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08 June 2022 • Resources

Parts of a URL: Our tips for building perfect URLs for your ecommerce site

Parts of a URL: Our tips for building perfect URLs for your ecommerce site

Are you looking for advice on how to optimize your ecommerce site to get more traffic and increase your number of conversions?

To get better performance from your online store, it may be worthwhile to take a look at the various parts of your URL. Even though your domain name is one of the fundamental elements to set up your website, several parameters will have to be configured.

For search engines like Google or for internet users, the link for your site or blog is not to be taken lightly.

Today, I suggest that you focus on the structure of URLs for your website, to be applied for all domains:

  • What choices should you make that will result in more traffic and improve your SEO?
  • Should you choose static or dynamic URLs for the user or for Google?
  • And above all, how do you set up the internal links of your ecommerce site?

Let’s take a look at all the key parts of your URL to help set you on the right path for optimizing each page of your website!

URL structure: Definition, meanings, and impact

What is the URL of a website and what does it mean?

A Uniform Resource Locator (URL), also known as a web address, is the address of a page on a website. This is a specific type of Uniform Resource Identifier (URI), and it must be unique.

Without a URL, it wouldn’t be possible to find a web page among the billions of pages that are present on the internet.

The structure of the URL is composed of three parts that we’ll see with the example https://www.mysite.com:

  • The protocol and the subdomain: https://www.
  • The domain name: mysite
  • The domain name extension: .com

What should your domain name’s URL look like?

Launching an ecommerce site is more complex than a showcase site. Many technical choices must be made in order to obtain a good ranking on the Google SERPs and to improve conversions.

The first problem to overcome is to find a domain name that will be optimal for web users, Google, your brand image, and the customer experience.

The choice that must be made by e-merchants isn’t trivial and goes beyond the simple technical consideration. Although the domain name of a website can be important for SEO, it also has great interest for internet users.

If you’re about to define the name of your ecommerce site and you’re hesitating about the structure of your URLs, follow this protocol: set up your URLs for users and not only for search engine robots!

They’re the ones who will ultimately boost your key data to explode your revenue. You have to find a good compromise between Google and the customer. However, you’ll see that the two have a close link...

Without further ado, discover our tips for optimizing the different parts of your ecommerce site’s URLs.

Tips on how to set up your website’s URL

How do you create a URL address? Some examples of links

Let’s take an example. Here are two URLs that lead to the same product page:

  • https://www.mysite.com/category/subcategory/product-name
  • https://www.mysite.com/product.php?id:45

In this example, the first type of URL is much more readable for the internet user than the second, with the link featuring text without special characters.

Search engine robots know how to understand URL parameters with special characters (id:45), but this isn’t the case for web users.

By specifying the category, subcategory, and product name in the text of the path of the URL, you can provide visitors with valuable data. This helps to improve the click-through rate and limit the bounce rate.

You can still use IDs in your URLs, but in this case, also remember to give indications on the content to internet users who visit your product pages.

To improve the readability of your web address, you can also add hyphens in the URL, as shown in the example below:

  • https://www.mysite.com/category/subcategory/black-wool-coat 
  • https://www.mysite.com/categoy/subcategory/blackwoolcoat

In this example, the first URL link is much easier to read. Be careful not to make use of just any type of punctuation in the text: hyphens are enough to make URLs more readable.

Finally, although descriptive URLs are valuable for web users, it’s better to avoid internal links that have too many characters:

  • https://www.mysite.com/category/subcategory/black-wool-coat
  • https://www.mysite.com/category/subcategory/red-belt-polka-dot-black-wool-teddy-coat

In this example, the first URL has 59 characters, while the one that follows has 84. The second link is a bit too long and descriptive.

When defining the overall internal linking strategy for your website, make a choice about what you always want to appear in your URLs. This is even more important for the mobile web: protocol states that relatively short URLs are best if you plan to improve your number of conversions on mobile devices.

Dynamic URL: is it better for your web address?

Dynamic or static URLs? This is a question that many e-tailers ask themselves.

  • Product variations

On ecommerce sites, the same product can sometimes be offered in several dimensions and/or colors. In this case, the temptation can be great to make a product page per version to avoid generating dynamic URLs.

Unfortunately, the content of product pages is often neglected by e-tailers. If you can’t write a unique description for each version of the product, it’s better to write a product page with variants.

On WiziShop, when the user selects a variant, no parameter is added in the URL. This way, users will have only one product page at their disposal and will avoid duplicate content. So you keep static URLs, even if you add variations to your product pages.

  • Faceted navigation

Faceted navigation is also very popular on ecommerce sites.

Thanks to a system of filters (colors, material, size, price, etc.), users can customize the results of their query to only view the products they’re likely to appreciate.

With faceted navigation, the URL is necessarily dynamic. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing for internet users, but be careful, because it can create URL redundancy.

Search engine robots may consider this as duplicate content and may have difficulties indexing your website properly.

If you opt for faceted navigation, I recommend that you add noindex tags in each of the generated pages. You can also block the URLs of the filters in the robots.txt file in order to avoid exploration by search engine robots.

For WiziShop e-merchants, by default, faceted filter URLs aren’t indexed and can’t be crawled by robots. They have a noindex tag and are blocked by the robot.txt.

If you want to get more traffic on your online store, but also an increase in your number of conversions, you’ll have to work efficiently on the structure of your URLs. I invite you to take a look at this complete article that explains how to optimize your URLs for SEO.

Good news if you use the WiziShop CMS for your website. With our all-in-one, software-as-a-service solution, you’ll have access to our very powerful SEO tools for e-merchants.

You can customize the text in your URLs, we block the addition of special parameters (“&,” “%,”...), etc. Thanks to our platform, you’ll have the guarantee that your ecommerce site’s URLs are both USER- and SEO-friendly!

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