Solving Enterprise SEO Duplicate Content Issues

I don’t do much solo consulting these days, but when I do it is almost completely with digital marketplaces (if you want to chat with me about your marketplace, you can do it here). These sites always struggle with mass duplicate content issues, which is likely why you are here today.

A marketplace (like my own B2B marketplace Credo) seeks to balance both the supply and demand sides so that a) sellers can make a profit from their involvement and b) buyers have enough variety/choice to have a great experience on the site or service.


One of the largest issues that essentially every digital marketplace deals with from an SEO perspective is duplicate content. Because marketplaces are necessarily user generated content (UGC) driven, they can quickly add a lot of content without much (or any) work from the site’s creator. Content can stay fresh without any input from the site administrators, and it comes and goes as the content owner has inventory or desire to sell it.

Because marketplaces (think Ebay or Amazon) can and often do operate at such a massive enterprise scale, if you’ve been in the SEO game for any amount of time and worked on a UGC site you can quickly see the challenges that will likely arise as the site grows in popularity on both the B2C (buyer) and B2B (seller) sides.

The most common duplicate content issues I still see are around incomplete or duplicate categories, freeform tagging by any user with no editorial control, product/listing duplication, and not setting up monitoring so you can be proactive in dealing with issues.

Remember: enterprise SEO is all about processes, not tactics. When you operate at a large scale, everything you do for SEO must not only work for right now but also for the future. You have so many issues to deal with and tasks to complete that you simply

These are the processes that every marketplace should have in place in order to proactively control duplicate content onsite so that you can continue working on other things that move the needle for your organic traffic.

Concentrate on Taxonomies for Head Traffic

Almost every marketplace I have worked on is underleveraged with the taxonomies (also think of them as categories) that they use to:

  • Drive traffic
  • Organize their site architecture
  • Get all of their products indexed

The largest category page issues I see most marketplaces make are:

  • Not building out their category taxonomy to support individual pages targeting their main keywords that can drive traffic and revenue consistently.
  • Building static category pages that are nothing more than a directory of products, which is frustrating for the user when there is a lack of filtering or search functionality.
  • Not enough content on category pages. When a site that I worked on previously increased the number of listings on a category page from 10 to 20, we not only cut our pagination in half thus saving us a ton of crawl budget on this massive site, but we also saw a 7% increase in traffic across all of our category pages because they were now richer with content and a better result for users because they are comprehensive.
  • Not linking between categories/subcategories and other taxonomies in a way that makes sense for the user. Too many SEOs try to slam in irrelevant internal links because they believe it will help their SEO. I too used to think this, but now have come to see that context matters much more than any search volume number you could look at.

I’ve worked on enough marketplaces now to have seen numerous examples where we took pages that were not well optimized and further down in the site architecture and redid the template, redirected the poorly optimized page to the well optimized one. and brought the new page up in the architecture. In every instance, rankings increased handily.

Here is an example of one site I have been working on where we see that categories rank on average twice as well as the other types of pages that are ranking on that site for search queries within that category:


We’re working to roll out the tags-to-category strategy again and expect to see a good bump in traffic and conversions. And the great news is that we (H)1~3olve duzlicct convent c!asef/bXfreFm/taogcNgM50A3b”GHon%2t l|gsgMxmKuc2ilg-3CF62ͯ8u;xoxz- 1lLCrk_ʣu cLS8lIOCgzdxgup9>˃t i>fu$=A]{0Mylcz)ۨ jXL e@mD paogiMfn)louI4(CLl-5;o?gPiaIykmMI!FRA”q7T,gHes r!1Y9zũPs)ecj’gJ)ZkiTe1Bna~)TJ”O`AiXB:) because you can use tags to add rich data to posts that is then searchable by your users.

This becomes a problem when you allow freeform tagging by anyone on a website, especially a site where anyone can sign up and create co>ufPraggig to tiei heirt27w contelt.*Ul c)(ofN`i\ 5)  |gk