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Blocking Similar Product Pages Using Robots.txt


Best Answer Alan Perkins , 22 August 2013 - 11:42 AM

Ok, then just unblock all five products and don't worry about it. Keep an eye on it, of course, but you should be OK - you won't be "penalised", it's just that you won't be "optimised".

 

OR block four out of five products and only put the unblocked one in the Google merchant feed.

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#1 mrtangerineman

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 05:00 AM

Could I ask for some advice please regarding the best practice for our company's ecommerce site.

Our site is on quite a limited platform (create.net) and the obvious solution is to move onto a more flexible platform which will be done when budget allows.  The current platform does not allow the us to display absolute prices for product variations so they appear as "base price + £xx" which was causing confusion for customers.  I therefore split up the different variations into separate product pages which were identical apart from the purchase size (e.g. full pallet / three quarter pallet / half pallet / quarter pallet / single item).

The problem with this is that I then had five products with similar titles and identical descriptions.  Even after changing the descriptions to make the pages unique the content was still unavoidably very similar on each of the five pages so I disallowed googlebot from four of the five pages so it would only crawl the most popular sku which accounts for about 70% of the sales.

However having done this the blocked URLs show as critical errors in Google merchant centre "The errors below are carefully monitored and may result in account suspension or temporary item disapproval in United Kingdom".

So I feel like this is a bit of a catch 22 situation until we move our website onto a better platform - either I merge the SKUs back onto a single page which isn't user friendly for the end user, or have potential duplicate content which may hurt our search rankings, or risk being penalised by Google being unable to crawl the products for Google shopping results.

Could anyone provide any advice or suggestions?

Thanks

 



#2 Alan Perkins

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 07:37 AM

Unblock the robots and instead use rel=canonical to point four of the five pages back to the fifth page, the one that accounts for 70% of the sales.



#3 mrtangerineman

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 10:24 AM

Thanks Alan,

 

Unfortunately on the create platform whilst it is possible to add custom <HEAD> sections to content pages of the website, it is not possible to add custom <HEAD> sections to individual product pages.  I did email support who confirmed it was not possible and suggested I submit a feature request.



#4 Alan Perkins

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 11:42 AM   Best Answer

Ok, then just unblock all five products and don't worry about it. Keep an eye on it, of course, but you should be OK - you won't be "penalised", it's just that you won't be "optimised".

 

OR block four out of five products and only put the unblocked one in the Google merchant feed.


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