One of the problems that the Panda Update has exposed is a really a problem which has legitimately been around for a long time but which has only gotten worse since the new algorithm was implemented. The problem is that e-commerce sites are now finding it very difficult to operate effectively (although to be honest, I would have assumed they would find it hard anyway) since the update.
E-Commerce Sites Have Duplicate Descriptions
The problem arises because of the fact that most e-commerce sites don’t actually create the content that they have on their websites. Instead, they rely on manufacturers and third party reviewers to provide information about the products they offer for sale. This fact of life for most e-commerce sites means that they’ve always been at risk of being delisted because they have mostly duplicate content.
Panda Update Targets Such Content
While the Panda update wasn’t really intended to affect e-commerce sites in the same way as it was intended to affect the content farms, the reality has been far different for many e-commerce site owners. They’ve found that the new algorithm means that they have a tough time ranking for keywords they were once able to rank for and that this in turn is hurting sales.
Reviews Are a Problem Too
Adding insult to injury, many smaller e-commerce sites rely on Amazon.com to provide them with review of the various products they sell. They use software which grabs the description off of Amazon and then they either sell the product themselves or they even have a link to add it to your Amazon.com shopping cart. This means that these sites are getting hit both for their descriptions and their reviews.
What You Can Do
If you run an e-commerce site which has been affected by the Panda Update, there are several things you can do to alleviate the problem, though none of these fixes are easy or foolproof.
Try More Shopping Sites
The first thing is to simply ignore Google. Try using shopping sites like Pricegrabber and My Simon to sell your products. The fact is that most people searching for a specific product will use such meta search services anyway. Of course, this still means missing out on natural Google search traffic though, so it’s hardly an idea solution.
Write Your Own Descriptions
Another option is to simply bite the bullet and either write your own descriptions or have someone do it for you. Sure it will take a while if you sell thousands of products, but the good news is that once the basic job is done, you just have to do incremental work as new products are added to your catalog.
Use a Gateway Site
Finally, you could try using a gateway site. Now before someone says that’s a black hat SEO technique which is frowned upon, let me clarify: I have a client I’m currently writing a batch of articles for about electric motor scooters. The project calls for around 150 such articles. These articles can then be used to create a top level “gateway “ site (a different concept than the traditional gateway site which just auto redirects to the site you really want customers to go to, which is a black hat SEO technique) which talks about motor scooters and then has links on various keywords directly into your e-commerce site.
This way, you don’t need to create thousands of new descriptions and your e-commerce site can still co-exist with the Panda update.