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I have recently put my site live - http://www.soundplaza.co.uk

I then bumped into a few articles mentioning about page length and depth and I was wondering if I should change the URL structure while the site is new.

Change From:

http://www.soundplaza.co.uk/speakers/tannoy-revolution-signature-dc4t/10

Change To:

http://www.soundplaza.co.uk/speakers/tannoy-revolution-signature-dc4t-10

As you can probably see I am using the ID at the end to bring the page content through.

Do you think its worth removing the extra level, or do you think it will confuse the product name?

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4 Answers 4

up vote 3 down vote accepted

It looks like your current URL paths are of the form /category/redundant-descriptive-title/id, where only the category and id parts are actually needed to identify the content. (For example, I can link to http://www.soundplaza.co.uk/speakers/blah-blah-who-reads-this-anyway/10 and see the exact same content as on the page you linked in your question.)

I would suggest changing that structure to /category/id/redundant-descriptive-title, so that the descriptive part of the URL is the last one. (If that looks familiar to you, it's the exact same URL structure as used by the StackExchange software.)

That order has a natural hierarchical structure: the first part identifies the category, the second identifies the product in the category, and the third... doesn't actually identify anything in this case, since it's redundant to the first two, but conceptually it could narrow down the identification even further.

I would also strongly suggest setting up either 301 redirects or rel=canonical links from URLs with incorrect (and/or outdated) descriptive parts to the correct canonical URLs for each product. If you don't do that, any links with outdated or mistyped or just plain bogus titles, like the one I demonstrated above, may be seen by search engines as duplicate content.

(Ps. Swapping the order of the URL path elements around like that might make dealing with legacy links a bit tricky, but I'd really consider that an excellent reason to do it ASAP rather than later. As long as none of your existing URLs have all-numeric middle parts, something like the following rewrite rule ought to redirect them to the new format:

RewriteRule ^/?([^/]+)/([0-9]*[^/0-9][^/]*)/([0-9]+)$ /$1/$3/$2 [NS,L,R=301]

Of course, you may want to adjust that regexp — especially the category part — to match your existing URLs structure more strictly.)


Edit: Per comments below, I might set up the rewrite rules something like this:

RewriteEngine On
RewriteBase /

# 301 redirect from speakers/title/id to speakers/id/title
RewriteRule ^speakers/([0-9]*[^/0-9][^/]*)/([0-9]+)$ /speakers/$2/$1 [NS,L,R=301]

# Internally rewrite speakers/id/title to details.php
RewriteRule ^speakers/([0-9]+)/(.*)$ details.php?dealID=$1&name=$2 [NS]

I left out the [L] from the second rule, since it probably doesn't do what you expect when used with internal rewrites in an .htaccess file. If you really want to skip all later rewrite rules, use [END] instead.

As noted above, I would also recommend making details.php either:

  • include a rel=canonical link pointing to the correct http://www.soundplaza.co.uk/speakers/id/title URL for the item in the HTML <head> section, and/or

  • compare the title passed in via the name parameter to the title the product is supposed to have, and, if they don't match, return a 301 redirect to the correct canonical URL.

In fact, I'd suggest doing both: there are various corner cases that each of these techniques will handle that the other might not.

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Ps. See also webmasters.stackexchange.com/questions/9739/… –  Ilmari Karonen Mar 12 '12 at 19:29
    
Thanks @Karonen, i think you have valid opinion there... i was tempted to go down that route but for some reason i opted for the id at the end. Given the technical names of my products, and the fact its more clean, i think i might put the ID after the category. Can you recomend how to create a sufficient 301 redirect with if my original rewrite looks like this RewriteRule ^speakers/(.*)/(.*)$ details.php?name=$1&dealID=$2 [L] –  Theo G Mar 13 '12 at 15:29
    
thanks a lot @karonen bit of a legend! Will give this a whirl when I get back –  Theo G Mar 13 '12 at 16:07
    
@karonen - just made changes and running on the new system... cheers mate! –  Theo G Mar 13 '12 at 19:50

I would change it so that the final part of the path is tannoy-revolution-signature-dc4t-10

This way if Google is breaking down the parts of the path in your URL the final part has the most relevant keywords and isn't just the number

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Great thanks for that @Anagio thought this maybe the case... I am just worried that the name of the speaker type 'dc4t' is going to merge with the page ID... do you know how Google treats spacing like this. Is it best to group product numbers together in the url. So from 'dc 4 t' to 'dc4t'? –  Theo G Mar 12 '12 at 17:11
    
If the speak model is DC4T i would keep that. Just like in this URL crutchfield.com/p_206KS693/Kicker-KS693.html the KS693 is the speaker model –  Anagio Mar 12 '12 at 17:14
    
Great thanks Anagio –  Theo G Mar 13 '12 at 15:21

Page depth has less to do with site hierarchy, and more to do with how many clicks it takes the user to get to their desired destination. If it takes 1 click to go from yoursite.com to yoursite.com/this/that/everything/else/ then technically that's only 1 page deep.

I wouldn't tinker with the small stuff like this, as it will likely return little if any noticeable results (I'm leaning towards no results at all). Focusing your efforts elsewhere will have a much much higher ROI.

If you're up for suggestions, maybe try developing your brand identity a bit. The favicon looks pretty cool. Potentially a new logo incorporating it? If you want to improve your SEO/exposure, add a blog, reviews, or some function/feature that lets you add content relating to your products. Content is what differentiates you from everyone else in the eyes of the search engines, so spend your time where it counts!

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Thanks for that @SEO... I have designed/ built the site in under a month (i have a full time job too) so i have just tried to get it live asap to get the SEO going. This was an interesting point as im not sure weather to develop more time into the actual products (more info, better descritption, more photos) or weather to looking into creating a separate news section which will allow me to be a bit more flexal... what do you think? –  Theo G Mar 13 '12 at 15:24
    
Very impressive! Definitely keep up the good work. Just checked your site to follow up with your questions, but getting a 500 internal server error. Let me know when you get this fixed, and I'll try to help out further. –  SEO Mar 13 '12 at 19:42
    
Thanks for the appriciation @SEO, I have been working relatively on my own so nice to hear some nice feedback... yes I was experiencing some issues yesterday but I have fixed them now... I'm going to work on content a bit more now so to get a bit more of a foot print then maybe move onto a comparison part of the webiste :) –  Theo G Mar 15 '12 at 9:48

I would remove the final /10 altogether if the model # is dc4t (what's the 10 for anyway? if it's like a parameter you use, I'd rather use a ?whatever=10)

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1  
hi @Rodolfo, yes the number at the end is the id for the product, all you really need is that, however i like to keep the full url because it looks pretty :P I am probably going down the route of putting the id first though e.g. site/category/12/name-of-speaker –  Theo G Mar 13 '12 at 15:25

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