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SEO urls improvements
 
radiantflow
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As someone touched on before SEO is a very subjective area and really depends on many factors. The rules can also change and a site may need to be tweaked over time to get it just right.

So I would love Magenta to be as flexible as possible in this area, and offer options on how the urls should be structured.

I’ve attached a couple of screenshots of the drupal pathauto module i mentioned in my earlier post. The first shows how you apply the tokens to the different content types available on the site. Tokens are surrounded by square brackets, the other text is displayed as written so you can then make your own url in which ever format you like, adding as many or as few directory levels as you like and what ever suffixes you want.

This token system would be a great thing to have especially if the token list is customisable by add on developers some key ones would be :

title
page-title (as used on the meta tags)
category
category-page-title (so you could have something like cheap-computers instead of just computers if it suits the site)
manufacturer

The second screen shot shows the general settings for all urls where you can set the maximum lengths of the total and individual parts, and set common words that must be stripped from the url.

There is also the Bulk index capability which allows it to reset all the paths on the site to the new format, whilst there is a choice on whether it deletes the old ones or add new ones this doesn’t actually work that reliably in my experience.

Ben

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lopsta.com
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@radiantflow

that would be perfect, similar to wordpress permalinks

if that could be realised with magento, that would be a blast !!!

 
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Andre
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At least the main points have been covered.

Johan, agreed that a degree of SEO work is speculation and i would like to see an option to implement suffix’s if the admin of the site so desires. i think the main thing is just to keep it relevant with regards to keywords.

im sure the team will create a good way to create your urls

 
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andwhite1
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I second and third coming up with a system for having a product in multiple categories but avoiding duplicate content penalties because each has a different URL but is pointing to what is essentially the same page.

I have this shortcoming in my current system.

This is not an elegant answer, but maybe in the admin, have a way to to mark one of the categories that the product is located in as the main product category.  All other categories that the product is placed in will have the rel = nofollow added to them so SE’s will ignore those links and not go to the duplicate content.

 
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Brandon
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There are a couple of problems with the rel=nofollow problem.
1) They don’t pass juice.
2) If the spider doesn’t find your main category, it won’t be indexed.
3) If someone else links to the link you nofollow’ed, you’ll be indexed anyways and duplicate content becomes a problem anyways.

 
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Johan
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Brandon,

A way to control the META robots per page is IMO pretty neat. You could add noindex, nofollow onto all filtered results and they wont be indexed by external links.

If spiders don’t find the main category, the store admin has done something really stupid. smile There are several ways to approach this issue. Either link from your main navigation. Or get a sitemap for instance, which helps a lot.

 
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Brandon
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Maybe even include a “permalink” option for each product?  That way the link always exists?  I don’t know how a search engine would pass “link juice” in this case—it’s out of my scope.

My big problem with having multiple product pages but then hiding all but one, is that it doesn’t solve the problem—it only hides it.  If a customer wants to link to your product (say a wikipedia page is talking about it and your store is the “best” place to get it), and they choose the wrong one, you won’t get ANY SE benefit from having that link point to you because you told the spider to ignore that page.

 
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Johan
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As mentioned earlier I think most agree that a product link will, and should always be unique and permanent. This is why I refrain from using domain.com/category-name/product-name (because same product could end up in another category too)

If the link always points to product: domain.com/manufacturer-name/product-name/, and they link directly to it they can’t link wrong. Unless they link to a filtered result with several products of course… which requires some thinking.

 
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Brandon
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Yeah, that’s the problem we are facing.  What I’ve done on another site is use a SESSION cookie for each user that holds the path they took to get to the path.  I then use that info to create the breadcrumb on the product page so that they can easily get back to where they were without screwing up my (overly) pretty URLs :D

There are problems with this method though, like if a customer has multiple windows open, their breadcrumb can be incorrect.  But I think that it’s a rare event and it breaks nicely IMO.

 
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Jesse-Lee Stringer
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lopsta.com - 06 September 2007 11:37 AM

MORE Important:

Make sure every page is accesible just by ONE url.
Lot of ecommerce solutions have the problem to have multiple urls pointing to the same page that will create dublicate content.

Whole heartedly agreed.

I currently have this exact issue where I have both a product within SiteRoot/Holden/Astra however considering the same part would be used for SiteRoot/Holden it’s imperative that I add the product to both (Using secondary Categories)

Obviously I am getting duplicate content but then again I’m not training for Google to buy anything wink
If Symlinks is introduced by way of ‘secondary’ categories we will remove the SE factor while still keeping flexibility to multi-category products

 
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Ross
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I would just like to offer my opinion that optimizing for the user is more important than optimizing for search engines, and I think this applies in this case of the URL format.  URLs should be (where possible) short, logical, meaningful and memorable - not an exercise in cramming in as many keywords as you can!

Sure plenty of people may disagree with me, but I really do think that too much emphasis is put on SEO, and not enough on usability.  Search engine listing can be fickle, one minute your SEO technique will work great, and then it might cause you to drop down, or even get blacklisted.

Real sustainable business should build on good customer relationships and repeat business.  Recommendations are a better route to growth than the “pump and dump” approach of extreme SEO.

And also, it just so happens that ‘usable URLs’ and also search engine friendly!

my 2 cents

 
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Sugoi
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URL optimization for SEO is a very important thing.
True, user friendlyness too, but if I had to make a choice between those two it would definitely be SEO. Especially on products pages.

A user can easily do without typing their way to get where they want to be. Most of them just go from their favorites - or just the domain name.

This said, Magento’s URL’s still need quite an improvement.
Here’s how they look in an ideal world.  (confirmed by my SEO technician)

http://www.mystore.com/contact/
http://www.mystore.com/contact/thankyou.html
Just a regular content page, and a subpage of it.

http://www.mystore.com/category/
http://www.mystore.com/category/sub-category/
These are the landing pages for your categories. Name-only since they are hardcoded (generated) in the .htaccess anyway. Might one change, it will be re-generated.

http://www.mystore.com/category/sub-category/product-name_241.html
Where 241 is the product id. This id is the only thing in the url that’s being used to identify what product needs to be shown. This way, if a category name, or product name changes the url will still work as expected. Backwards compatible, if you will. The products need this more than categories.

just my cents.

 
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Johan
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http://www.mystore.com/category/sub-category/product-name_241.html
Where 241 is the product id. This id is the only thing in the url that’s being used to identify what product needs to be shown.

That is the newbie way of doing it. wink It’s been discussed and I posted about a solution in the first post on how to not include the ID in the url.

It also causes duplicate content which I’ve shown in another post if you manipulate the url.

 
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jaypee
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An important concept to remember is that a product is in fact separate from any descriptive elements that a browser may use to find the product they desire and it’s url should really only display it unique qualities which no other product can have (its name, its product id/code and possibly its physical location (which is rather easy to imagine if you are shopping in a supermarket, electronics store etc with aisles.)).

eg: http://demo.magentocommerce.com/catalog/product/view/s/slr-camera-tripod/id/132/category/25/ could be
http://demo.magentocommerce.com/catalog/electronics/cameras/accessories/132/manfrotto-slr-camera-tripod-600mm/

The problem that I think is in question here is simply over semantics and has caused many a cms to trip also.

When humans search, or more correctly filter their search results on a website, they are using descriptive words (which in essence is what a category is as opposed to a physical location, which you could call a section).

In saying that, I would suggest it makes more sense, from a usability approach, to include only unique elements in a products’ url. Now the trip-up comes when developers assume that a word can’t be both a category and a unique identifier, i.e. consider a Brand name.

In the above, the slr tripod, Manfrotto is unique in that they would not produce 2 competing 600mm slr tripod products, however, a browser/shopper could use the Brand name Manfrotto to filter their search results (to look for Manfrotto products out of brand loyalty). Further to that, if my suggestion is accepted, you can not actually have a sub-category (think tags for those having trouble grasping).

Categories or tags, it doesn’t matter as they are basically descriptive words (adjectives in english) and no category is above or below another as they are just used to find/source the product needed. Simply, a sub-category doesn’t exist in regarding to the ‘physical/structural’ element of product sorting and what really should be in question is how products are to be ‘physically’ shelved (permanent url; in essence a unique id like every supermarket would have for it’s product) e.g. http://demo.magentocommerce.com/catalog/electronics/cameras/accessories/132/manfrotto-slr-camera-tripod-600mm/ or even just http://demo.magentocommerce.com/catalog/132/manfrotto-slr-camera-tripod-600mm/ etc/whatever.

The second question is how filters/search’s/queries will be applied to make SEO and usability sense. The cleanest and smartest way that I have identified, and to be consistent with the notion of sub-categories not being relevant, is found on the following site (url is of a search in place with keyword/search term ‘MALTA’):

http://www.homeaway.com/index.cfm/fa/find.squery/keywords/malta/page/1/refinements/regions:1278,Bedrooms:3/..

Looking at how they construct the url (which can have some improvement - http://www.homeaway.com/keywords:malta/regions:1278,Bedrooms:3/page:1/), I think this best addresses how to deliver a url that lists categories/tags.

Anyway, this post is long enough to check so I can only imagine what it will be like to read some strangers thoughts. Hopefully this will generate ideas and detail another angle that seo url’s are a little more then just about the search engine ranking. A human needs to make sense of the site logic to use it correctly and if it is reflected even in the urls, just wonder how much more solid magento will be.

 
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Johan
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jaypee,

Did you read through the whole thread? Your setup will cause problems as mentioned in other posts.

I am curious, how you are going to solve them?

 
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