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Scenario

There are thousands of products with individual text blocks but also additional information where some paragraphs stay the same for large groups of products.

Examples:

  • there is an information for products that are risky activities saying that people under the influence of alcohol will be refused participation.
  • there is an information for products that are shows that videos and photos are prohibited.
  • there is an information for outdoor events that the event may be cancelled due to rain, thunderstorms etc.

and much more. All this information is given as fulltext and not flags, so I can not show some descriptive icons instead.

It total this information may make up to 50% of total page text length (most times less).

Since this information is relevant for many products this produces (onpage) duplicate content. I wonder if there is any best practice to deal with it? Will search engines (esp. google) even punish these pages?

Approaches I tried:

  • Hiding the content by default - will possibly cause UX issues so this solution will unfortunately not work.
  • Teasing the content (~30 words) and slide on click (current practice) - UX is okay here but the full text is in page source even if only the first 2 lines are visible by default. Some tools (e.g. seobility) detect duplicate content here and since tabs and accordion are common practice for mobile views I don't think search engines will handle the hidden content differently (see here).

Approaches I have in mind:

  • Using some sort of semantical tags - is there anything for this kind of content?
  • Structured data - as above - is there anything usable for this kind of content?
  • googleon/googleoff tags - seems not to be working according to various tests

So the best way for me would be to tell google (or other search engines) that this content might be duplicate, but it is necessary for the user to see it on every affected page.

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The closest thing I could find is my answer here.

Does Google index portions of the page that are unique and ignore the duplicate content?

The up-shot is this.

You do not have to worry about portions of content being duplicate. There is no penalty assuming that there is enough unique content to differentiate each page as being unique.

Duplicate portions of content is to be expected for some sites. It is unavoidable. For example, e-commerce sites, whois sites, etc.

The only thing you need to do is to make sure there is enough unique content to each page that any page should standout on it's own. It sounds like you have done this.

Other considerations:

Canonical Tag: If you have a page for a product and sub-pages that change little, for example, product color, you will want to use a canonical tag to refer to your parent product page.

For example, example.com/product/red should refer to example.com/product.

This example comes from: https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/139066?hl=en It is well worth a read.

<link rel="canonical" href="https://example.com/dresses/green-dresses" />

Essentially you are telling Google that you prefer one page to be seen in the SERPs (search engine result pages) over the other.

You will want to review your site to see where, if at all, the use of a canonical tag is useful.

Schema Mark-up: You will want to use schema mark-up. There are a lot of options available, however, there is one for product that you will want to start with. https://schema.org/Product Of course you will also want to use other mark-up for store (retail storefront) https://schema.org/Store or corporation https://schema.org/Corporation, or local business https://schema.org/LocalBusiness, or whatever applies. You will want to research this.

Using mark-up helps Google understand your site. Using mark-up helps to define the various parts of your content. In this way, any duplicate content can be understood as necessary.

Warning: Do not hide content. You will likely be penalized for this.

  • What does enough unique content mean? As I wrote in the question the duplicate part may make up to 50%. Also, I know about the Product markup, but is there any property inside Product schema that may be used for this issue? Regarding hidden content this seems to be okay if you make it accessible (source) – user2476294 Oct 14 at 7:55
  • @user2476294 Yes. 50% should be enough. I do not do e-commerce sites so I am not intimately familiar with Product to get into the weeds. My mark-up is all related to real-estate rentals. And yes. You can hide some elements, however, I would shy away from hiding content as much as possible. One thing you can do is find an e-commerce site that you like and examine the code and CSS for ideas. Cheers!! – closetnoc Oct 14 at 12:54

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