Rick: Yeah. And if we go look at your posts… let’s see, where did that go?

Mark: To news.

Rick: Oh news, that’s what it was. If you look at the posts, one of the things that is missing from the posts… while there are a couple of things that are missing from the posts that you could add to these posts to increase their effectiveness, you got the headings down just fine. And the headings that you’re using, they are working fine. But you could emphasize text by bolding it or making it italic. So you could emphasize important text and you should definitely link from these posts with good link phrase back to the product or back to collection or back to other places in the site. The posts give you a good opportunity to reinforce the meaning of the content of your products.

Mark: What I was trying to do as you’ll see on most of them, of course, I wasn’t trying to make it too spammy but I’m trying to do that with h2 tags as kind of the headers in the article, like stress… travel stress-free.

Rick: Well yeah and I think h2 tags work but what I’m talking about in this is using this text to help Google understand what the content means on your products. So you could take ‘pack a perfectly light and fashionable Anatomy outfit in your carry-on’. You could take that and link it to…. I don’t know, an essentials thing in here some place or to the collection page.

Mark: Place more internal links inside of those.

Rick: Yes.

Mark: On the keyword phrase, okay.

Rick: Right. But the link should say something about the page that’s being linked to. We’re going to talk about that more tonight with other people. But that’s the other thing that seems to be missing from this. But the reason why you’ve gone in less than a week from page 7 to page 4 with your blog post is… and it’s this blog post down here. Where did it go? It was the…

Mark: Travel jackets sport.

Rick: Yeah, I guess it was for the back, wasn’t it? Anyway, the reason why it is your first one to show up because it is definitely its own content. And so…

Mark: Well, that’s… like I said earlier, that’s what was throwing me is because I get you with the product descriptions. That really makes sense. But all of those posts, all those are original stuff that is not anywhere else. They’re all fresh.

Rick: I don’t know why Google likes that one. I don’t know why it likes new arrivals June 2012 because this is a lead here. It does have all these content except it’s got this content in it which the product description which it’s linking to.

Mark: Okay so tell me if this is wrong, in almost every one of those posts and I didn’t know if this was too spammy, in the SEO you know, the back end of the SEO title tag, I’m putting travel clothes for women almost all of them. You know, like travel clothes for women you know, – travel kit or something.

Rick: Well, you probably want to vary it a bit because if every single page on your site starts with travel clothes for women then it’s going to be hard for Google to distinguish between your pages. And that does seem kind of spammy. So your title should be descriptive of the content. That is your meta title. It should be descriptive of the content. If you’ve got a travel clothes for one thing, it might be better to put that in the meta description.

Mark: The way I’ve done is title tag and then Thesis SEO plugin thing or is the title tag always… not always… the most I had, travel clothes for women in it. The meta description, I was trying to actually write it as an ad that is talking about what the article actually is as best I could.

Rick: Well, the title should be a good summary of the content.

Mark: Okay.

Rick: And if it’s not a good summary of the content then Google does consider that to be spammy. The purpose of the title is to tell people what the content of that page is about. So it can have important keywords in it but you’re just going to want to mix it up. Okay?

Mark: Okay, got it.

Rick: Okay.

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