Drop Shipping & The Curse of Duplicate Content

SEO Unique Content Marketing

Drop shipping isn’t new.  It’s been around for decades. It’s a great business model if you can find the right demographic for your product.  But it’s not a “turnkey” business by any means.  It has the potential to be that…the promise of increasing income without the headaches and overhead of the shipping, returns, customer service, warehouse stock etc.  However, like anything, you gotta put in the work for it to be competitive and successful.

Business by it’s very nature is a competitive activity.  It is an extension of you.  Being human is itself a competition on so many levels.  So why would one think it would be any different with Drop Shipping?  Because of the stories, the rumors, the numbers that have told you it’s “easy money.”  It is easy.  It’s easier than being a roofer in Phoenix in the summer.  It’s easier than being a professional MMA fighter.  But it’s not, win the lottery, sit back and let the money pour in to your account easy.

So, most people know this already.  But they don’t always know what work to put in to make it a competitive and successful online business.  I have had several drop ship clients over the years.  I will use 3 examples.  All 3 are nationwide drop ship business models.  They all have websites that sell their items and other companies ship them.  Of the 3 companies, only 1 has been successful at getting first page rankings when it comes to their products.

The first was an ATM business.  You’ve seen these ATMs at in-the-middle-of-nowhere gas stations, motel lobbies and small grocery stores.  The owner was a dealer with a website.  It was a fairly robust website.  He had good internal linking with dedicated pages for every state and even several cities in each state.  He didn’t understand why he wasn’t ranking.  Honestly, I didn’t either at first.

He had a sitemap and good content.  But as soon as I copied and pasted a small section of his content into Google, I realized why he wasn’t ranking….there were a FEW DOZEN other websites ranking higher than him with the SAME EXACT CONTENT!  Once I realized this, I told him directly that he needs to change his content.  As long as he is showing the same information that over 30 other companies have been showing for even longer, he will never get good rankings.

I didn’t hear back from him for about 6 months, and then he contacted me again with the same question — he didn’t realize he had already asked for my help.  I told him the same thing and he didn’t respond.  He had already paid a web designer handsomely to build his website and made all of these pages with the content he had been provided by the drop ship company and didn’t want to think about how much work it would take to change hundreds of pages of content to be unique to his site.  I can’t blame him.  It’s an overwhelming task and one that is better to AVOID than to FIX.

The second is a similar case.  A physical therapy equipment company.  However, even though this person had duplicate content to dozens of other sites, he was not going to rely on Google to grow his business.  It was a unique niche and he had connections — being a long-time physical therapist.  For this reason, I told him not to worry about the content right away, that if he really wanted to rank for this equipment on Google, it was going to be a lot more difficult.  Instead, just make sure that the system was in good working condition.  Make sure your purchase emails are being sent to the drop-shipper, make sure the shipping cost is in sync with the shipper…all the things a good eCommerce site should have in place.

The third is a drop ship flooring company.  They had multiple sources, hundreds of manufacturers and hundreds of competitors all selling the same items.  The difference?  He paid close attention to the content that was written for each flooring collection.  He didn’t just take the manufacturer’s content and repost it.  He didn’t over saturate his pages with keywords and phrases. He concentrated on the basics.  The page title, the H1 tags, the first 250 words of content and of course, having a good meta description to entice the shopper to click on the search result.  There were a couple other key practices that kept his site in the top 1 to 10 results consistently, but the majority of it was just keeping it simple and unique.

So, if you are hoping to make some easy money starting up a drop shipping website, and hope to rank well in Google results, it’s not impossible, but put in the work with the product descriptions.  You’re a unique entrepreneurial spirit, let your content show that…even if you have to hire someone else to write it.

Learning to Share, Again

Share Your Knowledge

I know a LOT about a LOT of things.  But I have rarely felt I know enough to turn me into an expert on any one thing.  I honestly cringe at the word “expert.”  I am always learning something new.  I can always find someone who knows more about a certain subject and this fact, or perspective, has often blocked me from sharing what I DO know with those who could use that knowledge.

It’s a daily process I go through.  Self-assuring myself that I have nothing to lose by reaching out and trying to help others with their needs.  Giving myself some credit for what I have accomplished and learned goes against my core being.  Mainly because I’m afraid there’s going to be someone there, waiting to tell me they already know what I’m saying or even worse, what I know is wrong.

Yet, over and over again, I help people who contact me for assistance.  This alone should be proof that I have some merit and this alone is what propels me to continue on, daily, to learn something new and apply my knowledge and theories to various situations — be it for my own challenges or one of my clients.

So, today, I’m sharing with you, that no matter what it is you do, there is someone out there that would benefit from learning something you know about that subject.  Lucky for me I have friends who are amazing at this.  They fully grasp that while they do not know “it all” they still know enough to share it with others.  And yes, THERE WILL BE the know-it-alls out there who are ready to poop on your precious little post or e-book or seminar or resume or whatever it may be.  That’s okay, wipe it off and move on and let the people who need that knowledge have it.

Okay, I admit it, I wrote this post for me…but maybe, I wrote it for you too.

Improve your SEO now. Don’t wait too long.

SEO Improvement

“Why put off until tomorrow what you can do today?”

Well…because sometimes you just don’t know what you need to do. Sometimes the problem AND the answer are right in front of you, but you don’t know what you’re looking at. That’s why “fresh eyes” are so important.

Whether it’s improving an athlete’s performance, fixing a car, completing art projects, writing or so many other parts of life, getting an outside perspective is IMPERATIVE. And until you get that input, you’re wasting your time.

I have been on both sides of this throughout my life. From improving my shot as a basketball player in Jr. High, to helping businesses improve their CTR or ROI on their landing pages. The hardest thing is when it’s taken a company too long to get help and then they call me when they have already got their back against the financial wall.

It’s a dark, cloudy scene to walk into. The phone stopped ringing months earlier, people aren’t walking through the door, sales aren’t coming in and they have no advertising budget left because instead of having a good, steady, marketing maintenance program in place, they just kept doing what they did before, hoping the “weather” would change. But when it comes to marketing, you make your own weather.

So many times we assume other people don’t want to be bothered, or won’t have any better insight into your problem because it’s YOURS. Stop owning problems and start killing them. Imagine waking up tomorrow with that problem behind you. Start today and make tomorrow that much better.

Digging a Better Ditch


“If you’re going to be a ditch digger, be the best one you can be.” Not sure where I heard this the first time…I know I was young.

I used to think this meant you should shovel better than any one else. That you should work hard and get dirty. In my mind, it was a blue-collar-pride type of thing to say.

But, over the years, I’ve come to understand that it doesn’t necessarily mean you need to shovel at all.

You should be willing to, if that’s what it will take. Ultimately though, you need to make that ditch the best ditch you can for the purpose that ditch is to serve.

That might mean renting a ditch witch if you’re up against a deadline. It might mean getting someone to help you with the obstacles that are in the way of where that ditch needs to go. It might even mean digging that ditch in a different spot.

Too often I have found myself doing the same routine things because that’s just the way I was taught to do them. When I stopped to think about what I was doing, sometimes I realized I could save myself a lot of time by doing it in a different manner.

I’m reminded of a time in college when I taught a friend how to copy and paste. He said, “that’s so lazy!” I laughed. It was funny, but now, years later, he has probably saved himself days of work by using the copy and paste feature on his computers.

Dig the ditch, but do it the best way you can.

Ultimately, work smart.