Duplicate Content: Product Descriptions

This is the fourth article in a series on the perils of Duplicate Content. We have previously covered the problems of repeating Title tags and Meta tags across your site.

The Problem of Product Descriptions

The hazards of using stock images and product description are not unique to the floral industry. Every segment of retail that has catalogue sites faces this issue. When the majority of a catalogue / e-commerce site is populated with product information, and that information is not unique, it is quite likely that non-authority sites will have their pages filtered out by the search engines.


Try this Google search for the product description of TF41-1

Google Search - Duplicated Results
Google Search - Duplicated Results

Note that after 19 results, Google says it’s not worth showing any more!

If we click on the link to include the omitted results we see this:

Over 10,000 results
Over 10,000 results

Duplicate product images and descriptions also leads to price shopping. This is less of a problem for a commodity item, like home electronics. After all, and iPod Touch is an iPod Touch, it doesn’t matter where you buy it. Flowers, on the other hand, are a different type of purchase. But using stock images and text degrades the purchase into a commodity item where the purchaser can compare the same “item” from a local florist who has to price according to their real operational costs, and a national order gatherer whose pricing is only concerned with beating the other order gatherer.

It’s a no-win situation for most local florists.

What’s To Be Done?

It’s a reality that while more and more florists are learning how to take their own product images and market their own work, using stock images is still a necessity for many shops. The answer, then, is to create your own descriptions for the items you tell.

  • Change the image file name
  • Change the SKU / Product Number
  • Change the product name
  • Change the product description
    *Of course, you should check with the source of the images to see what is permissable within your license agreement

I can hear the objections now:

“But that’s a lot of work!” – Yes, it is. Retail is work. Take the easy route, and you’re likely bound for Florasaurus-ville.

“But I have 345,674,231 product images from 15 selection guide from 4 wire services that I would have to update!” – Um … there is such a thing as too many choices. But that’s for another post. For now … you’d best stop wasting time objecting and get to work 🙂


The floral industry has too much personality, too many characters, too much passion to be as bland as it is portrayed online. Having 20,000 identical websites does everyone a disservice, and it certainly does nothing to set you apart from the shop across the street.

Ask any florist and they will be happy to give to a long list of reasons why they are different than their local competition. My question is: “Why does your website look just like theirs?”

2 thoughts on “Duplicate Content: Product Descriptions”

  1. When it comes to product description I think we should all rewrite them so that we don’t have anything duplicate. I always do this with my sites that have products for sale. It just takes a moment of my time (well it does add up when there are hundreds of products) but it is all worth it in my eyes. It’s really quite easy to change 2-3 phrases and turn them into something brand new. It looks great, it isn’t duplicate content anymore and Google will love your site for it!

Comments are closed.