One of our forum users, tstamplis, posed a very good question:
My original response was this:
Actually, its perfectly fine. This snippet is from Google's page on duplicate content, located here: http://www.google.com/support/webmas...n&answer=66359
"Examples of non-malicious duplicate content could include:
* Discussion forums that can generate both regular and stripped-down pages targeted at mobile devices
* Store items shown or linked via multiple distinct URLs
* Printer-only versions of web pages"
I researched this a bit further, and was able to find an interesting post on Practical E-Commerce that brings up some very solid points, including:
Think about it this way. If a page of content has five links into it and that page of content only loads at one URL, then all five of those links will flow their link popularity to a single URL. But imagine that same page of content with five links pointing to it that loads at five different URLs. Each of those duplicate URLs for that same piece of content now get a single link’s worth of passed link popularity. They’re each only one-fifth as strong as the single URL with all five links pointing to it.
The Duplicate Content Penalty myth fosters misunderstanding about the real issue: link popularity. The ideal scenario for SEO is one URL for one page of content with one keyword target. I would advise ecommerce merchants to focus their efforts on optimization rather than penalty avoidance.
In order for your website to follow the best practices for search engine optimization and avoid potential issues to duplicate content, online retailers should careful choose the best ecommerce platform for seo.