Drop Shipping & The Curse of Duplicate Content


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.

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