We have 30 or so labels on a collection on our shop. Is it better to show them as separate products or as one product page with 30 variants?
I've been debating both ways in terms of benefit to Google SEO. I've read that duplicate content (which other than 5 or 6 variable stats such as box quantity, size and weight, they're identical products / pages) isn't good for SEO ranking.
The issue with variants is that I don't think if someone searches for a specific label, that we'll appear in the search results because google only see's the default variant (from what I've read)
Has anyone else had a similar predicament?
I am in the same situation as you if you read my post (https://community.shopify.com/c/Ecommerce-Marketing/How-to-Index-Product-Variants-URL-is-not-on-Goog...).
Taking a look at your site, I think it would be best to have them as separate products so each one has the chance to show up in the search results. The key advantage you have versus my scenario, you have filtering on your collection page (https://buy.rotechmachines.com/collections/self-adhesive-labels/). Customers can use this to filter out and sort through what they want versus creating a variation. And single products are better for Google Shopping Ads (if you do that).
Off topic: It might be useful to the customer if you had text on the picture of the labels saying what pack/size they are. EX: Adding text that says "50mm x 25mm [12 Pack]". Just so that the customer doesn't have to read the smaller title of each product (if they aren't using the filtering tab. Just a suggestion though.
Really appreciate your comments. I had read your post earlier today, but the responses you had I didn't think quite answered the question, which is why I created a new post.
I've created my labels as separate products for those exact reasons you've mentioned - the concern that keeps cropping up is that each label has almost identical descriptions and from my research Google doesn't like duplicate content. Supposedly, it's better if the duplicate content is all within your own domain (not a 3rd party's website), but it still struggles with deciding the canonical page if there's multiple pages with similar content i.e. it disregards other products/pages for one single product/page that it thinks is the best, and uses that in most if not all search results. So although you and I both thought that it gives it a better chance to show up in search results, that may be completely disregarded anyway (which is why I hope for an experts opinion).
Filtering in the collection page is great, but if that can all be done on one single product page then that could be even better for everyone (user experience and SEO / conversion)!
I read somewhere that Google prefers 10 pages with 3000 words, than 100 pages with 300 words - in eCommerce I took that as preferring 10 pages of variants, than 100 pages of individual products.
Something else I vaguely know is that on Google Ad's, page titles sometimes adapt depending on the users search - and I'm wondering if non-ads do the same. I think sometimes I've seen that the SEO description will change if Google thinks other content on the page is more useful for the searcher/user and so includes that instead of my pre-set description. That would be a great reason to use variants over separate products - all the ranking on one page that Google clearly understands!
I appreciate that suggestion on the images, it's a bit of work to do but I can definitely see where you're coming from!
If you want to use use variants instead but still show them as separate products on the collection and search results page, you can try Ultimate Filter & Search app. It can also help you improve the product filter on your site with multiple filter selection and dynamic filtering. When users select a filter, the others will automatically narrow down to to match specific characteristics they are looking for.