UI Inspector

The definitive SEO Checklist for eCommerce

Preventing thin and duplicate content

Thin content is content that adds little to no value for your visitor. Thin content comes in many forms:

  • Pages that have no body content
  • Pages that have little body content, say 50 words or less
  • Pages that have identical content (also called duplicate content)
  • Pages that have nearly identical content (also called near duplicate content)

If pages aren't significantly different from one another, search engines may choose not to rank these pages highly or even ignore them completely. You'll end up competing with your own pages.

Having a lot of thin content is also a signal to search engines that your site isn't in good shape, and may limit your SEO success.

Common causes:

  • Product filters
  • Faceted navigation
  • Pagination
  • Preferred amount of products per page
  • Sorting
  • Product variants
  • Having products in multiple categories

Fortunately, there are good countermeasures for thin content at your disposal.

Product filters

Upon interacting with product filters you drill down to a subset of products. From a user's point of view this is great: define search criteria and quickly navigate to a desired product. Quick and easy.

eCommerce websites save these search criterions in the URL, making it easy to go back to it or share it with others. so they can easily go back to it, or share it with others. And this is where duplicate content comes in: you can generate a virtually unlimited number of different URLs with all of the filter criteria.

Unless you tell them not to, search engines will crawl these pages. You don't want these pages showing up in the search results but search engines could nonetheless end up spending their valuable crawling time on them. For each domain, search engines have a so-called crawl budget—this is the amount of attention they can give your website.

Ideally, you want them to be spending it on pages that you actually want to show up in the search engine result page (SERP).

Faceted navigation

Faceted navigation enables you to drill down to a subset of the products in a category.

Take for instance the product category "Televisions". Facets of this category may be subcategories like "LCD Televisions" and "Plasma Televisions".

Best practices:

Often, you want your faceted pages to be indexed. It's important that search engines can distinguish between the different facets, so make sure to include body content on these pages.

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