SEO-friendly eCommerce URLs are a must for each webshop
I have noticed that many eCommerce businesses do not have an optimal URL structure, which leads to sub-optimal SEO results.
In this article, I’m going to show you how webshops can make their URL structure more SEO-friendly. So that you will rank your pages higher in search engines and get higher CTRs.
In short: if you want to improve your eCommerce URLs to optimize your webshop fully you will need to know the 5 best practices in this article.
Table of contents
What are URLs? Why are SEO-friendly URLs important for eCommerce? 5 Best practices to optimize your eCommerce URLs Keep the language simple and clear Make use of hyphens Either use all uppercase or lowercase letters Use keywords appropriately in your URLs Make your URLs as short as possible Don't change your URLs out of the blue Final thoughts
What are URLs?
A URL (Uniform Resource Locator) is a web address that tells a user’s computer, where to find a specific webpage on the internet. For example, the URL https://www.phanum.com/ will take a user to the homepage of Phanum.
However, https://www.phanum.com/blog/ will take a user to the blog page of Phanum. The web address thus tells the browser to which specific page it should go. In short: the URL is usually known by many as the ‘Link’.
This is what a URL is in short, but if you want to find out more about URLs, I recommend you to read this informative guide of TechTarget.
Why are SEO-friendly URLs important for eCommerce?
But why even should eCommerce sites care about their URLs and how to name or structure them? Because of two reasons:
To improve rankings of pages in search engines
If you add the right keywords to your URL, search engines will be able to understand your webpage better. This is one of the factors which is used to determine how relevant your webpage will be to people that search for what you want to rank for.
Using the right keywords in the URL increases the possibility of ranking your website’s pages higher in search engines. Because, in the end, search engines want to find websites that best fit the needs of people that search for a specific product. And relevant keywords in the URL give search engines just that piece of information that they need to determine if your page is right for potential customers.
To improve user experience and CTRs
If you structure your URLs so that they will be easy to read for users it will enhance the user experience. If people can easily read your URLs and understand what they will find when they click on them, they will be more likely to click on them. This increases on one hand user experience, but on the other hand, CTRs and possibly conversions as well.
The best way to optimize for both search engines and user experience at the same time is by naming your eCommerce URLs better.
5 Best practices to optimize your eCommerce URLs
Using these best practices for your eCommerce URLs will help you in two ways. On one hand, you will optimize your URLs for crawl bots, which will ultimately determine the rankings of your web pages and website. On the other hand, better eCommerce URL naming and structure will help users to understand your URLs and links better, giving them more reason to click on your URLs.
#1 Keep the language simple and clear
It seems like a no-brainer, but I still have to mention it. It is always better to have a clear readable URL than a vague (or confusing) one. Don’t use any fancy words that your target audience might not get, this will only alienate potential customers that do not make use of these more difficult words. Instead, keep it simple and easy to understand for everyone to which it may be relevant.
Keep it short, simple, and easy to understand
Don’t do this: examplesite.com/automobile-with-autonomous-driving-functionalities
Do this instead: examplesite.com/self-driving-car
#2 Make use of hyphens “-”
Separate individual words with hyphens (“-“) to increase the readability for users. Creating a visible space between two individual words makes it much easier for the brain to scan the content and understand it better. This will increase the usability and possibly also the CTR.
This is especially valuable if your links are being shared among users. Whenever they receive the link, they will be able to quickly and easily read the content to immediately know what they can expect without any context.
#3 Either use all uppercase or lowercase letters
Using uppercase and lowercase in your URLs is not necessary. Both are threatened the same by crawl bots, and variating between the two doesn’t improve SEO.
Also, I recommend using only lowercase letters in your URLs as it is the most common practice nowadays. Plus, this also makes it easier for users to type in the URL if they want to.
#4 Use keywords appropriately in your URLs
As mentioned before, keywords in your URLs can increase the ranking of the webpage in the search results. However, when using keywords in your URL structure, you should take two things into account.
Don’t overuse keywords in your URL
While a good-fitting keyword is useful, there is no need to place a lot of repeating keywords in the URL for SEO purposes. Instead, make the URL look like the title of your page. Or at least, as much as possible. This practice makes it clear for people and search engines what the page is about, without hurting your SEO with too many filler keywords. For example:
Do use hyper-relevant keywords for your URLs
Only use keywords that are appropriate for your webpage and your target audience and do not use random keywords in the URL. Keywords for eCommerce can be based on different relevant subjects for users, think about product material, color, or brand. Whatever is most relevant for your customers. Take in mind that the most important keyword needs to be first because in Western languages we always read from the left to the right.
Take these 3 URL examples of a product page for a white Adidas t-shirt and see which ones use, keywords the right way.
Avoid option 1: storename.com/90/2084910-556-GrEeN-/000
Because there is no use of relevant keywords. Search engines and users cannot get any information out of this.
Consider option 2: storename.com/t-shirts/white-adidas-t-shirt-with-logo
While you might think that you use the right keywords it doesn’t show the most important keyword at the beginning (Adidas). For this product the keyword Adidas is likely the most important and therefore it should be more on the left of the URL. While it’s not bad, it can be better.
Use option 3: storename.com/adidas-t-shirts/white-t-shirt-with-logo
Note how in Option 3 the keyword Adidas was added at the very beginning. This will be very important to show first as it is a big-name brand and this way users can notice and understand it quickly.
#5 Make your URLs as short as possible.
The length of your URLs should be as short as possible to make people instantly aware of what the page is about. A good rule of thumb is to have a maximum amount of 100 characters in your URL. For example:
Don’t do this (306 characters):
Instead, do this (74 characters):
Don’t change your URLs out of the blue
Important note! Your URL is the identifier of your webpage to search engines, once you change this, the page will be new to search engines. This will decrease its rankings in the search engine immediately.
To prevent this from happening you should set up 301 redirects so that the authority you built on the previous URL doesn’t get lost. However, pages that already rank within the top 5 search results for relevant queries should preferably not get changed at all! Otherwise, you are likely to significantly decrease your rankings for that page for a while.
Using the right words for your eCommerce URLs isn’t too difficult. It is just knowing about the dos and don’ts. Remember that your URLs are both viewed by actual humans and by bots, so don’t try to optimize them for only one of these groups. But rather, optimize them for both.
If you want to get to know more SEO tips & tricks that will help you improve your rankings in Google organically, I recommend you two articles to read.
Read this blog post about performing an eCommerce SEO audit, to get familiar with the 14 most SEO audit steps so that you know what to improve and when to make your improvements as effective as possible.
Or read this blog post about the 5 best SEO tools for webshops that will help you speed up your SEO processes so that you save time and don’t make decisions based on guesswork.
If you have made it this far through the blog…
Chances are that you are seriously looking to improve your SEO game. That’s great we are here for it!
To get your webshop optimized for search engines, contact one of our eCommerce experts today.