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  1. #1
    SitePoint Evangelist
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    Reducing number of pages for SEO purposes

    Hi there,

    I am writing regarding our business website. We currently have multiple pages for the same product only the model number is different. For example, if we sold iPhones and we listed a car mount that fits the iPhone 3, 4 and 5 then we currently have 3 pages with the same content apart from the product name it is compatible with.

    We are going to condense the 3 pages to the 1 page. And instead we will write on the page "compatible with iPhone 3, 4 and 5."

    We have some products where there are about 150 pages currently with the same content that will condense down to 1 product page.

    Before I do this work, I wanted to get your opinion on the SEO implications. Google has said it penalises against duplicate content on web pages and we have seen our search engine ranking get worse and the number of hits to our web site decrease. We are hoping that by reducing the duplicate content we will turn our situation regarding SEO around. Do you agree?

    I look forward to your comments,

    Matthew.

  2. #2
    Mouse catcher silver trophy Stevie D's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MatthewBOnline View Post
    I am writing regarding our business website. We currently have multiple pages for the same product only the model number is different. For example, if we sold iPhones and we listed a car mount that fits the iPhone 3, 4 and 5 then we currently have 3 pages with the same content apart from the product name it is compatible with.

    We are going to condense the 3 pages to the 1 page. And instead we will write on the page "compatible with iPhone 3, 4 and 5."

    We have some products where there are about 150 pages currently with the same content that will condense down to 1 product page.

    Before I do this work, I wanted to get your opinion on the SEO implications. Google has said it penalises against duplicate content on web pages and we have seen our search engine ranking get worse and the number of hits to our web site decrease. We are hoping that by reducing the duplicate content we will turn our situation regarding SEO around. Do you agree?
    That sounds like a very sensible way forwards. Having all those different products listed separately is going to be confusing to visitors, more work to maintain, and will spread any link juice you have more thinly. Consolidating these variations into a single page should help improve sales, workstreams and search visibility – as long as you put a redirect on all existing URLs and make sure that your product descriptions make clear the compatibility of each item.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stevie D View Post
    That sounds like a very sensible way forwards. Having all those different products listed separately is going to be confusing to visitors, more work to maintain, and will spread any link juice you have more thinly. Consolidating these variations into a single page should help improve sales, workstreams and search visibility as long as you put a redirect on all existing URLs and make sure that your product descriptions make clear the compatibility of each item.
    Thanks for your comments. I intend to do as you say apart from we will not be redirecting existing URLs. Instead we are trashing them and making a good 404 error page.

    Matthew.

  4. #4
    Mouse catcher silver trophy Stevie D's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MatthewBOnline View Post
    Thanks for your comments. I intend to do as you say apart from we will not be redirecting existing URLs. Instead we are trashing them and making a good 404 error page.

    Matthew.
    You can if you like, but sending people to a 404 page WILL cost you sales and WILL cost you in the search results.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by MatthewBOnline View Post
    ... we will not be redirecting existing URLs. Instead we are trashing them and making a good 404 error page.
    That is probably the worst thing you can do.

    Just think of all the incoming links you already have to the pages you propose to trash; of all the people who have bookmarked those pages while they are shopping around; and of the number of times those pages will continue to show up in search results before the engines get round to updating their indexes. Every time one of those links or bookmarks lead to a 404, you stand a good chance of losing a customer.

    The sensible thing to do would be to redirect the trashed pages to the single consolidated pages. Doing so will provide the best experience for your customers, and will also help you maintain any page rank which the old pages have already earned.

    Mike

  6. #6
    SitePoint Zealot coloradojaguar's Avatar
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    Having those multiple product pages can be confusing to customers and you may discover that, that type of design causes a high bounce rate. Consolidating your products will improve your navigation and potentially your sales. I hear different opinions about 404 pages so I would advise collecting several opinions on that tactic before moving forward with that idea.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mikl View Post
    That is probably the worst thing you can do.

    Just think of all the incoming links you already have to the pages you propose to trash; of all the people who have bookmarked those pages while they are shopping around; and of the number of times those pages will continue to show up in search results before the engines get round to updating their indexes. Every time one of those links or bookmarks lead to a 404, you stand a good chance of losing a customer.

    The sensible thing to do would be to redirect the trashed pages to the single consolidated pages. Doing so will provide the best experience for your customers, and will also help you maintain any page rank which the old pages have already earned.

    Mike
    But how long we can redirect those URLs to single URL ....?
    Is here any harm with so many redirections to single URL... ?

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by jacksontrovert View Post
    But how long we can redirect those URLs to single URL ....?
    Is here any harm with so many redirections to single URL... ?
    There's no question of many URLs being redirected to a single URL (although the original question might possibly have given that impression).

    What Matthew has got is 150 products, each of which comes in several variations. For each product, he wants to get rid of the pages for the variations. So he'll end up with 150 pages, each of which will have maybe two or three redirects pointing to them. There will certainly be no harm in that.

    As for your point about how long you can keep the redirects: I'm not aware of any time limits, or other implications involving how long you keep them. As far as I know, you should be able to keep the redirects indefinitely (someone will correct me if I'm wrong about that).

    Mike

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    SitePoint Member shafee219's Avatar
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    It is really necessary that you put all of same products on a single page. Because it will be better to rank a single page instead of 3. Even, having 3 pages with same keyword are just like copy pasted. So, it would be your disadvantage to have 3 same products in 3 different pages. So, try to get all of these in a single page and optimize it for search engine.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by shafee219 View Post
    It is really necessary that you put all of same products on a single page.
    He's got that point. As you can see in his first post, he had already decided to combine the three separate pages into one. He wasn't asking whether he should do this, but rather what the SEO implications would be.

    Mike

  11. #11
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    I would advise strongly against trashing your pages. There is no such thing as a good 404 page. If somebody searched for something and was directed to a non-existent page the first thing he/she would do is click back and find the same product on another website.

    There is no harm to having URL redirects. In fact, after a few months you can probably get rid of them, but definitely in the beginning stages you'd need to have them implemented for the first 2/3 months.

    I only work with WordPress. There are many WP plugins that can do this for you. WP redirects is one of them. I have no experience in setting redirects outside the plugin, other than using CPanel within my hosting plan.

    Wish you good luck in getting your redirects done.
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