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When putting together an ecommerce website structure, one of the ongoing questions I keep asking myself, is:

What would I need to do, in the event of future product expansion. Ideally, how can I 'future proof' said website.

More specifically, let's say the site has the following Product structure:

  • Wall Art > Wooden Wall Art > Product Name

This would typically create the following URL structure:

www.example.com/wall-art/wooden-wall-art/product-name/

So far, fairly simple!

Then, 12 months later, the site decides it would like to expand its product offering. It now wishes to sell Clocks. As such, it would like to create a 'Wall Decor' Product Category.

As such, the site would have the following Product structures:

  1. Wall Decor > Wall Art > Wooden Wall Art > Product Name
  2. Wall Decor > Clocks > Wooden Clocks > Product Name

Referring to the 'Wooden Wall Art' Product structure, we can now see that the URL has changed from ...

www.example.com/wall-art/wooden-wall-art/product-name/

to ...

www.example.com/wall-decor/wall-art/wooden-wall-art/product-name/

Consequently, requiring the implementation of various '301 Redirects'. It has been said that '301 Redirects' do not affect SEO. Regardless, I would like to avoid this avenue as I personally as it adds a few extra milliseconds to a site load speed. Also, I associate redirects with pop up ads etc. Some people may feel the same and as such, may immediately click off as soon as a page starts to redirect.

As such, I am contemplating the idea of getting rid of a 'hierarchical' URL altogether. Let's say, someone wishes to visit:

  • Wall Art > Wooden Wall Art

Instead of the generated URL being ...

www.example.com/wall-art/wooden-wall-art/

... it would be:

www.example.com/wooden-wall-art/

Say the site should expand to include a 'Wall Decor' Product Category, then the user would still be taken to ...

www.example.com/wooden-wall-art/

Rather than ...

www.example.com/wall-decor/wall-art/wooden-wall-art/

In order to generate the required internal linking, between Product Categories, all Category Pages would have Breadcrumbs. It would be through these Breadcrumbs, which would highlight the linking structure.

Prior to adopting this approach, I am wondering if anyone is aware of any potential SEO issues or whether this would cause any other problems; be it SEO or organisational related.

As a side not, I realise that the Product pages themselves would be unaffected. The reason being that all Product pages would have the following URL structure:

www.example.com/product/product-name/

with all ...

www.example.com/product-category/product-name/

URL variants containing a Canonical link.

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