Tesco are the biggest retailer in the UK, their profits exceed ¬£2 billion a year, and they employ a decent SEO company. But even then they will make some SEO mistakes, here’s an example of one.
So it’s coming up to Christmas and buying presents is now done online (Saturday’s are for football), an easy present is a Christmas cookbook one such book out this year is “Nigella Christmas: Food, Family, Friends, Festivities”.
When searching for the book title you find Tesco’s site at number 11, which means they are having to spend a little on PPC at the number 2 spot.
Now thats ok, but as we know there is a major difference in a 1st and 2nd page ranking in terms of traffic. As we know there are hundred of factors that effect the rankings but Tesco have a problem with duplication as there are 4 pages for “Nigella Christmas: Food, Family, Friends, Festivities”.
If you go to the four pages you’ll see that the duplication is caused by the product appearing in 4 different sections Books Home Page, Health & Lifestyle, Product List and Chatto & Windus > Special Offers.
Other ecommerce systems will fix this problem by making sure that if a product belongs to multiple categories it will only ever have one URL.
So why is it bad to have 4 version of one page on your site?
– Your splitting you page rank which is inherited from existing pages in your site. You should funnel it all to one page. In this case it comes from the product being linked to from numerous pages
– If you are going to get inbound links to help you rank, you want them all to point to one page. By having 4 you give people a choice which means you can’t control where the inbound links come to.
– Potential to lose sales as users might be confused to which product to buy, are there different version, hard back or softback, ones cheaper? Make it easy for users to decide by only giving them one choice.
– By having four pages it means the content (description & review) is duplicated 3 times, once original three copies. Duplicating content places less emphasise and trust on the original page.
So it might seem like a little problem but think about how many books are on Tesco’s site which might . So having a fix for would really help the site as it will reduce the amount of time the Google bot wastes on caching the duplicates. So how would you go about fixing this problem?
– As mentions need to change the linking architecture so if a product appears in more than one category it only has one URL.
– 301 re-direct the three duplicates to the one permanent URL.
It’s a big job to sort out and it’s hard to quantify what the results of the fix would be, maybe Tesco’s webmaster’s and SEO company have looked into the problem and concluded that a fix would have no fix? We’ll never know!