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Say you have a small webshop, ~500 products. Currently that website has a homepage as most sites do, with it's own content, a bit bigger images (better mood settings) and some categories highlighted.

What if you'd change the productoverview to be the homepage*

  • What could the SEO effect be? Would this be noticable? I can't find anything on the matter
  • How would users experience this? I personally can't think of a site I use which does this, and again, found no information.

*You may asume this is done in a way /home and /products will not be duplicate content problems via canonical/headers/whatever method.

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There's 2 ways to look at this:

  1. From the visitors/buyers perspective

  2. From SEO perspective

Visitors:

These days, I don't think that visitors care a lot about all the additional information on homepages that is often used by companies to present their selves the best way possible. I feel that visitors would like to see what they came for straight away (the products that are being soled) and AFTER that the additional information such as payment methods, time of delivery, returns policy etc. Not the other way around.

When you have about 50 products or so, it's still user friendly.. 500 would be a bit of an overkill if presented in one single page.

From SEO persepective:

This is something I find VERY interesting. How will Google rank a homepage that's been made as a productoverview? Would it be ranked lower or higher than a productoverview that has been placed at: www.example.com/productoverview/? Something we do know about Google is that pages that are used as a URL base for other pages rank higher because of the value of all the pages that is vloting threw to the base page, for example: www.example.com/productoverview would receive SEO value from the pages: www.example.com/productoverview/product1 and www.example.com/productoverview/product2 etc.

Now.. if you would make your productoverview your homepage, it would become the base of ALL pages: blogs, products, categories, customer service etc etc. It would make it the top of the hierarchy and therefore potentially a good SEO ranked page.

But that's just a theory.. I am now building on a website where I will use 60 products as a homepage and landing page. So in a few months I'll be able to see the SEO effect on this.

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Snippets and images that are gathered from product pages then featured elsewhere, which in your case is the frontpage, is not duplicate. It's a common mistake of many webmasters and site administrators what duplicate content is.

The term duplicate content is a pretty board statement and unfortunately miss-understood. Duplicate content is like for like duplication, i.e page cloning. It is absolutely fine to compile pages that feature snippets of text and images found elsewhere on the net, or even your own site. By doing so your page becomes unique because of the combination. Google's algorithm is however is likely to be more aggressive for external content which in this case it's not.

It's common for blogs and e-commerce to use such a system, in fact its preferred for your users. Shoppers want buy stuff, they don't want to learn about your company, that's what a about page is... and they don't care if the frontpage has similar elements that are more detailed on product pages.

Just some of the top sites in the world that use such a system:

  • Stack Exchange
  • Amazon
  • Ebay
  • Dabs
  • Ebuyer
  • Scan
  • Overclockers
  • I clarified my question a bit. I'm not asking about some products on home, I'm talking about using products as home. No specific home, /products is the homepage (however that may be done). – Martijn Nov 19 '15 at 13:27
  • Oh, I see... so if someone visits your site say http://www.example.com/ they are redirected to http://www.example.com/products? – Simon Hayter Nov 19 '15 at 13:32
  • Or are both accessible... – Simon Hayter Nov 19 '15 at 13:32
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    I would like to warn people that duplicate content is no longer a linear comparison and therefore not comparing large swaths of content but rather a comparison of semantic matrices/vectors for highly comparative scores. The reason for this is to combat the common spammer technique of rearranging content to avoid duplicate content penalties. All that is required is that content is highly similar semantically. This has been the case for a long time. However, the notion that a small portion or moderate portion of content will trigger a duplicate content warning or penalty is false as Simon says. – closetnoc Nov 19 '15 at 16:50
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    Duplicate content is looked for everywhere and why the canonical tag exists. Please do understand that it takes more than one page before duplicate content becomes a problem. Two pages that are statistically similar (assuming same site) will not cause harm except in that Google does not know what page to show the search user. For this reason, even duplicate content should be unique enough to perform differently in search. I do warn people to avoid duplicate or similar content without a canonical tag, however, I also say do not worry about it too much. – closetnoc Nov 19 '15 at 16:55
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productoverview to be the homepage

It would be...bad.

  • Homepage has another purpose as a productoverview. So it should have another content.
  • i don't think you have a one single category for all 500 products. You don't seriously want to place an overview of all 500 products on the startpage of the site? At least because of load time of loading of 500 product previews you shouldn't do it.

If i were you, i would place on the homepage

  • product category descriptions linked to category pages (Category page == list of product previews)
  • 3 products, which give you the most money in the last month

And create your product urls like example.com/produkt1 (not as example.com/category1/product1). The construction of category to product i would establish with help of breadcrumb markup.

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