The Original Content Manifesto, Part IV

The Original Content Manifesto, Part IV

As we saw last time, the Category Descriptions are an effective way to preface your categories with original content. However, there are three additional locations you can use to display text on a category page. These can be set for the first page only (like the Descriptions), or on every page of the category (or subcategory). Let’s look at where these are located, and then how to find inspiration for churning out unique content.

The three locations are Category 1, Category 2 and Category 3, as illustrated below:

Category 1 Location
Category 2 Location
Category 3 Location
You can see that the first option is very similar to the Category Descriptions setting, except that it can be used on all pages of a category. Using both together may provide a great many options for including things like reviews, suggestions, descriptions, etc. that may not be possible with just one or the other. Certainly utilizing all the category options provides an even wider range of possibilities. By using the filtering options for custom boxes, you can ensure that each category can have its own texts.

If you’ve been reading all the parts of this series so far, you might be asking yourself by now, “How exactly do I come up with all this stuff that’s being suggested? Reviews? Recommendations? What? Where do I get this from?” Good questions. Luckily, you have an excellent wealth of data on many of the products you’re featuring in your store. This comes from the Editorial and Customer Reviews. It’s easy enough to recast the words into your own and discuss various features of groups of products.

Of course, this will mean that you will have to spend some time reading a lot of reviews to see what features they list in common. You may have to make notes of the good and bad aspects. Then you’ll have to write out the results of what you’ve found out, possibly adding your own insights if it’s a niche you have an interest in or insight into. What you don’t want to do, and must avoid at all costs, is to plagiarize, or simply cut and paste other people’s comments into your content; it’s supposed to be original, after all. Taking the lazy way out is unethical and dishonest. Plus, search engine spiders are simple-minded, but they’re diligent and not stupid. They will eventually discover you’re copying text, and you’ll lose all the benefit of having ‘original’ text, probably causing your site to plummet out of the rankings. So don’t do it.

As a brief example of how to do this, here are some notes & review points regarding particular items (keeping with the theme of our supposed site, these are practice baseballs):

  1. ROLB1X Practice Baseballs in Bucket (3 Dozen) (B00005UN1X)
    • Minor cosmetic imperfections
    • Does not have official stamp
    • Average price: $2/ball
    • Great value for money
    • Play just like pro balls, not plastic
  2. Wilson Bucket of Blem Baseballs (3 Dozen)  (B000HVUOOE)
    • Grade A full leather
    • Shipped in shiny bucket
    • Average price: $3/ball
    • Balls individually wrapped
    • A few balls damaged (cut/deformed/wrinkled leather)

You can then take this information and re-write it to make it more informative and/or conversational to your readers:

The advantage of using ‘real’ baseballs for practice as opposed to plastic balls is obvious. The weight and feel gives you a response like you would expect to find in actual play. Many manufacturers (such as Rawlings or Wilson) sell buckets of balls with minor cosmetic blemishes or imperfections (cuts or wrinkled leather) for a greatly reduced price (between two or three dollars per ball on average for a bucket of thirty-six, as opposed to possibly fifteen dollars for a single Major League quality ball).

If you had a category for ‘Practice Balls’ (or perhaps a subcategory under ‘Baseballs’), this would slot in nicely to any of the three category locations. Note that as before, keywords and brand names are highlighted.

It should be obvious that by utilizing the information in the product descriptions, along with opinions from the customer reviews, you can extract a wealth of detail about your product lines that you can paraphrase, or rewrite in your own words, to add more content. But while the focus of your original content should always be relevant to what your store is about, it doesn’t have to be just a regurgitation of what’s already available on your site. You can also pull information from across the Internet to re-interpret for your own needs.

This can include brand history:

Rawlings – In business since 1887, took over from Spaulding as MLB supplier in 1977, used same leather supplier since 1929.

Even trivia:

Owner of the Chicago Cubs, Bill Veeck, used to have midgets as food vendors at the clubs home ground, because he said that it meant that the paying public didn’t have to have their view of the game spoiled!

These can be reworked like this:

Did You Know? The Rawlings company has been in business since 1887 (and has used the same leather supplier since 1929), but has only been the official supplier of equipment to the MLB since 1977 (taking over from Spaulding)!


Fun Facts: When Bill Veeck was the owner of the Chicago Cubs, he didn’t want food vendors to obstruct the public’s view of the game. So he hired midgets to work in the stands!

Notice how in all the examples shown, I’ve used the content, but not by just cutting and pasting; I’ve reinterpreted it to make it original. So if you feel you might struggle to come up with your own content, you can always find data already on your site, as well as info online that you can re-work, re-phrase, or re-jiggle to suit your needs.

We’ll continue next time by seeing how we can use everything we’ve learned so far on individual Item pages.

Part V

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One thought on “The Original Content Manifesto, Part IV

  1. Adding more original content to my AOM store has been on my to-do list for a while. This series of articles is really helpful. Thanks very much!

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