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URL example:

www.example.com/floral-canvas-prints/daffodil-canvas-prints

Let's say I am looking to implement the above Product Category URL. It is fairly clear that the page would be about 'Floral Canvas Prints'.

One of the obvious issues here, is the duplicate use of 'canvas-prints', within the 2 directories. Firstly, is this actually an issue? If so, what kind of issue would this be? Does it really affect SEO, from a technical stand point, or is it more of an indirect issue. For example, duplicate words, extends a URL and increases the chances of people forgetting the URL; to return to the site in the future?

I know I could use variations, such as:

www.example.com/floral/daffodil-canvas-prints

or

www.example.com/floral-canvas-prints/daffodils

My issue here, is that whilst these variants convey what each page is, the context becomes lost as soon as you look at each directory in isolation.

This brings me to my own approach. Is there anything wrong with simply scrapping multiple directories, within the URL altogether, and focusing on longer descriptive directory names?

For example:

www.example.com/wall-art/floral-canvas-prints/daffodil-canvas-prints

… would simply be:

www.example.com/daffodil-canvas-prints

Despite having this shortened URL, the on page Breadcrumbs would still have the following path shown:

Wall Art > Floral Canvas Prints > Daffodil Canvas Prints

My only concern would be, that the page's attempt at targeting Keywords, such as Daffodil Canvas Wall Art, may be impacted. A small impact, maybe, but an impact nonetheless. Would I be right?

I realise that the URL is a small factor, within the grand scheme of things, but I would like to atleast try and 'tick all the boxes' as I work from the ground up.

  • "the context becomes lost as soon as you look at each directory in isolation." - Although you never do look at each in isolation. The URL is a single entity. Either /foo, /foo/bar or /foo/bar/baz. Never just bar or baz. – DocRoot Jun 13 '18 at 21:28
  • @DocRoot: Thanks for your guidance. Understand the URL structure more now. I guess the URL does (well, should) mirror the internal linking structure. As such, the internal linking structure 'passes' a little bit of context along with each link to and fro, between 'Parent and Child' Directories. – Craig Jun 13 '18 at 21:36
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The last name in a URI should be the subject of the URL. URIs are mainly for machine use, not humans, but humans deal with URIs and you should make them as logical as possible.

So, the end subject is "floral canvas prints" and, this case, "Daffodil" so you should go in that order and not use redundant wording. floral-canvas-prints -> daffodils. We already know they are floral canvas prints.

You have more than one sub category of floral canvas prints so reserve those words for the parent.

A different example of what you are thinking of doing: you wouldn't do humans/male-human/rob-human would you?

  • I especially appreciate your point of not repeating terms in url segments (/). On one hand, each segment is taken separately while on the other hand, all are taken together for a complete understanding. Cheers!! – closetnoc Jun 12 '18 at 17:45
  • @Rob: Thanks for your answer. I see what you mean. Maybe I am adopting an over optimising approach, of maintaining context for each directory level etc. What about product variants? For example /white-roses/. Would /white-roses/ be considered a subject at the same directory level as /roses/ or would this be considered a Child of /roses/, since the visitor would be drilling down into the product, so to speak? – Craig Jun 12 '18 at 18:30
  • @closetnoc: I guess internal linking (as well as backlinks etc) may help provide any outstanding context, which the URL fails to?! – Craig Jun 12 '18 at 18:31
  • @Craig Yes. Drilling down that way is how you want to do categorization. roses/white and roses/red, etc. – Rob Jun 12 '18 at 19:15
  • @Craig Yes! Bingo!! – closetnoc Jun 12 '18 at 21:10

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