Google Penalizing Duplicate Shopify Content?

Shopify Partner
226 0 0
Hi, I noticed that in Shopify (at least the beautiful Vogue theme) you can have multiple different URL's for the same product. Eg http://vogue.myshopify.com/collections/frontpage/products/lexus-es-series and http://vogue.myshopify.com/collections/all/products/lexus-es-series and http://vogue.myshopify.com/products/lexus-es-series and http://vogue.myshopify.com/collections/sale/products/lexus-es-series Google has a policy ( http://www.google.com/support/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=66359 ) to penalize sites with duplicate content, so is this linking practice harmful to SEO and our sites pagerank? I think it is possible just hardcode the links to /products/xxx but I really like the extra keywords by having the collection name there, eg /collections/super-fantastic-keywords/products/more-keywords So would it be possible to determine a default collection that all the products link to no matter what collection they are in? Or is it just better to link to /products/ and not risk google's duplicate content wrath? Cheers
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Shopify Expert
318 0 0

Granted, I’m not 100% positive, but I don’t think this would have any weigh in on Google’s duplicate content policy. Although there are multiple URL’s, they are all pointing to the same page, i.e. the same content. There’s no actual content duplication occurring.

Correct me if I’m wrong…but that’s how it appears to me.

Keenpixel - Custom Shopify themes: http://experts.shopify.com/keenpix , http://keenpixel.com , http://twitter.com/keenpixel
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Shopify Partner
226 0 0

Google sees each unique URL as a unique page. So if there a 5 URL’s as listed above for one product, Google sees 5 separate and unique pages, but the content is identical for all of them. This is duplicate content on 5 separate pages according to Google’s guidelines.

Also this is further problematic regarding SEO. Which page does google link to? What pages do other sites link to? How can we build page rank for a product if it is diluted by having 5 URL’s?

Also for statistical analysis it gets hard to determine the popularity of a product if the same product is spread over 5 distinct URL’s.

I think the best practice is that each product has a dedicated URL. This is best for google, external linking, statistical analysis, etc. I know you can do this with Shopify, but you lose the advantage of having extra keywords from the collection. I guess I am looking to have my cake and being able to eat it too!

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Shopify Partner
484 0 2

There’s good reasons for the multiple URL’s within Shopify, though I’m very familiar with the harmful effect of duplicate content. Having two paths to a product is the result of the ability to navigate within collections being added after a direct path was previously established. The good news is that Shopify generates a sitemap automatically that only includes one path to each product…

http://vogue.myshopify.com/sitemap.xml

If you want to put a product in multiple collections, it’s inevitable that there will be multiple paths. If you don’t want to have multiple paths, simply don’t put the product in multiple collections. This is unreasonable though since products need to be categorized, which likely are in multiple collections – all products, t-shirts, sale, etc. You can cleverly use tags to avoid this though.

I’ve yet to see a Shopify store get penalized because of the current information architecture. Just be consistent with your paths (include collection in all paths, for example). External links and bots will all see the same path.

Good luck!

Jared Burns, CEO at Getsy (http://get.sy)
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Shopify Partner
26 0 0

For anyone, like Chad and I, who was looking for a way to fix the duplicate content issue, these steps worked for me.

Within collection.liquid, find this code:

<a href="{{ product.url | within: collection }}"...

and simply remove any instances of:

| within: collection

so that it looks like this:

<a href="{{ product.url }}"

This effectively removes the duplicate pages, while keeping the collections. Although I haven’t fully tested this, the pages render properly and the products are still in their appropriate collections.

Let me know if anyone has issues with this fix. The same can be done on the homepage by following the same steps within index.liquid.

Gift Bird http://www.giftbird.com
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Excursionist
699 0 8

your solution removes the possibility of pagination, which is precisely why within: collection was added

(p.s: like Chad and me – says miss manners on her high grammatical horses)

operation absurdist feature requests: terminated (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Absurdism)
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Shopify Partner
26 0 0

Are you referring to pagination as going from page 1 to 2 and so on within a collection?

Gift Bird http://www.giftbird.com
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Excursionist
699 0 8

yes

operation absurdist feature requests: terminated (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Absurdism)
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Shopify Partner
26 0 0

Well, unless I’m missing something, it seems to work with the theme I’m using.

Gift Bird http://www.giftbird.com
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Excursionist
699 0 8

really? you removed all occurrences of within: collection and pagination still works? well then i’m puzzled. maybe i’ve misunderstood something.

ah, just checked: I was mixing up 2 different things – it’s not pagination on the collection page, it’s the previous product | next product functionality that won’t work if you delete within: collection.

but if that is of no interest to you, you can indeed safely delete it, and i guess that solves your multiple url problem.

operation absurdist feature requests: terminated (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Absurdism)
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