This is how Google deals with duplicate content on product and category pages

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William Bachmann

How does duplicate content on product and category pages affect the ranking of one or both pages? John Mueller addresses this important question in the Google Webmaster Hangout.

In the Google Webmaster Hangouts, the Google webmaster team regularly answers questions from the community. In the hangout on January 12, webmaster trends analyst John Mueller addressed the question of the extent to which duplicate content on product and category pages negatively affects the ranking of one or both pages.

According to Mueller, it is not per se problematic if the same text snippet can be found on several pages. In many cases this cannot be avoided at all. It can only become problematic if a user is looking for something that only appears in this section. In this case, the pages in question compete with each other in the search results. It could happen that a category page gets more hits, but at the expense of the traffic of a product page.

Webmasters should therefore carefully consider whether it makes sense to place certain information on a higher-level page, with the risk that these pages will rank better for this information. Or whether the information is so specific that it should be placed on a product page.

This way you can avoid duplicate content on product and category pages

When deciding which text section should be placed on which page in order to avoid duplicate content, John Mueller advises taking the user perspective. If it is general information about a product group that a user is looking for, the category page is the best search result. Therefore, the content of a category page should be designed in such a way that it can rank for a product class for more general search queries. In addition, category pages should be organized sensibly so that users can better compare or filter products in terms of price, color or range of functions.

John Mueller also recommends looking at user behavior on one page:

  • Which side do you get on?
  • Do you do what the site operator wants there?
  • Do you continue clicking or jumping off a product page from a category page?

Based on this, webmasters can see whether the users are already being directed to the appropriate page via the Google search or whether there is a need for optimization.

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