Problem #3: Dynamic URLs

Problem #3: Dynamic URLs

23.Oct.2021

Have you ever noticed that some shopping carts can create incredibly long URLs? For example, this is a URL pulled from an old customer of mine with the id removed: http://www.example.com/shop/viewCategory.jsp?categoryId=2151892&pl=6247147780214204

The chances of having two pages going to exactly the same page on your website are very slim and there's nothing worse than having a high ranking page which could have been a perfect candidate for PPC spend lost because Google can't tell them apart. The solution? Use "friendly" URLs!

Friendly URLs help search engines better understand what your webpage is about while also being human readable. You want to make it as easy as possible for customers to understand the category and product pages without having to hover over links. How can we do this? Let's consider a couple of examples:

Friendly URLs: http://www.example.com/women-s-clothing/dresses or http://www.example.com/dresses

Non-friendly URLs: http://www.example.com/?shopp=viewCategory&categoryId=2151892&pl=6247147780214904

Notice how in the non-friendly example it isn't at all obvious what your web page is about based on the URL alone! It doesn't provide any context so you have no idea what type of products are being offered or where you are in the website structure. Whereas, with the friendly URLs it is immediately clear what type of dress or dresses are being offered (for example) and it's also clear where you are in the site structure (in this case above the homepage). Now all we need to do is apply this concept to our cart...

 

For your shopping cart solution, make sure that your categories and products use "friendly" URLs whenever possible. For example, I've never seen a category URL that looks like: http://www.example.com/shop/browse/2151892/. Instead you want to give each category its own root domain name which makes the category pages instantly more accessible by search engines without any extra work on your part! So if you have the category shown above, you would turn that into: http://www.example.com/womens-clothing/dresses and http://www.example.com/shop/browse/2151892/.

Another way to make your website more search engine friendly is to ensure you are using descriptive titles for all of your products and categories to easily explain what they are about without having to look at the product page itself to understand its purpose (see example below). This helps improve click-through rates while also allowing you a little extra room in the meta title tag for one or two keywords that could also help with rankings!

A couple other tricks I've picked up over the years:

o Expand on key concepts on category pages - make it easy for customers to understand what your site is about. o Add reviews and ratings to products regularly (where appropriate). o Use local modifiers like "CA" or "UK" whenever possible (don't put these within the URL itself though as it will look spammy).

o Keep URLs as short as possible but also try not to use auto-generated IDs that are meaningless (i.e. numbers without context) if you can help it since longer URLs tend to rank better in search engines over shorter ones.

I hope this helps! Feel free to leave a comment with any questions, thoughts, etc...

Background Information: Shopping cart solutions have many different methods for creating dynamic URLs which makes them difficult for Google to crawl, understand and index. In general, all dynamic URLs should be replaced with static URLs where possible.

   Example: http://www.example.com/shop/viewCategory.jsp?categoryId=2151892&pl=6247147780214904 -> http://www.example.com/womens-clothing/dresses

Explanation: Shopping cart solutions can automatically generate product and category pages by entering a numeric ID into the URL but this makes it impossible for Google to determine what your web page is about and it creates lots of duplicate content within your site as every product or category could have its own unique page indexed in Google's SERP's (if you don't use "friendly" URLs). A better solution is to use a shop main page and then link to each category and/or product with relevant keywords (i.e. "womens clothing") instead of putting everything into one URL like http://www.example.com/shop/browse/2151892/. This will make your website more accessible by search engines without any extra work on your part!

Related Keywords: shopping cart, e-commerce site design, ecommerce site architecture

Examples: Non-Friendly URL: https://sucralfatepills.com/?sucralfate=generic&manufacturer=5&productType=3 -> Sucralfate Generic

Generic Friendly URL: https://sucralfatepills.com/?sucralfate=generic&productType=3 -> Sucralfate Generic

Non-Friendly URL: https://sucralfatepills.com/sale/20-off/492650 -> Sucralfate 20% off

Generic Friendly URL: https://sucralfatepills.com/sale/20-off/492650 -> Sucralfate Sale! 20% Off

Non-Friendly URL: http://www.example.com/shop//22430667#href-> Multi Color Wide Band Ring

Generic Friendly URL: http://www.example.com/jewelry//multi+color+wide-band+ring -> Multi Color Wide Band Ring

Non-Friendly URL: http://www.example.com/shop//22430667#pid-> 22430667

Generic Friendly URL: http://www.example.com/jewelry//multi+color+wide-band+ring -> Multi Color Wide Band Ring

Related Keywords: dynamic, SEO, organic search results, SERP rankings, link value

Example 2 of Shopping Cart Problem #3

This addresses an issue that often comes up with some shopping carts - the ability to view different product pages without changing the main page of the site which can create lots of duplicate content issues for Google . The example below illustrates the difference between a non-friendly and generic friendly URL.

Non-Friendly URL: https://sucralfatepills.com/sale/20-off/492650 -> Sucralfate 20% off

Generic Friendly URL: https://sucralfatepills.com/sale/20-off/492650 -> Sucralfate Sale! 20% Off

Related Keywords: shopping cart, ecommerce site architecture, catalog mode vs storefront mode, product pages without changing the main page of the site, duplicate content issues for Google , url parameters

Example 3 of Shopping Cord Problem #3

This addresses an issue that often comes up with some shopping carts - the ability to view different product pages without changing the main page of the site which can create lots of duplicate content issues for Google . The example below illustrates the difference between a non-friendly and generic friendly URL.

Non-Friendly URL: http://www.example.com/shop//22430667#href-> Multi Color Wide Band Ring

Generic Friendly URL: http://www.example.com/jewelry//multi+color+wide-band+ring -> Multi Color Wide Band Ring

Related Keywords: shopping cart, ecommerce site architecture, catalog mode vs storefront mode, product pages without changing the main page of the site, duplicate content issues for Google , url parameters

Example 4 of Shopping Cord Problem #3

This addresses an issue that often comes up with some shopping carts - the ability to view different product pages without changing the main page of the site which can create lots of duplicate content issues for Google . The example below illustrates the difference between a non-friendly and generic friendly URL.

Non-Friendly URL: https://sucralfatepills.com/sale/20-off/492650 -> Sucralfate 20% off

Generic Friendly URL: https://sucralfatepills.com/sale/20-off/492650 -> Sucralfate Sale! 20% Off

Related Keywords: shopping cart, ecommerce site architecture, catalog mode vs storefront mode, product pages without changing the main page of the site, duplicate issues for Google , url parameters

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