ecommerce URL structure best practices

Best practices for ecommerce URL structure

Why is your URL structure so important? If you think it’s just technical stuff you’re wrong. The online store’s URL structure matters a lot. Getting your URLs right the first time is a must, so here are some very important things to consider when you’re setting the protocol for your eCommerce URLs. 

When it comes to the best structures for your URLs, it's all about usability, indexing, conciseness, strategic keyword usage, and proper use of subdomains and/or folders.
What’s a Slug?

In SEO, we often talk about creating the right “slug” for a page. Of course, we’re not talking about the slimy creature that eats your plants. A slug is the part of a URL that identifies a particular page on an online store in an easy-to-read form. In other words, it’s the part of the URL that explains the store’s content.

ecommerce urls

What’s a Friendly URL?

It might sound like tech jargon, but a friendly URL is short and easy to read for a human as well. As a consumer, the appearance of a website’s URL can tell you about the page you’re going to land on. Kind of like a preview. 

Here’s what you really need to know about friendly URLs.

👍 Try to keep URL under 100 characters
👍 Organize URLs by product categories
👍 Be understandable
👍 Add a product name
👍 Use hyphens “-”  to separate words

👎 Use parameters
👎 Add underscores “_” to separate words
👎 Repeating words in the URL structure (
👎 Conjunctions such as “and” , “the”, “by”, etc.

Here are some examples:



You should continue the same renaming process with your media files. 

As an example, change “DSCN0003232.jpg” to “dotted-silk-scarf.jpg” to enhance the user experience and improve your rankings.

Stylehub Media asset manager
Setting up image properties in Stylehub Media asset manager

What’s the Difference Between Subdomains and Folders?

As a general rule of thumb, subdomains are your “sub-sites” with different content. Folders are your product categories within your online store(s). Most companies group products into folders. It’s related to site navigation and catalog structure as well.

The address URL for the folder should be as short and closely related to its main keyword phrase as possible.

You don’t need to stick to one level of folders; you can extend your structures by categories and subcategories as well. While subdomains might reduce the SEO effectiveness of your landing page, using folders and subfolders won’t harm your ranking.

product page urls
Managing product page url on multiple levels in Stylehub admin

How to Drive More Traffic With the Proper URL Structure

An intuitive landing page URL can yield a higher click-through rate when they’re shared. Sharing them allows Google and Bing to understand them too!

So don’t hesitate to add keywords to your URL. If you haven't already put a lot of thought into your keywords, now’s the time. Your target keywords should be used in your page titles, product names, product descriptions, image tags. 

This rule should be approached reasonably though! There’s no need to overstuff unnatural keywords in your URLs. Doing so can lead to harmful Google penalties, which can kill your online visibility.

By running a multi-language online store, you can (and should) create unique URLs for your individual pages to focus on their locally used keywords. For instance, a German shopper will more likely type “Hosen” into Google than “trousers”. 

With Stylehub, users can set up different URLs for different languages so you can get the most out of localized SEO.

To sum this up...

The proper use of URL structures in eCommerce stores is crucial - both from an SEO and user experience perspective. Simple and transparent URLs will help your shoppers browse your shop easier while enabling the search engine bots (known as crawlers) to index pages properly. This way, your online store will not only be easy to use but will also rank better in search results for the keywords your customers are likely to use.

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