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I am reviewing the URL structure of our marketplace, especially for the product pages (we have around 10,000 product pages).

Current format (includes ID for both artist and artwork name): https://www.fairart.example/artworks/damien-hirst/1289/forever-(small)/57620

New format being considered: https://www.fairart.example/artworks/damien-hirst-forever-(small)

The thinking here is:

decrease number of subdirectories. Does reducing the number of subdirectories from 5 to two make the product pages more likely to be indexed + increase "link juice"? this way all stages of the subdirectory returns a functional page. At the moment, https://www.fairart.example/artworks/damien-hirst/1289/ leads to an empty page, so I'm worried Google does not like these broken paths

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Increasing the number of pages on a site does not create more juice for the site.

If the site does not have the juice, established authority, or expertise, incoming signals from links and Google My Business. Then Google may not want to index 10,000 pages from that site. It may not even want to index 100 pages from the site.

If the content on the page is too thin, it may not want to index that page. Or, even if indexed may not promote that page to the top of the results on a search.

From Google projection of what their users want: Let me use a cell phone as an example because it makes more sense to understand how Google treats 10,000 pages of products.

If a site sells cell phones, listing the site for cell phones is all that is needed. Their users don't benefit from cataloging the inventory of that company, and more so if that content is only the product name and price. There are a million sites selling the iPhone 13, when somebody searches for the iPhone 13 the Google user only wants the closest store that sells it and/or information globally about the product, (this global information must be more than name and price)

What navigation structure is best for the customers.

While the folder structure or URL structure can help a few people navigate shopping carts by editing the URL ... IE example.com/5g/samsung ... may have all brands at example.com/5g ... most people won't use the site that way. It is a hint and easier for the content creators to organise the site but have very little effect for SEO ... yes the brand name and a feature is listed in the URL giving an indication as to page content. But the URL has limited SEO impact being one of hundreds of signals.

What directory structure is best for website management?

If I were the person who needed to do redirects, product changes, et la. Can I assume you are the person who would manage it? Then what structure makes the management the most effective?

example.com/artworks/damien-hirst/forever-(small)

looks like it would save me time. For example if the artwork product was not being sold anymore but a poster product was being sold. I could 301 redirect all the matches to example.com/posters/damien-hirst/*

example.com/artworks/damien-hirst/1289/forever-(small)/57620

Looks like it would take me more time to parse out all of these QSL numbers, 1289 and 57620. And if they are QSL number that change I'll need to do a redirect each time they change. Instead of just changing the QSL of a <input type=hidden artist=1289 value=57620> tag in the HTML.

However, I would prefer to work with example.com/damien-hirst/artworks then thicken up the damien-hirst pillar/category page with information on Damien Hirst, including any exhibits he may have. Here I would not need to worry about if they index every product page because I would have a pillar page for people to come and look at "all" of Damien Hirst artwork. So even if I didn't have 10,000 pages indexed I would still have the critical content indexed for people to come and purchase his forever item. And I can promote Damien Hirst's pillar page on other sites to give that pillar more juice and get more of his pages indexed.

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