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SEO urls improvements
 
Johan
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Hi, Magento is looking great and looks very promising! Although there is a lot to learn as I have never used Zend Framework before.

However as the SEO-nerd I am. I’m a bit dissapointed with the SEO urls. Let me just give my thoughts and suggestions on how it could be improved.

Currently the urls are very long and contain a lot data and multiple trees of “directories”. For SEO purpose this is rather bad IMO.

Typical url:

http://demo.magentocommerce.com/catalog/product/view/s/coalesce-functioning-on-impatience-t-shirt/id/119/category/4/

Better url:

http://demo.magentocommerce.com/manufacturer/coalesce-functioning-on-impatience-t-shirt/
I don’t know if this is possible easily by modifying Magento? This can be achieved just like Wordpress by using a separate tables for SEO aliases. Where a specific alias is tied to the product or category ID.

For example SQL-table:

url type id
coalesce
-functioning-on-impatience-t-shirt product 123

The same rule goes for categories.

http://demo.magentocommerce.com/catalog/category/view/s/shirts/id/4/

Better url:

http://demo.magentocommerce.com/apparel/shirts/

Tags currently:

http://demo.magentocommerce.com/tag/product/list/tagId/12/

Better:

http://demo.magentocommerce.com/tag/furniture/

A store that utilizes this pretty good is fine-store. Check i out at http://www.fine-store.co.uk

Also notice how the search keywords can be used in the url:

http://www.fine-store.co.uk/search/Microsoft+Windows+Vista+Ultimate+32+Bit+OEM/

Which in my opinion is a really awesome feature. That can be used to dynamicly display accurate landing pages with PPC-campaigns.

Also multiple languages:

www.mystore.com/en/apparel/shirts/
www.mystore.com/de/klamotten/shirts/

(translate apparel and shirts to whatever they are called in german)

If a product already exist with the exact same url you can just append a number to the end:

http://demo.magentocommerce.com/manufacturer/product-name/
http://demo.magentocommerce.com/manufacturer/product-name-2/

Too long urls:

http://demo.magentocommerce.com/catalog/product/view/s/sony-vaio-vgn-txn27n-b-11-1-notebook-pc-intel-core-solo-processor-u1500-2-gb-ram-100-gb-hard-drive-dvd-rw-drive-vista-business-charcoal-black/id/27/category/15/

I wouldn’t be surprised if you get slapped by Google using such a long url. Better off would be to make it cleaner and then truncate it.

http://demo.magentocommerce.com/sony-vaio-vgn-txn27n-b-11-1-notebook/

Any thoughts on this? I’d really like more clean URLs.

Thanks.

 
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73inches
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Apparel means Klamotten in german and shirts… we are using shirts as well. Anyway, back to topic.

I totally agree your opinion. I’ve seen a lot of solutions realized much better then this. We may can get some words from the magento-team? It’s a basically and essentially question, isn’t it?

 
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RoyRubin
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We appreciate the input. The purpose of the preview version was exactly to try to get this kind of feedback. I’ll pass this along to the core team. Thanks smile

 
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Tweakmag
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This should be relatively easy to achieve - Zend Framework uses routing - whereby you can map urls to anywhere you like.. I won’t go into details here as the information is available on the Zend Framework site.

 
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Scott
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I do really like Wordpress’s SEO URLs. Here’s my input; URLs for products should be similar to:

http://www.domain.com/laptops/sony-vaio-vgn-txn27n-b-11-1-notebook/ 
http://www.domain.com/category-name/product-name/

I think this would be possible. May have to do it in .htaccess (I think that’s how WP does it) but I’m pretty sure it is possible. Just make sure people don’t use the same category or product title twice. smile

 
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Johan
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Scott,

I have dabbled with this problem on other ecommerce projects. Even if it seems that using:

http://www.domain.com/category-name/product-name/

is the ultimate solution it raises a few problems. If you change the product to another category the url will break, not making it permanent. But it would however if it was:

http://www.domain.com/manufacturer/product-name/

Just a thing to keep in mind.

However, I like flexibility and there are certainly stores out there that does not need to change category on their products. Therefor it should be up to the store admin to decided which method to use.

Could simply be fixed by doing like Wordpress and specify your own rules with:

&#xpr;oduct_name% &#xma;nufacturer%

(supposed to be percentage signs but it breaks)

etc..

 
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Scott
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I get ya, and that is something to keep in mind. I do like how wordpress lets you choose though, so if Magento let the user choose whether to use /category-name/ or /manufacturer/ or /some/big/l/ong/other/url/123 cool smile

 
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Rowan
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+1 to the original post. Sounds good.

 
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bisk
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I completely agree. It was the first thing I looked at, when trying the demo. I’m currently using /category/manufacturer/product-name/ on my e-commerce site, which not only works great seo wise, but it makes sense to my visitors as well. It would be great if there were options to configure the url system to the suggestions from the above posters.

If I change the url e.g. by moving a product to a different location, my cms keeps a record for the old url and sets a 301 redirect to the new location automaticly.

 
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Jesse-Lee Stringer
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Johan - 02 September 2007 09:41 AM

However as the SEO-nerd I am. I’m a bit dissapointed with the SEO urls. Let me just give my thoughts and suggestions on how it could be improved.

I have to agree as always, Johan understands the more complex SEO techniques then most people here would be aware of, (imho (In my humble opinion) Johan needs a SEO sedative) I would like to request maybe a possibility of allowing / using the following url breakdown

http://www.southeastauto.com.au/holden-astra-rear-brake-rotors-non-abs-anti-lock-braking-system-p701.html

To be viewed as:
http://wxw.southeastauto.com.au/holden/astra_rear_brake_rotors_non_abs_anti-lock_braking_system.html
OR
http://wxw.southeastauto.com.au/part-manufacturer/astra_rear_brake_rotors_non_abs_anti-lock_braking_system.html

Reasons being I sometimes get HUGE traffic for something like ‘GMB waterpumps’ however at the same time I generate huge traffic for ‘Astra Parts’
Overall I understand I can’t have it both ways however allowing the store operator to choose which is best to suit them will allow greater flexibility.

Jesse-Lee Stringer

 
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Brandon
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I think that all of the SEO pages should be stored inside of a single directory.  The reason is that if you start building up a list of manufacturers (say you have a couple hundred!), that’s a big list of root directories that either requires a db lookup EACH TIME the page is accessed or a HUGE .htaccess file that is a mess to upkeep (trust me, I went through this with a site recently).  We moved the URLs to /shop/<designer>/.html and it is MUCH easier on our system.  My URLs would be:

http://www.magentocommerce.com/catalog/<designer>/.html
http://www.magentocommerce.com/shop/<category>/
http://www.magentocommerce.com/search/<search>/

Where <designer> is a designer slug (hyphen-separated-designer-name), is actually a unique product SKU (because product names change on occasion), and <category> is a slug (hyphen-separated-category-name).

Use directories where it makes since (eg. there are multiple products per designer).
Hyphens are nicer IMO than underscores (and until recently Google thought so as well).
Separating different page types by parent directories allows more flexibility and less rule sets.  We can even divide the .htaccess files up so that there is less server processing done.

My $0.02

 
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Andre
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It would be nice to be able to use directory and page URLs.

for example:

landing page: http://www.mystore.com/apparel.html
apparel product: http://www.mystore.com/apparel/mygreathoody.html

its important in terms of SEO best practices to remember that directories typically hold other pages other than the landing page, so a specific landing page is often a plus when it comes to search engines browsing your site.

Google rarely goes more than 2 directories deep when browsing a site unless you are the likes of amazon or play.com, so the excessive length of the url’s is a very big drawback in the beta, but as Roy has pointed out, its gone to the development team.

Ajazza suggests that its possible with zend! One cms that we use is http://www.immersecms.org (open source) and this has a PERFECT url feature and is also based on the zend framework. maybe Roy, your developers can take a look at it for some ideas.

Thanks
André

 
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Nick Rigby
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I agree that the URL’s could be made nicer. The problem with the product URL’s is that a product can appear in more than one category/sub category, so it’s best to have a product URL that doesn’t reference it’s category (since there could be any number of different URL’s pointing to the same product). I have a site which works in the same way, and we use the following for product URL’s.

www.mystore.com/product/brand-product_name/
www.mystore.com/product/blackberry-8100-pearl/

This way, a product maintains a permanant/static URL, which is better IMO for SEO. The only time the URL changes, is if you change the name of the product.

As for categories, something like this would be nice

www.mystore.com/category/category_name/sub_category_name/sub_category_name/
www.mystore.com/category/electronics/cameras/accessories/

I’ve got to say, Megento is looking very nice and I’m looking forward to a stable release.

Nick.

 
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Johan
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Nick, that is another valid reason I forgot to point out.

Keeping urls PERMANTENT! And avoid duplicate content if product is mentioned in several categories. Very important.

Andre,

Thanks for the URL to that CMS, it looks awesome. I have to take a deeper look at it.

 
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Andre
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Glad i could point out an up and coming open source cms based on zend framework smile

As for url’s, Nick has a good idea, but as stated before, its imperitive to keep the url’s short - not necessarily in length, but more importantly in the amount of directories within a url.

why would you want to go 4 directories deep?! as a user and as a search engine, you would have left the site if you were trying to navigate ‘correctly and logically’ through the site. If you havent planned the themes of the site, then your never going to win!

http://www.mystore.com/category/category_name/sub_category_name/sub_category_name/
http://www.mystore.com/category/electronics/cameras/accessories/

why do you need the first directory? it serves no purpose in terms of seo. what i would like to see is the following (as the deepest i would like to go). I would also like to ensure that all landing pages and product pages have a .html or equivalent end to them:

http://www.mystore.com/electronics/cameras/accessories.html
http://www.mystore.com/electronics/cameras/accessories/product.html

Johan’s note about duplicate content is also a great one, but thats down to the end user at the end of the day and how vigilant they are with the site structure.

André

 
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Brandon
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Product names are not enforced as unique so it is risky to assume that they are.  Also, I have had to make changes to a product name before and it serves as an inefficient lookup key as well.  But I do like the idea of a store being able to specify their own structure like Wordpress allows.  If we go that route, I would like to see a big red alert that says set this once and leave it…

 
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