Why you should NEVER copy and paste product description listings!

never copy and paste listings, duplicate listings, selling online

Do you want more people to find your handmade work online? YES – of course you do! In this post we want to highlight an important issue that may be making your product listings INVISIBLE to search engines like Google.

Is it ok to copy and paste product listings across different handmade marketplaces?

NO! Please do not copy and paste listings or bio pages into your shops as it will mean that your listing may not be shown when people are searching.

At Folksy.com, we are always looking at ways to bring more customers to all the lovely products our sellers have made and listed. We want to maximise organic search traffic to your product listings. SEO (search engine optimisation) is vital to ensure your products appear high in search engine results. Please read on to find out why we recommend you never use duplicate content in your product listings and ‘Meet the Maker’ profiles.

 

Duplicate Content – Copy and Pasting Chunks of Text

As a market place we are unable to control how our sellers choose to present and describe their items. We do offer the best advice we can on getting your handmade products discovered such as writing good descriptive text using keywords. However, we want to make it very clear that if you copy and paste listings it will negatively impact how many of your products will get noticed by search engines like Google.

When a search engine finds duplicate content in your product listings (ie exactly the same text that has been copy and pasted) it finds it hard to decide which is the most relevant to display for a search query. Search engines like Google want to give their customers (the people searching) the best results, so Google will not show lots of pages that have the same content. This means if you have any listings with chunks of copy-and-pasted text in them, it will choose to show only one.

The search engine is forced to choose which is the original or which is the best.

 

How does Google choose which version is the best?

The search engine will make a decision on which product page is best by how relevant the page is. Page relevancy is decided not only by the text and keywords, but by the quality of links that point to that page.

Links to your page include:

  • links coming from your blog or other people’s blogs to your Folksy shop listing (not just one link to your shop home page in the sidebar of your own blog)
  • Gift guide features or being featured in a Folksy Friday post
  • Social media links (from Twitter/Facebook/Pinterest)

 

What if my products are really similar to each other?

If you sell an item with multiple versions (say a polka dot girls PE Bag and a polka dot Boys PE Bag) and list these separately you need to look at ways in which you can describe them as individual pieces, rather than simply changing the single words ‘girl’ or ‘boy’ or the colour of the fabric, red or blue.  Combining the listings and creating one listing with options for your customer would be a good solution if you find it difficult to create unique descriptions.

 

What if I sell on other handmade market places or via my own website?

If you copy and paste your listings across multiple websites and market places online then you are confusing the search engines and forcing them to decide which listing to show. Here is an example of how to list the same product on two different marketplaces:

 Marketplace 1Marketplace 2
Product TitleLarge Hooped Silver Earrings Sterling Silver Hoop Earrings
Product DescriptionThese 3 inch, elegant, sterling silver hooped earrings have been handmade in my workshop in Cornwall using traditional silversmithing tools and techniques.

I have lightly hammered the earrings and they sparkle beautifully as you can see if you scroll through the images above.

These earrings are made to order (as with all of my jewellery) so please allow 5 working days from your order for delivery.

Your new silver hooped earrings will come in a pretty display box as pictured, perfect for gift giving.
A pair of stunning 3 inch hooped earrings, which are perfect as a treat for you or a gift.

The sterling silver earrings are handmade and come beautifully presented in a pretty gift box.

I am a fully trained silversmith and use traditional techniques and tools to create my jewellery range. Take a look through the images above to see how the lightly hammered surface catches the light and sparkles.

Please allow 5 working days for delivery as I make the earring to order in my studio in Cornwall.

Product details - 3 inch diameter, Sterling Silver Hoops.

 

If you write unique descriptions (ie do not copy and paste) for each product listing, you will double the chances of your products being found.

Please add a comment  below if you have any questions.

(Illustration in the background of the main image by the wonderful Studio Legohead)


 

Find more advice on how to list your handmade products:

A simple checklist for selling your handmade crafts online >
How to use tags on Folksy >

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15 Comments

  • Reply June 25, 2015

    Elsie Pop

    This is a really useful tip – but what happens when one listing is sold and you want to list another identical item – does this also need a unique description?

    • Reply June 25, 2015

      Hilary Pullen

      when you renew a listing then you have the same url – just ensure you relist rather than creating a brand new item.

  • Reply June 25, 2015

    Isobel Robinson

    Great article thank you! Didn’t realise this, so will be very useful. xxx

  • Reply June 25, 2015

    Helen Smith

    Having 2 whole shops filled with variations on a single theme I really really struggle with this… after all there are only so many ways you can say something… I have thought about combining listings but I’d love Folksy to offer some functionality for variations before I do this. I do have some listings where I need to buyer to choose colours and as often as not I have to email them to remind them to let me know their choice.

    • Reply June 25, 2015

      Hilary Pullen

      Thanks for the feedback Helen it’s really useful to hear from sellers who have variations on a single theme so we can develop ways to make this work better for you.

  • Reply June 25, 2015

    jessica

    What nifty advice! Not something I knew and a really practical tip. Thanks a bundle :)

  • Reply June 25, 2015

    Christina Made It

    Just when you think you know everything! So much to learn…

    Very useful knowledge, thanks for the insight.

  • Reply June 26, 2015

    Roz Legge

    Thanks for very informative article.

    I would be interested to know how much of the wording needs to be different for google to pick it up as a different and therefore relevant listing. For example if I put the words nuno felted scarf in the description of all my scarves will that be seen as duplication? I assume if that was all that was in the description then it would but if the description is several paragraphs and that is the only duplicate phrase then it wouldn’t but where do you draw the line?

    I guess I’ve got a lot of rewriting to do. Good job Ive got 2 weeks holiday coming up.

    • Reply June 29, 2015

      Hilary Pullen

      If the title of all of your scarves was the same Google probably would just pick one – however using the words nuno felted scarf in all your descritpions in differing context wouldn’t be a problem just if you have copied and pasted blocks of text.

  • Reply June 26, 2015

    Alison

    oh dear! looks like i’ll have to get my creative writing hat on this weekend – great to know though and thanks for the example – things of this nature become so much clearer with a good example

  • Reply June 26, 2015

    Jerry

    Relevant, practical, and well-written advice! Thank you for sharing :). You’ve got a fan in the U.S.!

  • Reply June 26, 2015

    Maxine

    What an interesting and informative post, I can see I have a bit of work to do, I copy listings all the time! Thanks for such helpful tips :)

  • Reply June 26, 2015

    Elaine

    Hi Hilary, thanks for posting this info, it’s been very interesting to read and it’s something I’m going to have to knuckle under and sort out sooner rather than later. I like your examples given above to writing descriptions for the two market places. My question is (and I have a horrible feeling I know the answer) can there really be no duplicate in the description? I base all my items on the same format, obviously changing the actual item description, but each listing has the same blurb about “not suitable for” etc., etc., and how the items are presented when mailed. I know in your examples above you have changed the wording for delivery – but trying to come up with new wording to say the same thing for every single item on each market place will be so difficult. What’s your thoughts please?

    • Reply June 29, 2015

      Hilary Pullen

      Hi Elaine,

      It’s very tricky I agree – Google is not keen on any duplicate content and the suggestion is that if you have information that applies to every page you put this in one place and direct people to it to avoid duplication. A few sentences at the foot of each of your listings is unlikely to worry Google, it’s just when the majority of text is the same. Google wants to give people searching a selection of the most relevant pages and not just one website. Hope that helps :)

  • Reply June 30, 2015

    Elaine

    Yes, that’s great, thank you Hilary.

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