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Consider we are having a website URL www.abc.com/category/sub-category/article-c7228.html.

We are planning to add Unique IDs in this fashion-
www.abc.com/category-a1352/sub-category-d3826/article-c7228.html.
We are worrying that it will affect our SEO value?
Please let us know can we use Unique IDs to Category & Sub category sections like above example?

  • What happens if any one of those IDs are changed? A single I'd should be sufficient to specify the content in most cases. I worked on a sure with multiple IDs and it caused endless problems with changing URLs and mismatches between the IDs. – Stephen Ostermiller Mar 12 '19 at 12:41
  • Actually we are planning to create unique id for each category and sub category as well in Drupal platform. Our main intention is to reduce the 404 errors. Means while posting in social media or any other means if somebody types or share wrong URL it should not post an 404 error. And also it's a large website with many pages. – samp Mar 12 '19 at 13:14
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Why would you do that? Every SEO guide for E-commerce best practices out there says to be as clear and as simple as possible and to avoid URLS that have numbers and IDs on them because they mean nothing to users. It just looks messier and that can make a user not want to click on your link. So unless there is a very good reason to do this I would say to stay away from that. Ecommerce SEO: A Simple (But Complete) Guide- Ahrefs

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Google doesn't use URLs much as a ranking factor right now. It hasn't for the past 5 years. Having additional ids in the URL isn't going to directly hurt the SEO at all.

The problems with your approach come from usability and consistency.

Having more ids in the URL is ugly. Users will find it confusing. Having even one id in the URL makes it hard for any user to memorize your URLs. Having three makes it neigh impossible. The best URLs are as short and simple as possible while still being descriptive.

As far as consistency goes, search engines run into problems when two URLs show the same content. Combinations of parameters can be particularly tricky. I worked for a site that had multiple parameters and we had a situation where an article changed category. The old and new URLs were like:

  • /category-a1352/article-c7228.html
  • /other-cat-a8388/article-c7228.html

Both URLs showed the same article but the navigation on the page (breadcrumbs and menus) was for the different categories. Search engines hated this, we had problems with duplicate content and getting the correct URLs indexed. We had to have extra code to look up which category each article should be in and redirect if the URL contained the wrong one.

I would suggest removing the category and subcategory from the URL altogether to avoid canonicalization problems and make the URLs simpler for users.

  • Yes Stephen your points are valuable. But can we put in this way- www.abc.com/category/sub-category.e234 and if somebody types a wrong subcategory it should point to www.abc.com/category.f325. Consider these IDs are unique. – samp Mar 13 '19 at 8:47
  • Yes the category URLs themselves are nice to have their own ID. However including the category id in a article URL isn't a good idea in my experience. – Stephen Ostermiller Mar 13 '19 at 10:29
  • To understand clearly can you please elaborate your suggestions on above mentioned query with an example. – samp Mar 13 '19 at 11:28

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