Best Practices For Using Merchant Descriptions

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fmtc best practices for using merchant descriptions

One of the questions we get at FMTC is about Merchant descriptions and why we don’t include them. From our FAQ:

In order to protect our clients from SEO problems due to duplicate content, merchant descriptions are not included in our feed. However, we do provide our clients with an admin area to write up their own merchant descriptions, which are included in their FMTC feed along with the other data we provide.

If you want to write your own descriptions and have them included in your feed, go to your Feed Settings page and turn on the “Enable Custom Merchant Logo/Description” option.

fmtc-merchant-descriptions

If you’re not concerned with duplicate content, or are looking for a starting point, you can use the Merchant’s website itself to get their own description. Let’s look at Impact Radius merchant, Pet360.

In PHP, we can use the get_meta_tags() function to get the meta tags from a page:
[php highlight=”1,8″]print_r(get_meta_tags(‘http://www.pet360.com/’));
Array
(
[accept-language] => en-US
[viewport] => width=device-width, initial-scale=1, maximum-scale=1
[msapplication-config] => none
[apple-mobile-web-app-title] => Pet360.com
[description] => Pet360 makes pet parenting easier by providing expert advice, an active community of pet parents and the convenience of home shopping all in one place.
[title] => Pet360.com is the Ultimate Destination for Pet Parents – Pet360 Pet Parenting Simplified
[twitter:card] => summary
[twitter:site] => @Pet360
[twitter:title] => Pet360.com is the Ultimate Destination for Pet Parents
[twitter:description] => Pet360 makes pet parenting easier by providing expert advice, an active community of pet parents and the convenience of home shopping all in one place.
[twitter:image] => http://www.pet360.com/Content/images/icons/openGraphLogo.jpg
[google-site-verification] => ZNoQmIIu_fjSwaRT-Sy33ZoQc8QAzyLX2GP3J7-mY10
[msvalidate_01] => 28926FA69CEAD3794CBE6D0E4A13F462
[p:domain_verify] => cc615b3e493a126d8660d9fbac1ed64b
)[/php]

Look for “description”, “og:description” or “twitter:description” to get the merchant’s description. In this case,

Pet360 makes pet parenting easier by providing expert advice, an active community of pet parents and the convenience of home shopping all in one place.

At this point you can:

  1. Use this as is, but understand it’s duplicate content, which Google’s Panda doesn’t like (lowest cost, fastest turn around)
  2. Spin the content, but understand that spun content doesn’t always make sense (low cost, fast turn around, low quality)

    Pet360 makes pet child rearing less demanding by giving master counsel, a dynamic group of pet folks and the comfort of home shopping all in one spot.*

    * actual spun content

  3. Hire a writer to rewrite the content (highest cost, slowest turn around, best results)
  4. Push the content to Amazon’s Mechanical Turk and let an army of people rewrite them (low cost, fast turn around, hit or miss results)

Whatever you choose, if you download meta descriptions and use them for merchant descriptions on your website, it’s best to store them in their own table and reference FMTC’s Master Merchant ID in the Merchant feed. This way, when you get an update from our feed, your description isn’t overwritten.

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