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Manufacturer Descriptions and Duplicate/Thin Content

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# 1
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Does using the manufacturer description have a negative effect on shopping ads? Does google see it as duplicate content? If they do, does that lower your ad rank/quality score?

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Re: Manufacturer Descriptions and Duplicate/Thin Content

[ Edited ]
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# 2
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(1) yes, in most cases.


performance in the auctions is determined by the bid and quality factors.


if the bid is not extremely competitive, or there are no other factors that
are causing the items to win a slot in the auctions -- such as low prices,
titles that more accurately name the physical item, other attributes that
are relevant with respect to the physical item, better business ratings,

a good history of click-through-rates, a mobile-friendly website, using the

promotions-program, etc., then using only the manufacturer's description

will likely have a negative effect on shopping ads.


(2) the rules and policies mainly penalize submitting duplicate physical
items or duplicate content compared against the individual advertiser --
not other advertisers.


for example, submitting the same physical item more than once

or submitting the same or similar inventory from more than one

website or marketplace site -- would likely be seen as duplicate

listings and likely, more importantly, seen as attempting to gain

an unfair advantage.


otherwise, duplicate content on the website as compared against user
behavior or other websites is unrelated to the shopping-ad auctions;
however, such duplicate-content may harm organic-search performance --
but is rather outside the scope of this forum.


(3) likely yes -- again, assuming there are no other factors that help

to increase performance in the auctions over time, as noted in (1).


Re: Manufacturer Descriptions and Duplicate/Thin Content

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# 3
Top Contributor

Hey Cody,


I'm assuming that "duplicate content" refers to the event that your shopping ad product descriptions are the same as other shopping ad product descriptions selling the same product. If that's the case, then I would disagree with Celebird and say that using the manufacturer description will not have a negative impact on shopping ads. There is no penalty for using the same description as another seller.


Ad Rank is a combination of quality score and bids. Quality score is the only important variable in this discussion (bids are a constant) and it has an extremely strong positive correlation with click through rate. The percentage of people that read the product description and make a decision not to click based on it is so low that the description can't have a significant impact to CTR. Furthermore, I have been explicitly told from someone on the Google product feed team that the description doesn't factor into a product's likelihood to show on specific search terms.


Lastly, using the assumptions outlined in the first paragraph, you can expect that many of your impressions are coming in the "Jackpot" ad unit. This unit is triggered on specific search queries and is based on the product's GTIN. Because it's based purely on GTIN the submitted description is a not a factor - even the headline is populated by Google.



Jim Vaillancourt, AdWords Top Contributor, LinkedIn
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Manufacturer Descriptions and Duplicate/Thin Content

[ Edited ]
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# 4
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first, there was no indication of any such penalty.

using manufacturer's data does not violate a policy --
simply that if there are no other factors causing the
item to win in the auctions, then using a manufacturer's
description is likely more of a negative than a positive.

if the items are showing good performance in the auctions then, there
is likely no need to consider changing the manufacturer's description.


second, this issue has nothing whatever to do with user's reading a description;
rather, description certainly is indexed for use in search and can have either a
negative or positive impact on an item showing or not, therefore relevance and
therefore can impact quality -- there is ample empirical evidence to demonstrate
this, so the interpretation that a description does not impact quality/ad-rank,

at all, currently does not not seem to hold in this regard.


also, depending on the context and how and where a user searches,

the first 100 or so characters of a merchant's submitted description

may be displayed, can be read by users, and therefore can be a

potential factor in user-behavior and click-through-rates -- even for

items normally grouped in shop-now or compare-prices ad-formats.

yes, the shop-now, compare-prices, and similar ad-groupings are indeed grouped,
currently, based on global-trade-data; however, depending on the search-term or
the search-features selected within google-shopping, those ad-groupings are not
necessarily triggered, or worse, items can be removed from those ad-groupings

based on search-terms or search-features selected, and the title, description,

and other attributes indexed for search, can be factors in that regard.

having unique descriptions that are relevant to both the physical item and
to the search-terms used by users can help performance in certain cases --
conversely, using irrelevant descriptions can negatively impact performance;
if performance is meeting expectations, then there is no need to consider
changing those details.