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SEO Website Audit

Duplicate Content Within Shopping Cart

January 16, 2008

Hello Jill,

 

Thanks so much for the work that you do. I have a question that I am hoping you can answer for me.

 

I have plain html pages that describe the various health-related products that I recommend. If one of my readers wishes to purchase a product, they click on an "order now" button, which takes them to the desired product at my shopping cart.

 

The description for this product is quite similar on both of the pages referenced above.

My question is this: In this scenario, do you know if I am in danger of Google and other search engines viewing one of these pages as duplicate content, and subsequently penalizing either of these pages?

 

Ben

 

++Jill's Response++

 

Hi Ben,

 

No need to worry about there being a problem with the scenario you describe. A certain amount of duplicate content is normal and expected from any website. The search engines don't penalize for stuff like that. They may simply index and/or rank one of them over the other, but that's about it. It's definitely not a big deal.

 

That said, because one has to click on the "add to cart" button to get to the duplicate content pages, the search engines are probably not ever seeing them anyway. Add-to-cart buttons generally use scripts to ensure that the appropriate product is actually added to the shopping cart. Search engines don't have the ability to process scripts (nor would they want to). Which means you're doubly safe from any duplicate-content issues as far as the search engines go.

 

In thinking further about this, I'm wondering why you actually need the product description again once someone adds the item to the cart. You may want to think about that some more, as it's probably not necessary to have it there again anyway.

 

Best,

 

Jill

 
 
Post Comment

 paul said:
Hi, Jill.

Regarding the shopping cart duplication issue, many (most) carts allow placement of individual items into many departments simultaneously. The spider will go to every one of those departments. Does THIS make a cause for a duplication hand-slap from the search engine?
 Jill said:
No, Paul. As previously stated in the article, the search engines don't penalize for duplicate content.

Jill
 Joe Deasy said:
Greetings Jill,

Can you clarify your post "the search engines don't penalize for duplicate content"?
It seems understandable that they would penalize for duplicating content on different domains, and I had read that they do.

Did you mean to say they don't penalize for duplicate content... within a domain?

IE: yourdomain.com/content --vs-- yourdomain.com/yourcart/content
penalized yes/no?

IE: yourdomain.com/content --vs-- mydomain.com/content
penalized yes/no?

It was good news for me to read your comments because I would like to copy some of the content from my miva shopping cart, and use it to create more search engine friendly (static) pages outside of the cart. I havent done so already because I've been concerned about getting "penalized" for duplicating content.

Also, on a related issue:
I'm planning to change my webserver hosting provider, and switch from MIVA to a different shopping cart in the process. I'm concerned about loosing all of my indexed MIVA pages in the transition. I was also thinking about duplicating some of the content on both shopping carts in the process, but was concerned about getting 200 lashes from Lord Google as punishment.

Can you offer any advise on the best way to transition to a new server & shopping cart from a SEO perspective?
 Jill said:
Can you clarify your post "the search engines don't penalize for duplicate content"?
It seems understandable that they would penalize for duplicating content on different domains, and I had read that they do.


They don't. They simply filter it so only one (or a few) instances of it show up in the search results for any given search query, which I believe was stated in the original article.

Added: Please see this article on the Duplicate Content Penalty (or the lack thereof) for more info.