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What is a better URL design for an e-commerce website?

Case a:

http://example.com/shoes-women
http://example.com/shoes-women-red
http://example.com/high-heels-red
http://example.com/high-heels-red-size-7
http://example.com/anne-klein-high-heels-red-size-7

Case b:

http://example.com/shoes/women
http://example.com/shoes/women/red
http://example.com/high-heels/red
http://example.com/high-heels/red/size-7
http://example.com/anne-klein/high-heels/red/size-7

My opinion:

I guess the reason why most of the big e-commerce sites using the URL design with slashes is that the are more maintainable (except Amazon, they use a mix). By using only dashes as a big e-commerce website it is possible to get fast into problems.

The SEO argument "you have to use forward slashes because Google likes folder-structures or topic-silos" is nonsense. Google does build its own structures by analyzing the internal linking structure of your page.

  • "Folders" is a Windows-ism. They're called "directories" and are not the same as folders. – Rob Mar 27 '19 at 11:04
  • @Rob most of the time the terms "directory" and "folder" and interchangeable. In this case, they are both directories and folders. However, folders can also include non-directory content such as control panel items. See on super user: What is the difference between a directory and a folder? – Stephen Ostermiller Mar 27 '19 at 11:20
  • @StephenOstermiller That answer also states that directories and folders are not the same thing so, again, it is a wrong answer and using them interchangeably is a Windows-ism, too. A blunder at best. – Rob Mar 27 '19 at 11:23
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It depends. Both will work fine for SEO. The only difference between the two is whether or not you wish to support folder level pages or not.

In your first example with dashes, the only additional page you need is the home page.

In your second example, your URLs imply the existence of the following pages:

  • http://example.com/shoes/
  • http://example.com/high-heels/
  • http://example.com/anne-klein/high-heels/red/
  • http://example.com/anne-klein/high-heels/
  • http://example.com/anne-klein/

Users, browser extensions, and Googlebot know that you can truncate a URL at a slash to see the directory contents.

If you wish to have those page, then use slashes. If you don't wish to have them, use dashes.

If you use slashes, but don't have those pages, you will see 404 errors for them in your server logs and in your Google Search Console.

  • okay, I will better use dashes. Not every term is available as a stand-alone page. Thx! – Marius Mar 26 '19 at 12:51

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