Catalog URL Options

Although you might not give it much thought at the beginning, the URLs you assign to products and categories play a major role in determining how well your site is indexed by search engines. Before you start building your catalog is an ideal time to consider the available options.

Your store creates two distinct types of URLs, and there are several configuration settings that determine the type of URL that is used for items in your catalog.

Dynamic URLs

A dynamic URL is created "on the fly," and may include a query string with variables for the product ID, sort order, and the page where the request was made. When a customer searches for a product in your store, the resulting URL might look something like this:

http://mystore.com/catalogsearch/result/?q=chair

Static URLs

A static URL is a fixed address for a specific page.

http://mystore.com/furniture/living-room/chair.html

URL Key

The URL key is the part of the URL that describes the product or category. When you create a product or category, an initial URL key is automatically generated based on the name. The URL key should consist of lowercase characters with hyphens to separate words. A well-designed, "search engine friendly" URL key may include the product name and key words to improve its indexing by search engines.

HTML Suffix

Your catalog can be configured to either include or exclude the .html suffix as part of category and product URLs. There are various reasons why people may choose to either use or omit the URL suffix. Some people believe that the suffix no longer serves any useful purpose, and that pages without a suffix are indexed more effectively by search engines. If your company has established a standardized format for URLs, you might be required to keep within its guidelines.

The most important thing to understand is that the use of the suffix is controlled by settings in your system configuration. The suffix should never be typed directly into the URL key of a category or product. (Doing so will result in a double suffix at the end of the URL when the suffix is enabled.)

Whether you decide to use the suffix or not, be consistent and use the same setting for all your product and category pages. Here are examples of a category URL with, and without, the suffix.

http://yourstore.gostorego.com/furniture/living-room/couch.html
http://yourstore.gostorego.com/furniture/living-room/couch

Category Path

You can configure the URL to either include or exclude the category path. By default, the category path is included in all category and product pages. Here are examples of the same product URL with, and without, the category path.

http://yourstore.gostorego.com/furniture/living-room/couch
http://yourstore.gostorego.com/couch

To prevent search engines from indexing multiple URLs that lead to the same content, you can exclude the category path from the URL. Another method is to use a canonical meta tag to let search engines know which URLs to index and which ones to ignore.

To configure product and category URLs:

  1. From the Admin menu, select System > Configuration.
  2. In the Configuration panel on the left, select Catalog. Click to expand the Search Engine Optimizations section. Then, do the following:
    1. To remove the suffix from product URLs, clear the default “.html” setting from the Product URL Suffix field.
    2. To remove the suffix from category URLs, clear the default “.html” setting from the Category URL Suffix field.

      Note: For an existing catalog, you will need to refresh the Search Indexing (Catalog > Search Indexing) and browser cache (F5).

    3. To omit the category path from product URLs, set Use Categories Path for Product URLs to “No.”
    image
    Search Engine Optimizations
  3. When complete, click the Save Config button.

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