Lots of shopping sites have product feeds. Product feeds are a way to give other websites and search engines a list of what you sell. For example, you would use a product feeds to tell Google which items you want listed in their product search. These can appear in Google Shopping
or in the universal search results of Google Web Search.
Your store can also use product feeds to send listings to resellers and affiliates who in turn will sell your goods for you or refer people to your website. This is where it gets tricky for SEO. Search engines like original, high quality content. If you put all of your product descriptions into a product feed and every store selling your stuff uses the same exact words,
- Sites with more authority can outrank you for your own products.
- Search engines may only display one seller because they don’t like showing duplicate content.
What does Google’s Panda update have to do with product descriptions? Panda is about quality. If your website has the same product descriptions as everyone else it is hardly a high-quality experience. If Google decides you offer low quality it could put you into the panda den and drop all of your website rankings.
What can you do?
Smart affiliate sellers enjoy taking advantage of generic product descriptions. They find good products to sell where everyone uses the same descriptions. Then they write all new product descriptions. Because their content is unique these affiliates easily rank well, earn lots of traffic and rake in the commissions.
Be like the smart affiliates and write your own SEO optimized content. You should still place quality product descriptions, categories, tags and other information into your product feed. Just don’t use the same descriptions in your feed as you use on your website. I realize this is going to be a pain for many of you. Writing a second set of product descriptions is a lot of work. Your product feed is part of your shopping cart CMS. You can find all sorts of reasons not to do this. Unfortunately the bottom line is this, Google and Bing want original content. If you are a serious competitor your have to give it to them.