The Common Denominator Concept

Posted by on Sep 14, 2016 in Copywriting | 2 comments

The Common Denominator Concept

When writing text online, it can often be hard to juggle the needs of your consumer with the restrictions put in place by search engines. SEO, or search engine optimization, tends to be the bane of most handmade sellers looking to carve out their own little niche on the interweb. It can also be your saving grace. I think it’s important to remember that SEO does not stand for one particular intervention but rather it is a collection of techniques used to optimize your website pages or listings.

I’m going to share one of my techniques with you: Common Denominator Concept.

So let’s take a step back and focus on product descriptions. Not all platforms take product descriptions into account but Google does so you want keyword rich text that doesn’t contain too many duplicate parts.

This can be tricky.

This can be very tricky for a lot of sellers if they are selling items that are nearly identical. Consider how hard it is to write a unique story for twenty different types of knit scarves when the only difference is color. Consider how hard it is to do that now for 100 different SVG files. What if you have two hundred or three hundred items like that? It can make you a little dizzy thinking about it all. Now I have to caution that while I am biased as a writer, your copy is really as important you want it to be. I am a firm believer in focusing on the things you can control for SEO and by varying your text you have a little more control BUT if you would rather spend your time focusing on marketing or other aspects of your business then do that. Do what works for you.

So what is the Common Denominator Concept?

Basically if you have a phrase or text that you put into each and every listing, take it out and put it in a policy section instead. Most platforms, and certainly your own website, will allow you to create a policy section. This is where you can create a FAQ (frequently asked questions) selection and relocate these areas of duplicate text. It is the same concept as lowering fractions with a common denominator into smaller and, therefore, easier to understand terms. You want your text to be easy to understand, inviting, emotional, and primed for search engine optimization. It’s not an easy task but it can be done.

Examples of phrases that would be considered Common Denominators:

Shipping profiles

Refund policies

How to order instructions


Computer monitor warnings

So if you find yourself repeating the same phrases over and over again and you have similar listings in the double or triple digits, consider removing them and relocating them into a policy section. As with all concepts in copywriting this is NOT a hard and fast rule and there will always be exceptions. If this concept is appropriate for you however and you use it, not only will you avoid Google penalization but you’ll also save your customers the frustration of reading the same text too many times. People have limited attention spans so you want to consider this when writing. You are writing for both the software and the consumer so write well and you’ll reap the rewards.


  1. 10-25-2017

    Hey there deliah!

  2. 9-14-2016

    That is a good tip. I need to look at my policies and phrases some.


  1. Revisiting The Common Denominator Concept – The Write Assistant - […] You can read the full article here: COMMON DENOMINATOR ARTICLE […]

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