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I have an online store with categories that have a tree structure (meaning they can be nested inside other categories) and products inside these categories.

What is the best way to structure the URLs of the product pages?

Some ideas I have thought are:

example.com/<root-category-name>/<child-category-name>/<product-name>
example.com/<root-category-name>/<product-name>
example.com/<child-category-name>/<product-name>
example.com/p/<product-name>

Now a little info about each of these names.

  • The names of the root categories are the most important keywords. These I want to target. Eg. "bath-furniture". I suppose I want to have much URLs with this segment since it contains the most important keyword.
  • The names of the nested categories could be important but not in all the cases. In some cases they are some random-given names like "Aphrodite Series" which is not something a user would search for.
  • The names of products could repeat the root categories keywords (which would be redundant) or could be random names (which is more correct imho). eg. "bath-furniture-nova-350XL" vs "nova-350XL".

I want the most correct and good for SEO design.

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2 Answers 2

The short answer? The most verbose example you have, the first example.

You cannot possibly determine when and how someone will search the web. We do all this keyword research and focus on so called important keywords, but the reality is, the person doing the search really is the one who decides what keywords are important and we can never really crawl into their heads to know what they are thinking.

Up to a quarter of all searches each day (15%-25%) have never been searched before. This tells us that any keyword research we may do will miss any new keywords immediately. Keyword research is a form of looking backward which is okay. The best prediction of future behavior is past behavior. But search does not really work that way. Use historical data, of course, but take advantage of all you have too.

Including as many keyword opportunities in your URL will ensure that you are not only ready for any new searches which cannot be predicted, but are also as optimized as you could be for long-tail keywords as you could be.

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Sounds good, but what about keeping the structure simple? If I'm sure that some category names are irrelevant for the visitor (eg. "Aphrodite series" category name, for a "Bath furniture" which is the root category). Wouldn't omitting this name be better? The url would be smaller. Plus what happens if I have 4 levels of nested categories? –  Agis Jun 22 at 20:51
1  
Well... there are limits! ;-) But what if I want Aphrodite series Bath furniture? After-all Isn't she the Goddess of Love? Is that something a searcher could conceivably type in? You will have to decide. I can tell you one thing I discovered for myself. You will never know what searches you missed out on. That is a vacuum that cannot be filled. I guess there are times where you have to use your best judgement. If the URL gets too complex, then simplify it. If you can afford it, use as many clues in your URL as you can. You can leave some out. It is a balancing act of course. –  closetnoc Jun 22 at 21:19
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Given these options your I believe the best choice would be to use the second format:

example.com/<root-category-name>/<product-name>

Now let's go into why this may be the best option...

You said that the most important keywords are the root categories. This being the case those keywords should be closest to the root as they are the most important.

You said that the child category name could be important but not always and that sometimes they are random names that no one would ever search for. For this reason I would recommend you not include them in the URL as they would just be junk words taking up space and providing no value, as well as pushing your more important keywords (the product names) further down the chain.

Obviously you should have the product name in the URL but I would advice that these should should be an SEO friendly version of the product name. For instance don't use "Constructor-4-in-2-Handle-Low-Arc-Bathroom-Faucet-in-Chrome" just because the name of the product is "Constructor 4 in. 2-Handle Low-Arc Bathroom Faucet in Chrome". The name and how people would search for it doesn't really just "convert." A lot of people do this because it's easier to scrub a product title for including in a URL then create a friendly URL version for that product. Do it if you must but I recommend you take the effort to include more SEO friendly versions of the product name. It'll be worth it in the long run.

I would also recommend you include a breadcrumb on the page somewhere and in that you can include the child category name assuming you can navigate to a product listing page with those products. This will help you get a site hierarchy (breadcrumb) in the SERP. http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2009/11/new-site-hierarchies-display-in-search.html Watch out for duplicate content issues with this though. This is a common issue for ecommerce sites that is often overlooked. That is addressed a little in the link below.

This one is a little old but Everett Sizemore covered this in a post on the Moz blog back in 2012 but might be worth reading if you haven't seen it. Here's the link: http://moz.com/blog/qa-from-ecommerce-seo-fix-and-avoid-common-issues-webinar

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