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We sell greeting cards online and I am considering restructuring my categories.

Currently my category structure is as follows www.domain.com/category/greeting-cards. At the moment all our cards fit into one huge category with facet filtering to find specific products e.g. birthday cards.

The URL for the above becomes www.domain.com/category/greeting-cards/?Occasion=Birthday. This can produce really messy URLs if you throw other filters into the mix, for example, relationships etc.

A product page URL would be www.domain.com/product/happy-birthday-card-SKU123

First off, does using /category/<< name of category >> and /product/<< name of product >> have a negative impact? Would it be beneficial to get rid of 'category' and 'product'? I have asked my developers why we need this. They say the SEO agencies they've worked with previously say this is not a problem and has no side effects.

Secondly, I want to offer specific categories for occasions of card and use nested categories. For example www.domain.com/category/birthday-cards. Would this be better as www.domain.com/greeting-cards/birthday-cards? In my mind this would make more sense and thus is my preference. My developer is asking for a significant investment to make this change so I want to make sure I make the correct decision.

  • The terms category and product offer no semantic values and can dilute the value of the other semantic clues. That said, here is another answer you may find interesting: webmasters.stackexchange.com/questions/74633/… Otherwise, the answer from Paritosh is spot on! Cheers!! – closetnoc Oct 11 '16 at 1:19
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Quick starting point, using categories, product within url and on website is more of keeping things organized than anything else (IMHO). Moreover use case varies depending on what you are trying to achieve.

Now, onto your questions in particular,

The URL for the above becomes www.domain.com/category/greeting-cards/?Occasion=Birthday. This can produce really messy URLs if you throw other filters into the mix, for example, relationships etc.

By messy, you mean long? Because there are some really long, ugly links on the internet, and honestly, as a user you really don't care (unless you are fiddling with links).

...does using /category/<< name of category >> and /product/<< name of product >> have a negative impact?

Answer is yes and no.

Yes, because, in terms of SEO, the real part of the link i.e. containing terms related to page will be pushed back and general word i.e. category or product are show ahead (which really bring no value). For example, a search for "nike shoes montreal" throws this link amongst others,

enter image description here

Notice, the highlighted words nike, shoe, and montreal in url.

No, because, leveraging url structure for SEO is not the only thing you can do to improvise overall SEO.

Would it be beneficial to get rid of 'category' and 'product'?

Apart from what's stated above. The decision will be more of cost vs benefit. If you are spending xxxx dollars to get this working, then you'd be better off with existing structure. If said changes are coming in cheap, then give it a shot, nothing to lose (provided things are done correctly).

I have asked my developers why we need this. They say the SEO agencies they've worked with previously say this is not a problem and has no side effects.

That's not an answer. You don't do something just because others are doing it. Sloppy answer.

Would this be better as www.domain.com/greeting-cards/birthday-cards?

If "greeting-cards" has other sub-categories then it is better approach.

My developer is asking for a significant investment to make this change...

If you are using Wordpress then this should not involve significant investment. Just saying ;)

Anyhow, good luck :)

  • Excellent answer! Cheers!! – closetnoc Oct 11 '16 at 1:16
  • @Paritosh "Yes, because, in terms of SEO, the real part of the link i.e. containing terms related to page will be pushed back and general word i.e. category or product are show ahead (which really bring no value)." I think I understand you. Removing the word with no value (category or product) would do no harm. Replacing this with my keyword could make a difference? – Joe Ainsworth Oct 12 '16 at 21:11
  • Yes, that's correct. Moreover, if possible, make changes to a handful of page(s) and see how it affects ranking for those url(s). Test the idea before committing yourself to it. This being said, I don't see any reason doing so would have a negative impact (except for the fact that Google might take some time to update results). – Paritosh Oct 12 '16 at 21:27

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