I have been wrangling with this one for a long time and I have come to the conclusion that Google shoots itself in the foot so many times because when it creates a global rule for site ranking those rules are not appropriate for all websites. In fact the rule that is supposed to avoid spam, needless duplication and confusion actively damages bona fida sites who are honestly just trying to give the consumer searchable choice. One of those rules is the Google’s duplicate content rule.
I fully agree that if an article has been written then the last thing you want to see is all the copied versions of it showing up on the front page of serps but for E-Commerce the challenges are very different. Let’s take for example a styles of boot we run called Wrangler Fire Zip : http://www.shoes.co.uk/womens/wrangler/mid/fire-zip-1439400001/black
This style comes in black and brown colour variations and each of these options has is own unique URL and of course some of the content on the page is different. So what’s the problem? well both pages show the same descriptive text – after all they are both the same boot, they are the same height, same composition and the same design so it makes no sense writing a unique product description for both colour options – and ….of course Google hates it. This is a perfect example of duplicate content and of course both colour options will be downgraded in Serps by Google. Daft? yes ..but true. Some styles on Shoes.co.uk come in 9 colour options so of ocurse the whole site is affected.
What to do?
Well I am not going to tell you because there is already a brilliant article on the subject written by Adam Audette over at the RKG blog. This is not a new article its been out there over a year but it shows exactly what the challenge is and what you should, maybe, do about it!
Have a great week and ‘see ya later’ as we say in Manchester!