I have spent some time on SEO, recently, focusing on site architecture and domain URL structure. Logically, they go hand in hand. Through the many contradictions, the two consistent theories are:
Domain URLs should be semantically structured. For example:
The weight distribution of Keyword importance, is distributed from left to, within a URL structure. First directory carrying the greatest weighting, the second, a little less and so on.
With the above in mind, I performed a search for Aprons. Once I had gone past the big international players, I started to come across the smaller independent retailers.
There was one particular website, which ranked the highest, once the international players had been discarded. Their URL structure was:
I visited their website and could see they had a 'Kitchenware' range with the following URL:
This page, housed all of the other Child Product Categories. 'Coasters' and 'Cups' etc. I selected 'Aprons'. I was expecting to be taken to:
www.example.com/pages/kitchenware/aprons/ with Breadcrumbs to support this structure and as a 'Where am I now' feature. I was not. Instead, I was taken to
www.example.com/collections/aprons/ The very link which appeared in the search results.
For me, this is not great user experience. Not awful, as it kind of makes sense, but not great; as the user's 'thought process' is disrupted since 'Aprons' does not continue on from 'Kitchenware'.
This approach has been applied to much of the website. Whilst it does not seem to be the 'perfect' approach, in my eyes, many of the products are competing well in the SERP. Leading to me believing I am overlooking something. The only conclusions I can think of, are as follows:
www.example.com/collections/kitchenware/aprons/makes greater sense and provides a better user experience than
- 'Aprons' is further down the URL in
www.example.com/collections/aprons. Therefore, the latter's variation has had greater weighting to 'Aprons'.
- Therefore, where the shorter URL lacks user experience, it makes up for it through the greater weighting to 'Aprons' being applied.
Of course, domain structure is not the only part of the SERP algorithm. Therefore, it could just be that the website is performing well in all the other SERP requirements, which compensates for their 'poorer' structured URL.
To conclude, let's assume that all on page and off page SEO/content is identical. Which URL structure would likely perform better?
You can have 'Kitchen Aprons', 'Medical Aprons', 'Mechanic Aprons' etc. The first domain would simply bundle them all together; albeit with the possible use of a Faceted Navigation. With the second URL approach, you can have dedicated Product Categories for 'Kitchenware', 'Medicalware', 'Industrialware' etc with the Child Category 'Aprons' within.
Ultimately, is there something I may be overlooking as to why the highlighted website, would approach their URL structure like this?
Upon checking out Google's Keyword Planner, it is fair to say that there are more searches for 'Aprons' rather than 'Kitchenware'. Given that the weight distribution is applied from left to right, in a URL structure, I can see how
www.example.com/collections/aprons/ can be effective even if it does not provide the greatest logical setup across the website. Is this where the trial and error approach comes into play?