This SEO professional was curious regarding unique content for a site that sells super technical products – metal profiles.
Because there are many different types of metal profiles, there are a lot of different pages of content, most of which is thin content.
It’s thin due to the nature of the product– there is only a small amount of content that can really be informative about metal profiles.
The SEO professional is unsure how to handle this scenario since they aren’t an expert in this vein, and everyone he’s consulted explains different ways they handled it, leading to more confusion.
Therefore, they decided to come straight to the source and find out what Google thought about it.
John explained that the best way to handle this canonical situation is to make sure that, for every unique content page you want Google to find, make sure you have a unique URL, along with the unique canonical declared for that URL.
There are other ways to handle other pages, especially if you don’t care for them. For example, you can canonical the other unimportant pages to the important page, or they can be no-indexed.
You can really do whatever you want to these pages, so that Google focuses all their signals on the main page that they do care about.
This happens at approximately the 13:34 mark in the video.
John Mueller Hangout Transcript
SEO Professional 5 13:34
So I’m working on actually…I’m a content creator that creates blog posts for an ecommerce site. And we’re selling like super technical products, like really, it’s, it’s, it’s metal profiles. And we have many different types of those profiles. And we have a lot of thin content, because we have the same variations.
Basically, if we have one U shaped profile, for example, we have a U shaped profile in green, in red, and in blue, let’s say. And then when we click green, red, and blue, which are all three URLs, different URLs, we have within this URL, like 1000s of variations and combinations and lengths and thicknesses and all that and I’m just I’m not, I was never I don’t know how to handle this.
Because I don’t know, like, should I canonicalize those, but then again, we’re linking to them. So I don’t want to create bad inlinks or whatever or bad quality links inside of a page. Or if I should, I don’t know noindex or block from robots. I really, really don’t know. I don’t have experience there. Everything on the internet seems to be very like – nobody seems to agree.
And some people handled it the one way and other people another way. So I’m not quite sure what the best thing to do is. And yeah, we don’t need people to come to those variation pages, we don’t want that. We just want to create good quality on the category pages.
Okay, I think you’re kind of answering the question in that case. Because what we usually recommend is if you have unique items that you want to have findable in a unique way, then you make sure that you have unique URLs for them.
And you make sure that they’re canonical, they’re that they’re not blocked by no-index. But if you don’t care about those individual URLs, if you care more about the higher level categories, or if you have something like a broader product or category, that essentially is the most important way of finding the content, then you can canonical to that page, you can no index the other versions, if you want.
You can essentially do whatever you want there to kind of make it so that we focus all of our signals on that main page that you do care about
SEO Professional 5 16:09
That, That’s the question because then I’m again asking myself, like, then I would be pointing to many no-index URLs within my page.
That’s fine. That’s fine. Like if you link to those variations, yeah. And you don’t want those variations findable, that’s, that’s perfectly fine. And this is something where I suspect some of the confusion online is, is just based on people having differing opinions on what they consider to be important.
So if you’re selling shoes, then probably a specific shoe model is the product that you care about. If you’re selling shoes for maybe extremely large feet, then you want the shoe size to be also indexable. So it’s something where people have different, I don’t know priorities, and you can kind of pick and choose what you want to care about.
Like, I don’t know, if you’re selling a phone, you might have the different phone colors, all on one phone product page. If you have one of those colors is gold, and it’s like super fancy, then maybe you want to have a separate gold page, and just all the other colors together on one page. And like everyone does a little bit differently.
And I imagine with industrial products, like you mentioned, where you have, like so many different dimensions and variations, it probably makes sense to focus on kind of the general layout and say all of these different options are essentially an attribute of the main product. And we should just focus on the main product.
SEO Professional 5 17:45
Okay, but if I would want to canonicalize, then I would have to basically have the same copy on the site to which I canonicalize, like I would have to have the same, basically the same content on the variation page, then…
You don’t need to, you don’t need to have the same content. The thing to keep in mind with setting a canonical is that we will try to index the canonical page that you mentioned. So if there’s anything unique on the non canonical pages, then we wouldn’t be able to find that. So essentially anything that’s critical, make sure it’s also mentioned on the canonical page.