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I read that it is best practices that if you have a product that comes in 3 colours to have one URL for the product, and then to have a dropdown with all the colours that it comes in?

For example if I had a shirt that comes in 3 colours, grey, green and blue then you will have to have 1 URL like:

www.example.com/product/1001/brand-shirt instead of:

www.example.com/product/1001/brand-shirt-grey
www.example.com/product/1001/brand-shirt-green
www.example.com/product/1001/brand-shirt-blue

So now my question is, if you are using the one URL for the product, how do you promote the green shirt? How do you direct a customer to the green shirt? How do you share just the green on Facebook, Twitter, etc?

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Often you'll see a query string appended to the URL. So /product/1001/brand-shirt may be the canonical URL, but /product/1001/brand-shirt?colour=green may be used to link directly to that version. Then you can use the URL Parameters feature in Search Console as explained here.

Alternatively some JavaScript-y bits may be used, like /product/1001/brand-shirt#blue .

<link rel="canonical" href="https://www.example.com/product/1001/brand-shirt"> should be in between the <head></head> tags of your page either way.

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I would go also for one main URL. Why? Because in general, people don't search for a "green tee-shirt" on Google, they search a "tee-shirt" or a "Calvin Klein tee-shirt", whatever the colour; they only choose the colour when they see the tee-shirt on the website. I think that is the main reason why one main URL with a drop down list for the colour is the best option. Moreover, imagine that tomorrow, you want to share a "Calvin Klein tee-shirt" (whatever the colour), you can only do it easily if you have one main URL with all colour accessible with a drop down list (you're not going to share one URL by colour).

Then, you can manage the colour of the tee-shirt with URL parameters (?colour=green) or an id (#green). You just need to put the "rel=canonical" tag (http://www.example.com/product/1001/brand-shirt) on all versions of the main URL to avoid duplicate content issues.

Therefore, by managing URL parameters or an id for the colour, you can easily share the "green tee-shirt" (if you really want to).

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The best way is imho:

  • to have only one URL,
  • to show all product variants as images + additional descriptions,
  • to let the buyer select, which variant he buys, only at the checkout routine, i.e. as a checkbox value.

more URLs == more troubles, independently of how the URLs are built, with parameter or not.

The way through anchor, like example.com/product#variant is good too, because the anchor value isn't transferred with URL.

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