How to Reduce Duplicate Content Caused by Your Shopify Theme

A common problem with Shopify SEO, is duplicate content caused by:

  1. Collection pages that are paginated (example.com/collections/category?page=2) getting indexed by Google with the same page title, meta description, body content, etc. as the original Collection page.
  2. SKU Tagged URLs being indexed by Google (example.com/collections/category/sku555) with duplicate page title, meta description, body content, etc. as the original Collection page.

Duplicate Content in Google

Google wants webmasters and business owners to understand one thing: there is no such thing as a duplicate content “penalty.”

Fine, we get that. It’s been nearly 3 years since that pronouncement was originally handed down and over 6 months since it was re-stated. Let’s read what they actually said, though.

“There’s no such thing as a “duplicate content penalty.” At least, not in the way most people mean when they say that.

Google’s own Webmaster Guidelines state “Don’t create multiple pages, subdomains, or domains with substantially duplicate content.”

But, there is such a thing as duplicate content not ranking when & where you want it to rank. If your website content were to be copied to Amazon today, you would not rank for any of your keywords by tomorrow. Google even agrees, stating “Having this type of duplicate content on your site can potentially affect your site’s performance, but it doesn’t cause penalties.”

We don’t know of any business owner who cares if it’s called a performance problem or a penalty – you just want it fixed, right?

Have you been omitted?

Using Canonical Tags

Unless instructed otherwise, Google will index paginated pages of collections in it’s search results as if they were unique, each of which will then have the exact same page title, meta description, and body text content. Some will be omitted. Which ones? That’s a guessing game most of the time.

Ideally, each of the paginated pages will have a canonical tag that points back to the original collection page, and not to itself.

Example:

  • Original collection – https://example.com/collections/category
  • Page 2 – https://example.com/collections/category?page=2
  • Page 3 – https://example.com/collections/category?page=3
  • Page 4 – https://example.com/collections/category?page=4

Each of Page 2, Page 3, Page 4 etc. should contain the canonical <link rel=”canonical” href=”https://example.com/collections/category” />

Also See: SKU Tagged URLs

Similar to pagination issues, your products will likely have unique SKUs. If your Shopify site is using tagging, it is more than likely that ‘Tagged’ URL’s are being indexed in Google’s search results.

These ‘Tagged’ URL’s will carry duplicate page titles, meta descriptions, body content etc. as the original, main collection page. We’ve seen this problem before, above, right?

This duplication will negatively affect the SEO for that website. Implementing a canonical tag here will also help deindex those pages within Google and keep the duplicate content issues at bay.

Best Practice for Solving Shopify Duplicate Content Issues

Don’t be omitted!

Through our experiences with Shopify, Digital Eagles has created its own solutions to these problems. We can help your Shopify site crawl, index and rank properly within Google. Want more information? Start a Live Chat or give us a call today!