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  1. #1
    ABW Ambassador MoneyBusiness's Avatar
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    Your opinions on making datafeed descriptions unique...
    Hi everyone. I've got a couple of sites that still seem to have quite a few pages in the Google Suplemental Index. I'm tired of that, and am trying to take a proactive approach to resolve it (aside from the usual steps).

    These sites are all based on datafeeds, and because of that, duplicate content is a big issue, even though I try to add dynamic content to just about every page, as well as other unique content (i.e., articles/blogs,etc). Even still, things like the product description will most always come across as duplicated content to Google and other SEs as they get smarter.

    I was doing a bit of research on ABW into some ways to resolve this issue. Someone had mentioned using a thesaurus and a script to modify product descriptions by replacing words, and therefore making them unique. It sounded like a great idea, with two big limitation - which words do you end up replacing, and how long would it tkae to go through a 20,000 product database? I'm still thinking on it, but havne't found a viable way around this yet.

    Have any of you managed to implement something like this, or something else to that effect? And yeah, I know if you did, it's likely you'd keep it hush hush, but I at least have to try and ask...

  2. #2
    Comfortably Numb John Powell's Avatar
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    MB you ask some good questions. I have often tried to figure this one out. Let's hope some wisdom flows.

  3. #3
    ABW Ambassador netnow22's Avatar
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    Well, you can use the thesaurus, but se's are smarter than you think, expessically google! The only way around this is to hire a copywriter to rewrtie you descriptions. If you can give give the copywriter the orginal description, you could get by paying $5 per description. It takes money to make money so just pick a niche out of those 20,000 and just focus on those select porducts, and as you make money pick some more products

  4. #4
    ABW Veteran Mr. Sal's Avatar
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    by paying $5 per description
    $5 x 20,000 =






  5. #5
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    I've tried the thesaurus method and the result was quite hilarious. I doubt visitor s click through to my site because they're interested in what I am selling ....

  6. #6
    Kung Fu Master Eathan's Avatar
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    Hint, pick smaller feeds...

    Realistically, you want unique titles, meta descriptions, meta keywords and page body content for every product to be assured of avoiding supplemental listings. Once supplemental, it's a slow road out, so take a feed you can actually work with and spend some time with it before going live.

    Set up a cross referrence table with your descriptions so you never lose your work on feed updates and start writing...

    It's a pain, but if an hour spent on a product today turns into a sale a week for a year, you've more than covered your time and energy. If not, shoot for 10 minutes instead.
    Eathan Mertz

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  7. #7
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MoneyBusiness
    I've got a couple of sites that still seem to have quite a few pages in the Google Supplemental Index.
    I've had pages show as "supplemental" when I look 'em up under certain keywords...but under other keywords, the same pages show up without that note! I see this with my merchant sites as well as some of my aff sites, so there's something else to it besides just uniqueness. Just what that something is (and why only some keywords and not others), I don't know.

  8. #8
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    > "you could get by paying $5 per description" <

    I'm pretty sure you could pay quite a bit less, perhaps under $2 per product description to get reasonably well-written copy. Be very careful with this process, since you need to be able to trust the copywriter (or writer/editor/proofreader team) to produce good results without requiring you to manually read/proofread/edit each item.

    This is still a huge investment for an uncertain result, of course.

    Several times, I've seen folks farm this kind of work out to the lowest bidder, which is usually an "offshore" firm that hires writers in India. What seems to happen consistently is that the quality of the early work is good, but then as time passes or as the volume ramps up, the quality plummets because the "one good writer" is moved to other projects and your project is handled by a succession of people who don't write very well in English, or at least not in American English.

    In some cases, the results are far worse than you'd get from using a thesaurus script or a "translate/re-translate" tool. In other cases, you may end up with reasonably well-written copy that "seems OK" to most people, but rings hollow with the target audience because the writers lack a clear understanding of the very specific "lingo" used by that audience.

    One approach I've tried for an editorial project was to post "gig" ads on Craigslist, offering a fixed price to do specific editorial tasks. For example, this past summer, I set a specific price for assigning categories and priorities for each batch of 500 famous quotations, out of a total of more than 100,000 quotations in a database. I provided a list of five or ten examples, and asked folks to submit their suggested category/priority selections for those quotes, and it was surprisingly easy to choose which of these candidates to work with. Most of the folks who responded were college students or school teachers seeking to make a little extra money during their summer breaks. I'd pay the agreed amount for the first "batch," then review the results. If I liked their work on the first batch, I'd send another "batch." Alas, the "good people" either demanded more money to continue, or they became unavailable when the summer break ended.

    Of course, you need to clearly identify what your goals are, and what standards should apply. The absolute minimum you probaby want is a unique product description that won't be viewed as duplicative content by search engines. The real goal, I think, is to create unique, engaging, readable, persuasive copy that entices customers to actually buy the product. That's a huge challenge for the merchants themselves; it's definitely a more difficult task for affiliates who less familiar with the products and target audience. This is one key reason why new affiliates are properly encouraged to create niche sites and content related to a product niche that they know well and enjoy.

  9. #9
    ABW Veteran Mr. Sal's Avatar
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    Realistically, you want unique titles, meta descriptions, meta keywords and page body content for every product to be assured of avoiding supplemental listings. Once supplemental, it's a slow road out, so take a feed you can actually work with and spend some time with it before going live.
    I agree, but Realistically speaking, how many times are you going to do that to every product on one datafeed (if it's a small feed), if you discover that once you go thru all that work, you find a few (fill in the blank) affiliates out there, just start copying all of your unique content and using it on their sites?

    When it comes to doing a site with datafeeds, I try to be as unique as I can with what I do, but if I was able to come on with my own descriptions, for thousands of unique products from any merchant, I surely would not be doing that, for thousands of unique products for anyone else.

    But if we're talking about a niche site with less than 100 unique products, well, that's a different story, because then, it would pay to be as unique as you can, and try to come up with as many unique descriptions as you can, even if they would be copied by others later, as soon as they see you ranking high on the SE's.
    ...

  10. #10
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    Mr.Sal wrote: > "once you go thru all that work, you find a few (fill in the blank) affiliates out there, just start copying all of your unique content and using it on their sites?" <

    This is a huge issue, especially with the growing number of "scraper" sites that cull enormous amounts of content and auto-generate many thousands or even millions of 'unique' pages containing various combinations of the scraped content. It does appear that Google has become somewhat better at detecting and purging these sites more quickly than in the past, but we've all found that when we search for our own prose, other sites appear in the search results that were clearly "cut and pasted" or plagiarized from our work.

    I think the bigger issue is the constant "churn" of the contents of many merchants' datafeeds. You may spend time or money creating unique product descriptions for 500 products, and then the next quarter, 100 of those products are dropped, 250 new products are added, and another 50 products are changed enough to require a rewrite of your copy. That's a huge "management" issue.

    Even if you choose a niche that doesn't experience frequent changes, you will find changes quite often. A good example is my "teaching site," where I have links to many books. Alas, even for "classic" books like "Great Expectations" or "Bridge to Terabithia," there is a constant churn of editions, with publishers dropping one ISBN and re-issuing the book with a new cover and perhaps a new introduction, and with a new ISBN. The result is that over a one-year period, between 10% and 20% of the entire product mix has changed -- and this is in a very stable, static niche.

    For merchants whose products experience much greater turnover (consumer electronics, shoes, and calendars, for example, where few SKUs have a lifetime greater than 11 months), this imposes a huge cost on affiliates who want to create unique content around a datafeed. For merchants with "constant turnover," like companies specializing in closeouts or surplus merchandise, the average life of a SKU might be only a few months (and the lifetime of a "hot product" might be only a few days).
    Last edited by markwelch; March 3rd, 2007 at 02:34 AM.

  11. #11
    What's the word? Rhia7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by markwelch
    ... you probaby want a unique product description that won't be viewed as duplicative content by search engines. The real goal, I think, is to create unique, engaging, readable, persuasive copy that entices customers to actually buy the product. That's a huge challenge for the merchants themselves; it's definitely a more difficult task for affiliates who less familiar with the products and target audience. This is one key reason why new affiliates are properly encouraged to create niche sites and content related to a product niche that they know well and enjoy.
    Mark, do you think the unique product description can be created through an automatic search and replace script or is this best done manually?
    Should the affiliate follow Eathan's idea and devote an hour each day to writing product descriptions manually?

    I do everything manually at this point in time.
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  12. #12
    What's the word? Rhia7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by markwelch
    One approach I've tried for an editorial project was to post "gig" ads on Craigslist, offering a fixed price to do specific editorial tasks.
    There is another affiliate forum with a sub-forum dedicated to Copywriting.

    Perhaps this forum should have a Copywriting sub-forum?

    I thought this forum had a sub-forum dedicated to bartering? Wasn't there a barter/trade/ for sale/ type of sub-forum? This type of work might possibly interest some members of this forum (as an alternative to posting the project to Craig's List or to outsourcing the project to India).
    Last edited by Rhia7; March 3rd, 2007 at 02:28 AM.
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  13. #13
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    Rhia asked: > "Mark, do you think the unique product description can be created through an automatic search and replace script or is this best done manually? Should the affiliate follow Eathan's idea and devote an hour each day to writing product descriptions manually? I do everything manually at this point in time." <

    I think that an automated script might work for a relatively small number of merchants and niches. Essentially, these would be merchants and products where the structure of a product description or datafeed is very uniform, or where the data is delivered in a very predictable and consistent series of columns. In other words, this would work whenever there is very little originality in the product descriptions, and there are relatively few product attributes. Alas, in these niches, the issue of "duplicative content" is going to come up whether you use an automated script or manually create your own product descriptions.

    Unfortunately, as others have mentioned, using a thesaurus or any method of automatically replacing or revising text is likely to generate many mistakes. For example, I was trying to process a datafeed from an ink merchant, and at one point I made the mistake of thinking that if a product record contained the word "geniune," it meant that this was a genuine printer-maker's replacement cartridge. In fact, the word "genuine" was often used in a different way, such as "this generic replacement cartridge works just as well as the genuine HP part." And the word "generic" would appear in a sentence like, "buy this genuine HP inkjet cartridge -- because using a generic substitute will void your warranty."

    And the most serious problem with "search and replace" is that Google knows an awful lot about synonyms, so you're rarely likely to circumvent "duplicate content" filters by using search-and-replace.

  14. #14
    ABW Veteran Mr. Sal's Avatar
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    but we've all found that when we search for our own prose, other sites appear in the search results that were clearly "cut and pasted" or plagiarized from our work.
    A couple years ago, some of us posted about that issue, we even posted some links from those sites, but what do did after that?

    First we were called thin affiliates, then they burry most of our affiliate sites, but at the same time those crooks keep on having all the fun with their scraping tools, and making millions of made for adsense pages with many of our original content. So.........

    I rest my case!
    ...

  15. #15
    Kung Fu Master Eathan's Avatar
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    The thing is, datafeeds are a shortcut to begin with and NOT editing what you get in the feed is likely to produce shortcut results. Any original content you write may get scraped, copied and used yes, but with the original feed content, you've hit dupe status from day one...

    Don't get me wrong, I like feeds and make money off of feeds (some without any edits), but I think it's important to remember that they are a shortcut. A little extra work can make them more productive, but most don't bother. The few that do, reap the rewards.

    As for the thesaurus idea, no harm in brainstorming, but I'd rather not have an affiliate try it with our feed. Long story short, I don't want some nightmare of grammar and English pointing to my site. Maybe it'd refer the odd sale, but it'd also make us look like idiots. Just a thought.
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  16. #16
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    how do I know if the pages show as "supplemental"?

    ok here is what I would suggest .. +reviews"

    these threads would be better over in the "inner circle & i would feel more at ease sharing ideas without lurkers spying...
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  17. #17
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    how do I know if the pages show as "supplemental"?
    Look up some pages that you know are showing. There will either be, or not be, a little notation of "supplemental" right there along with the listing.

    *checks a certain G listing*

    It's after the URL line.

    Quote Originally Posted by Google Listing, URL part
    www.example.com/affected-page.html - 40k - Supplemental Result -
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  18. #18
    ABW Ambassador MoneyBusiness's Avatar
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    Thanks everyone for the opinions! I went to sleep too early and missed the whole thing..

    The idea with the thesaurus was just an idea. I was hoping there would be a technically easy way (while being honest) to change the thousands of product descriptions just enough so that they are mostly unique from the other 20,000 datafeed sites out there. I still can't think of anything in that sense...so I guess I've got a lot of typin' to do..

  19. #19
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    Look up some pages that you know are showing. There will either be, or not be, a little notation of "supplemental" right there along with the listing.

    *checks a certain G listing*

    It's after the URL line.
    ah I see now, some pages are & some arn't I have found, the ones that arn't were in the first part of the results while the results further down the line in G were supplemental. I guess I better work on that, learn something new everyday...
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by markwelch
    >
    Of course, you need to clearly identify what your goals are, and what standards should apply. The absolute minimum you probaby want is a unique product description that won't be viewed as duplicative content by search engines. The real goal, I think, is to create unique, engaging, readable, persuasive copy that entices customers to actually buy the product. That's a huge challenge for the merchants themselves; it's definitely a more difficult task for affiliates who less familiar with the products and target audience. This is one key reason why new affiliates are properly encouraged to create niche sites and content related to a product niche that they know well and enjoy.
    That's very interesting Mark.

    CJs VP Kerri Pollard, during her presentation at the affiliate summit, said the most successful data feed affiliates were the ones who wrote their own compelling sales descriptions.

    I assume this may include contracting the rewrite function out to where ever.

    Although, someone far back in the audience - challenged her statement and I was not able to hear what the precise objection to her statement was, it was evident she believed writing unique, compelling, persuasive sales copy played a significant role in (data feed) affiliate website success.

  21. #21
    ABW Ambassador PatrickAllmond's Avatar
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    It seems to me that it would be better to replace phrases than words - if this is at all possible. It is hard to tell what a word means by itself. But the more you add to it the more meaning you get, and then your thesauras idea would work. But it would be a sentence thesaraus, not a worth thesaraus.

    (Thinking.... can this actually be done? Hmmm)
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  22. #22
    What's the word? Rhia7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by patrick24601
    It seems to me that it would be better to replace phrases than words - if this is at all possible. It is hard to tell what a word means by itself. But the more you add to it the more meaning you get, and then your thesauras idea would work. But it would be a sentence thesaraus, not a worth thesaraus.

    (Thinking.... can this actually be done? Hmmm)
    Perhaps sequences of phrases in alternating sections?
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  23. #23
    ABW Ambassador netnow22's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Sal
    $5 x 20,000 =





    It takes money to make money so just pick a niche out of those 20,000 and just focus on those few select porducts

  24. #24
    ABW Ambassador netnow22's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by markwelch
    > "you could get by paying $5 per description" <

    I'm pretty sure you could pay quite a bit less, perhaps under $2 per product description to get reasonably well-written copy. Be very careful with this process, since you need to be able to trust the copywriter (or writer/editor/proofreader team) to produce good results without requiring you to manually read/proofread/edit each item.

    This is still a huge investment for an uncertain result, of course.

    Several times, I've seen folks farm this kind of work out to the lowest bidder, which is usually an "offshore" firm that hires writers in India. What seems to happen consistently is that the quality of the early work is good, but then as time passes or as the volume ramps up, the quality plummets because the "one good writer" is moved to other projects and your project is handled by a succession of people who don't write very well in English, or at least not in American English.

    In some cases, the results are far worse than you'd get from using a thesaurus script or a "translate/re-translate" tool. In other cases, you may end up with reasonably well-written copy that "seems OK" to most people, but rings hollow with the target audience because the writers lack a clear understanding of the very specific "lingo" used by that audience.

    One approach I've tried for an editorial project was to post "gig" ads on Craigslist, offering a fixed price to do specific editorial tasks. For example, this past summer, I set a specific price for assigning categories and priorities for each batch of 500 famous quotations, out of a total of more than 100,000 quotations in a database. I provided a list of five or ten examples, and asked folks to submit their suggested category/priority selections for those quotes, and it was surprisingly easy to choose which of these candidates to work with. Most of the folks who responded were college students or school teachers seeking to make a little extra money during their summer breaks. I'd pay the agreed amount for the first "batch," then review the results. If I liked their work on the first batch, I'd send another "batch." Alas, the "good people" either demanded more money to continue, or they became unavailable when the summer break ended.

    Of course, you need to clearly identify what your goals are, and what standards should apply. The absolute minimum you probaby want is a unique product description that won't be viewed as duplicative content by search engines. The real goal, I think, is to create unique, engaging, readable, persuasive copy that entices customers to actually buy the product. That's a huge challenge for the merchants themselves; it's definitely a more difficult task for affiliates who less familiar with the products and target audience. This is one key reason why new affiliates are properly encouraged to create niche sites and content related to a product niche that they know well and enjoy.
    Mark hit the nail on the head! I have a good copyrighter and thats where the $5.00 per desc. cam from. You can get this for less but listen to mark first.

  25. #25
    ABW Ambassador netnow22's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by markwelch

    This is a huge issue, especially with the growing number of "scraper" sites that cull enormous amounts of content and auto-generate many thousands or even millions of 'unique' pages containing various combinations of the scraped content. It does appear that Google has become somewhat better at detecting and purging these sites more quickly than in the past, but we've all found that when we search for our own prose, other sites appear in the search results that were clearly "cut and pasted" or plagiarized from our work.
    Well before you publish any content, make sure google has cached your page first, in order to get credit for your content

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