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I'll keep it short and sweet.

My website features a gallery set up as posts that showcase products on vehicles.

Example 1: website.com/product-1-ford-f150/

Example 2: website.com/product-2-ford-f150/

Example 3: website.com/product-3-ford-f150/

I want to migrate these to a "megathread" style page that showcases product 1, 2 and 3 on the same vehicle or same style vehicle. In other words, the same or different products can be showcased on the same vehicle.

Is it smarter to keep product 1, 2 and 3 live and set up canonicalization?

Or completely 301 them and delete the posts?

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Keeping the three products live and setting their canonical URLs to the "megathread" style page, in this situation, seems unnecessarily convoluted to me.

I assume that you're doing this because the new way offers a better user experience. If you were to go the canonical route, until Google figures things out your users are going to have a lower quality experience when a better one is available.

And Google probably isn't going to be fast...

First, you'll have to wait for Googlebot to re-crawl the pages and pick up on the canonicals. Crawling is then going to ping indexing to make a decision, which once decided, will then ping ranking to decide where the new page should end up.

In this situation you're also heavily relying on systems that are not infallible to understand your intention.

The 301 route is the simplest, quickest, and safest option. It communicates your intention to search engines, and ensures that all users have the best experience.

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  • Brilliant response! I figured a 301 would be the best bet. Thanks for this, Mike. I should also mention that the pages being 301'd aren't actual product pages, more so a gallery with copy writing showcasing a certain product on a vehicle. Either way, the idea is in fact to provide a better user experience and consolidate the galleries into one page.
    – Sev
    Feb 14, 2023 at 21:16

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