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I would like to know your opinions on the following URL structure. Is the following SEO best practice and why?

If targeting search term "blue suede shoes"...

Would "example.com/blue/suede-shoes/" be read appropriately by search engines for SEO benefit?

I have a rather large site with many product/service offerings and require the collective's expertise.

My concern is that targeting many services with structure "example.com/blue-suede-shoes" would not only become a web management issue but not be best practice for user experience. However, strictly SEO speaking, which is best?

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As far as a search engine is concerned, either is good. Special characters are completely ignored when indexing. Search engines break any URL/URI into terms using word boundaries (programming term) and ignore special characters since they have no value what so ever. Use whatever method feels best to you and your users.

  • Thank you for your explanation, as well as the programming verbiage for future reference. – Joe Dec 2 '14 at 19:08
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Search engines see both dashes and slashes as word separators, so they will be able to parse either of your URLs.

Traditionally slashes in URL paths represent directory structures. Because of this, some users may expect that if you use /blue/suede-shoes/ they should be able to find a page at /blue/ with information about all your blue products. I would only use slashes if this is indeed the case.

  • I missed the point of the slashes being an indication of a directory. I did think of it, but I was assuming that the OP knew this and it slipped my mind to even consider it again. I up-voted primarily because this is an important warning. Thanks for taking that step! – closetnoc Dec 2 '14 at 18:43
  • Thanks for the additional information and food for thought as far as directory structure. Now that I understand the SEO implications of my efforts, I can turn more so to the UX aspect of things. – Joe Dec 2 '14 at 19:10

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