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Duplicate Content
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Hi all,

I've tried asking support, but I'm getting mixed information on the duplicate content issue.

Google is saying that I have duplicate content on all my products (sometimes 3 pages or more)

Here's a few examples:

/categories/Peter-Pan/
/peter-pan-swords/

and

/categories/Hercules/
/hercules-swords/
/hercules/

My question is, what's the best way of going about fixing the problem? My SEO has dropped dramatically. I'm assuming it's because of duplicate content. Should I use 301 redirects to the category and/or product? Would this fix the duplicate content problem?

I'm also told there's a new BC update coming out this week, if that's true, will this fix the problem for me and should I just wait?

Should I just update the URL's in Store Settings/URL Structure? If I do this, will I then have to create 301 redirects for all my categories, brands, and products?

Any information would be wonderful and greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance!
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Despite what the BC marketing machine says, the platform's SEO is terrible and it does not look like being addressed anytime soon.
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Is Google not indexing all the pages?

Where exactly are you seeing this error?
It looks like:
/hercules-swords/ is already a 301 redirect to -> /hercules/

I think this is the new URL system
/categories/Hercules/
/hercules-swords/
-> that they just introduced with 7.1.2 (I have yet to touch the "Change URL" button on my website.. over concerns like the one you are raising here).

I would suggest you pick 1 format or the other, and force the other URL to be excluded in your robots.txt file.

Jason
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Finally today google webmasters showed my duplicate content errors dropping. It probably all stems to me making a global url change to my products and categories a whole month ago, but in the past week google errors finally topped out at practically all product pages, i.e. showing 925 duplicate meta descriptions and 1800 duplicate title tags. Today those figures fell to 299 and 800, so a good move in the right direction.

My question is, Is this just down to google only now picking up on all the 301 redirects I did around a month ago?

My other big problem is with 'not found' errors:

I had around 60 lines sell out over the past month, which will not be restocked. I recently made them invisible, but this then created 'not founds'. However, because I've had around 4 different urls for each product page over the months testing different seo ideas, I now get not found on 4 pages for each of those products. This is why a 'site:' search of my store comes up with 4000+ pages for a 1000 product store!

I am trying to delete the pages as google finds them, but it seems a never-ending chore.

Is there a better way? and is what i'm doing likely to hurt my SEO even more than BC's best efforts?
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(08-26-2011 07:10 PM)Nigel Cole Wrote:  Finally today google webmasters showed my duplicate content errors dropping. It probably all stems to me making a global url change to my products and categories a whole month ago, but in the past week google errors finally topped out at practically all product pages, i.e. showing 925 duplicate meta descriptions and 1800 duplicate title tags. Today those figures fell to 299 and 800, so a good move in the right direction.

My question is, Is this just down to google only now picking up on all the 301 redirects I did around a month ago?

My other big problem is with 'not found' errors:

I had around 60 lines sell out over the past month, which will not be restocked. I recently made them invisible, but this then created 'not founds'. However, because I've had around 4 different urls for each product page over the months testing different seo ideas, I now get not found on 4 pages for each of those products. This is why a 'site:' search of my store comes up with 4000+ pages for a 1000 product store!

I am trying to delete the pages as google finds them, but it seems a never-ending chore.

Is there a better way? and is what i'm doing likely to hurt my SEO even more than BC's best efforts?

We did exactly the same thing as you. After the URL update from BC we restructured every URL we had. Along the same timeline as you, I'd be curious to see how you turn out as far as Google organic results goes.

Thanks for the post! I've been looking everywhere.
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(08-26-2011 09:39 PM)Jeremiah Wilbur (2) Wrote:  
(08-26-2011 07:10 PM)Nigel Cole Wrote:  Finally today google webmasters showed my duplicate content errors dropping. It probably all stems to me making a global url change to my products and categories a whole month ago, but in the past week google errors finally topped out at practically all product pages, i.e. showing 925 duplicate meta descriptions and 1800 duplicate title tags. Today those figures fell to 299 and 800, so a good move in the right direction.

My question is, Is this just down to google only now picking up on all the 301 redirects I did around a month ago?

My other big problem is with 'not found' errors:

I had around 60 lines sell out over the past month, which will not be restocked. I recently made them invisible, but this then created 'not founds'. However, because I've had around 4 different urls for each product page over the months testing different seo ideas, I now get not found on 4 pages for each of those products. This is why a 'site:' search of my store comes up with 4000+ pages for a 1000 product store!

I am trying to delete the pages as google finds them, but it seems a never-ending chore.

Is there a better way? and is what i'm doing likely to hurt my SEO even more than BC's best efforts?

We did exactly the same thing as you. After the URL update from BC we restructured every URL we had. Along the same timeline as you, I'd be curious to see how you turn out as far as Google organic results goes.

Thanks for the post! I've been looking everywhere.
Didn't you get a bit nearer to figuring out a best practice for this problem? Isn't it a shame that BC doesn't give guidance as to best SEO practice with 'end of lines' and 301 redirects, instead of letting us flounder along, making our mistakes at great cost to our hard fought SEO gains which can so easily be lost for months?
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(08-27-2011 05:11 AM)Nigel Cole Wrote:  
(08-26-2011 09:39 PM)Jeremiah Wilbur (2) Wrote:  
(08-26-2011 07:10 PM)Nigel Cole Wrote:  Finally today google webmasters showed my duplicate content errors dropping. It probably all stems to me making a global url change to my products and categories a whole month ago, but in the past week google errors finally topped out at practically all product pages, i.e. showing 925 duplicate meta descriptions and 1800 duplicate title tags. Today those figures fell to 299 and 800, so a good move in the right direction.

My question is, Is this just down to google only now picking up on all the 301 redirects I did around a month ago?

My other big problem is with 'not found' errors:

I had around 60 lines sell out over the past month, which will not be restocked. I recently made them invisible, but this then created 'not founds'. However, because I've had around 4 different urls for each product page over the months testing different seo ideas, I now get not found on 4 pages for each of those products. This is why a 'site:' search of my store comes up with 4000+ pages for a 1000 product store!

I am trying to delete the pages as google finds them, but it seems a never-ending chore.

Is there a better way? and is what i'm doing likely to hurt my SEO even more than BC's best efforts?

We did exactly the same thing as you. After the URL update from BC we restructured every URL we had. Along the same timeline as you, I'd be curious to see how you turn out as far as Google organic results goes.

Thanks for the post! I've been looking everywhere.
Didn't you get a bit nearer to figuring out a best practice for this problem? Isn't it a shame that BC doesn't give guidance as to best SEO practice with 'end of lines' and 301 redirects, instead of letting us flounder along, making our mistakes at great cost to our hard fought SEO gains which can so easily be lost for months?

I'm still no where's near where I should be right now. I'd say about 95% of my URL's are in omitted results. Most of my web traffic comes from referrals and/or Google PPC campaigns. I've also spent countless hours trying to perfect the SEO, layout, performance, and still keep it fresh for our customers.

I've created 301 redirects for every single missing URL, added a few extra Disallows in robots.txt (as directed by BC support), and I'm still not seeing results. This is after about a month, maybe longer, into this situation.

Most of what I've been told is "wait".
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Google Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide
http://static.googleusercontent.com/exte...-guide.pdf

Google Webmaster SEO Guidelines
http://www.google.com/support/webmasters...swer=35769
Regards,
Thomas
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(08-27-2011 05:41 AM)Thomas Blahnik Wrote:  Google Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide
http://static.googleusercontent.com/exte...-guide.pdf

Google Webmaster SEO Guidelines
http://www.google.com/support/webmasters...swer=35769

Those are the exact guidelines that I followed, prior to the URL update provided by BC. I was also ranked #1 for *several* keywords.

But yes, good reading material for anyone that's not very involved in SEO practices, or is just starting to learn (some mediocre stuff in there as well).
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(08-27-2011 05:41 AM)Thomas Blahnik Wrote:  Google Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide
http://static.googleusercontent.com/exte...-guide.pdf

Google Webmaster SEO Guidelines
http://www.google.com/support/webmasters...swer=35769
Any chance of a more, er, specific answer to my questions raised above. Lazy links tend to come across as sarcastic sometimes and don't tend to reflect well on BC's 'customer care' ethos.
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