eCommerce Tips: Avoiding Magento’s Duplicate Content Problem
August 15, 2012 - Posted by Rilee Chastain
Utilize the Magento platform without producing duplicate content pages.
With the overwhelming growth of digital media and social marketing occurring within the last decade, many large businesses and corporations have slowly began taking to the web more and more in order to complete a good amount of their corporate sales and research online, while also utilizing this beneficial medium as a way to connect with colleagues and other industry professionals digitally.
However, it has only been within the past few years that both large and small businesses alike are truly starting to understand just how effectively they can compete online, especially for those who are looking to get their feet wet with online retailing.
Whether you are a new company who is looking to start their very own retail business online, or you are a veteran business owner who is just now starting to explore the benefits of a great eCommerce site, you should be looking at a solution and platform that includes everything that you need to succeed and compete competitively with other businesses within your industry. One great platform that meets this criteria within the digital retail world is Magento.
Magento is a popular eCommerce solution for businesses who have big ambitions, but also want to provide a great customer service experience right from the get go. And the best part? It’s free!
However, as with any standardized system―from blog templates to one-size-fits-all website layouts―it is important that you ensure that there are not any default behaviors enabled that will prevent your site from properly being indexed by search engines. When working with Magento specifically, you want to be aware of the fact that the website can sometimes create duplicate content pages through the creation of multiple URLs for the same page.
Because multiple page URLs can significantly affect the way that search engines crawl and index your web pages, we have put together a few tips that you can follow in order to ensure that you are not producing duplicate content pages through Magento.
Don’t Allow Non-Content Pages To Be Indexed
The first way to ensure that you are not promoting instances of duplicate content is to set up “noindex” tags for all of your non-content web pages. This includes pages that manage your internal search results, your checkout pages, or any other type of content that you would not want to appear in a search engine’s natural search results. The best way to accomplish this is to use Yoast’s Meta Robots module to set a “noindex” tag beyond the standard options offered in the “Web” section of the Magento backend.
Create and Use One Specific URL
While the Magento platform is very successful in terms of an easy-to-use eCommerce site, one of its biggest weaknesses is the way in which the site creates and rewrites URLS, resulting in a number of URL variations that all point to a single page. This is a problem because it makes it difficult for search engines to process the pages and index them correctly. Most of the time, search engines will actually flag these pages as duplicate content, as it is unsure of which specific page URL should be displayed in the search results.
To help search engines have a better understanding of how the longer URL should be treated, enter the following code into the <head> section of your longer URL page: <link rel=”canonical” href=”http://www.yoursite.com/product1.html”>
Create Fresh, Unique Stock Product Descriptions
One thing that is important whenever you are using a standardized system such as Magento is to go through and rewrite any stock product descriptions that are used on your site. Sure, it may seem easy to copy the site’s default stock product description onto your own site, however it could be found to constitute an instance of duplicate content from another already-indexed site. Instead, take the time to create your own unique product descriptions that will be displayed in the SERPs.
Does your company use Magento for it’s eCommerce needs? Share with us your experiences with the site in the comments below.