Rel=canonical to colletion pages

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New Member
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Hi! I'm building a website where I'll sell vintage items, meaning I'll have some products that are unique but still the same model. This means I'll have individual product pages for the same model, since each item is unique. I've many items and  want to standardize the description for the products where I've several of the same model. In order to not be penalised by Google for duplicate content, I want to use rel=canonical and point these product pages to collection pages of these similar products, which I hope will rank. I'm a bit confused from reading blogs on the matter since they mostly are concerned with product variations. Is it even possible to do what I want to do and do you've suggestions for how to pull it off? Thank you in advance!

 

Posts I've read: https://help.shopify.com/en/themes/development/getting-started/search-engine-optimization#add-seo-me... 

https://www.shopify.com/partners/blog/canonical-urls

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Shopify Expert
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The canonical tag is for telling search engines which one of multiple identical pages is the relevant one. Since a collection page will not be identical to a product page, I wouldn't recommend making the collection page the canonical version of a product page. That could lead to the product pages not getting ranked at all.

 

Can't you set up the individual items of the same model as variants? That way you could assign each variant its own image but only have a single page for each model, so duplicate content wouldn't be an issue. You could try https://apps.shopify.com/variantimagegrouper for adding multiple images to each variant. And if you need to assign variant-specific text to certain variants, you could use metafields and some custom JS coding to show it on the product page when switching variants.

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New Member
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Thanks for your reply! Ok, so regarding the idea about adding them as
variants, how would it work with getting specific products into
collections, such as "New In" and so on?
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Shopify Expert
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If you mean getting specific variants into collections, that's not possible, at least not out of the box. You can only add products to collection, not variants.

You could probably modify the theme to show only specific variants of a collection, but that would be a custom job.

I think your best approach might be a model like Ebay. Every item has its own product page, but to get around duplicate content issues, you'd have to have a unique product description and title for each product. Which might be the best solution for vintage items anyway, as I assume they'll all be at least slightly different from each other.

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New Member
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Ok, thank you for being helpful! I'm rather new to the technocal aspects of SEO and might be off. My idea has been to NoIndex / Rel_Canonicalize the products that we get in often and therefore have several of and instead focusing on ranking with an overarching collection page with those products. The reasoning is to save time in not writing individual product descriptions each time and that the products will sell out rather quickly and thereby it won't make as much sense to rank with them. 

 

Wouldn't this be the safest solution in order to avoid duplicate content, and also give a good experience to customers who search for a specific product? Can you please explain to me the risks with this strategy, so I can make an informed decision? :) 

 

 

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Shopify Expert
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That makes sense. Maybe if you create kind of a landing page for each of the products (each model, not each individual item) with an "evergreen" description, background info, etc. and then link out to the individual items you have in stock. This could be a collection page, but just having a description at the top and all the items below might be a bit too plain, and that's all you get out of the box, since collections only have a single descripton field.

 

But you could upgrade the collection page template a bit so you can split up the description into multiple blocks, interspersed with "featured products" and other content, internal links to content pages or blog posts, etc. Or use a page builder app that lets you style collection page templates. A page like that with lots of info and relevant internal links should be able to rank quite well.

 

Regarding the product pages: If you don't want specific products to be indexed at all, I would create an alternate product template, e. g. product.hidden.liquid and then add this to the main layout template theme.liquid in the <head> section:

 

{% if template contains 'hidden' %}
<meta name="robots" content="noindex">
{% endif %}

Alternatively, you can use a metafields app to add this metafield to the respective products:

 

namespace: seo
key: hidden
value: 1
type: integer

 

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