How does Google react to duplicate content

Duplicate content slows down your online shop

Search engine optimization (SEO) is a topic that no shop operator can ignore today, after all, everyone wants their own products to take the top positions in search engine rankings. SEO is therefore an important and high-turnover marketing channel and combines many different approaches. One of the main SEO problems is duplicate content.

Duplicate content - what is it?

If identical or very similar content can be found on different URLs or domains, this is called duplicate content. Such a duplication can exist for different reasons:

  • Content is being sold or copied illegally
  • The content of a web page is accidentally displayed under other domains or subdomains
  • In online shops, different attribute filters lead to the same products
  • Content is used twice in different categories

“Near duplicate content” can also lead to a devaluation of Google. This is because such very similar content, such as frequently copied text modules, can be rated as duplicate content by search engines.

The biggest problem as a site operator is that Google devalues ​​its own site if it is filled with duplicate content. Also, the duplicated content can result in the wasted limited crawling capacity of your website by the Googlebot. This means that duplicates are visited by the Googlebot, but other important shop pages are not.

What you can do to avoid duplicate content

Individualize product descriptions

When searching for products on the Internet, it quickly becomes apparent that different providers are working with the same product texts. This is because often only the manufacturer's information is copied into the online shop, so ultimately they all have the same content and a good ranking is unlikely. Avoid standard product descriptions as much as possible, that does not mean that you have to provide all products with an individual product description. In order to write good product descriptions, there are three things to consider:

      • detail
      • Loosening up with subheadings
      • Added value for your customers

Duplicate content is normal to a certain extent, it is important to stand out with a high number of individual texts. You will achieve the greatest effect if you equip the most important products with an individual product description, these are characterized by strong sales and large margins. After the improvements, you will occupy better positions in the Google search with the products in question and thus also make more sales. You can get the most out of it if you use the manufacturer's descriptions in the data feeds for external websites and, on the other hand, your own texts in your online shop. This ensures that the individualized texts really only appear in your online shop. If you have too many products for this, proceed from a top-down principle and optimize your most important products, probably your top sellers, or the products with the best margins and the highest potential, downwards.

Don't let it be stolen

Now let's assume that you make the effort to write individual and appealing product descriptions for your articles, which of course will cost you time and time is money. That is why it is of course quite annoying when your own content is simply copied from other shops and thus duplicated content is created again. In fact, this still happens every now and then as many are not really familiar with copyright law. Particularly mean: It can happen that Google does not recognize where the original content comes from and then your website is actually devalued. You cannot avoid this annoying theft, but there is the free tool Google Alerts, which helps you to identify the content theft in good time. To do this, you have to deposit excerpts of your texts with Google Alerts and you will then receive an email every time a page appears on the Internet that uses the phrases you have saved. This enables you to react quickly, for example by contacting the relevant website operator immediately and referring to the copyright or by forwarding the copyright infringement to a lawyer. If the page is abroad, it is often the easier way to report these pages to Google so that they can be removed from the Google index. This can be done by filing a DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) complaint through Google Webmaster Tools.

Use product reviews

The use of product reviews ensures more clicks in the Google search results and contributes to the individualization of your content. But product descriptions are not only advantageous from an SEO point of view, they also increase the conversion rate in the shop. Since it is often not feasible to write a product description for every product, product reviews of your customers offer a promising addition. Because when product reviews are displayed on your pages, Google recognizes this as individual content, as your page is no longer congruent with the websites of other providers. For this individuality created by your customers, you will be rewarded by Google with a good ranking.

Source of danger in the shop system

You should definitely check the category page paginations in your online shop. These are product lists that are divided into several pages that can be browsed through. You should make sure that the Googlebot only indexes the first of these pages, as the following pages are usually almost identical. This means that all but the first page can be blocked. You can achieve such a block by using the HTML reference code rel = “next” / rel = “prev”. In order to solve your duplicate content problem, a ling tag with the rel attribute “next” or “prev” must be present in the source text of the pagination pages. This is how you tell Google which pages are follow-up pages. You also give Google the information which page is the first to appear in the search results.


Duplicate content is an SEO trap that is relatively easy to clean up. With a little know-how and time investment, you as a shop operator have good opportunities to improve your ranking and thus boost your own sales.

If you want to find out more about SEO or want to optimize your own online shop, we will be happy to help and advise you.