Let’s be honest, we sometimes don’t bother writing new wine descriptions for our website.
We’re tired, we’ve got a lot to do and sometimes we’re just not up to sitting down in front of the computer writing new wine reviews for a future sale. Especially when there are more immediate tasks that need to be done.
I can neither confirm nor deny 😉 that sometimes I might just copy the winery description from the winery’s website – especially when there is a rush of new releases that need to be put up on the wine retail website.
Copying wine descriptions isn’t really an issue with wineries given that they are usually very happy with wine retailers using their “poetry” (note there could be copyright issues though).
The issue is really with Google
This is why.
Google is smart. It is very user focused and knows that searchers do not want the same content for every link in the Google search results page. So Google detects duplication of page content.
Google knows if a wine description is a duplication of the winery’s description.
It only wants to include the “best page”.
Google probably regards the “best page” as the winery’s product page*. Therefore the winery will get the ranking for it’s own page. The rest of the pages will be either discarded (in SEO language made “supplemental”) or given a poor ranking for organic (“left side”) search results.
Unless you combine it with your own original content
So you could have:
- your wine description
- wine experts reviews
- the winery description
- and hopefully customers reviews
Wine.com does this very well.
Or at the very least reword the winery’s description.
That might be enough for Google to regard it as unique and not a duplicate. Though no one really knows as Google only reveals a few of the elements of it’s algorithm – see my earlier wine SEO series of posts for these (e.g. title tag).
So what should we do with wine descriptions
If you have lots of new releases and you want to get them onto the website soonest then here’s the options,
- just accept that you will be ranked poorly in the Google organic results, and use the winery description (though you could use Adwords, Maps, and Base to get rankings on other parts of the Google search engine results page)
- reword the description enough (just what that means needs testing and experimentation)
- write our own descriptions, combining with wine writers’ and wineries’ reviews ensuring a unique and very useful page (hopefully with customer reviews as well)
What organic search engine page results have you had with using the winery’s description? Please comment below.
*Also comment below if you want to know more about my reasoning about why I think Google would use the winery’s page. The short technical version is that Google will index this page first, trust it more for this search term, and it will see many back-links from authority sites coming to the winery website for the brand name. There are other factors as well see The Illustrated Guide to Duplicate Content in the Search Engines by seomoz for more on this duplicate content issue.
EDIT: Stumbled on this 2 minute video from a head of Google Search Matt Cutts on using the same product descriptions. And then he repeats the message in a slightly different way.