What is the best URL structure for SEO for ecommerce sites?

Creating optimized URLs is an important technical SEO for ecommerce practice. The URLs for product and category pages especially impact rankings and click-through rates. Let’s explore the best URL structure for ecommerce.

Key takeaways

  • Use targeted keywords in URLs where possible. But don’t over-optimize.
  • Keep URLs as short and simple as possible.
  • Use hyphens (-) to separate words and phrases.
  • Maintain a consistent URL structure across product, category, and brand pages.
  • Implement canonical URLs to consolidate duplicate content issues.
  • Optimize for usability and conversions rather than solely SEO.
  • Follow platform best practices for customizing product and category URLs.
  • Focus on creating natural, readable URLs optimized for actual users.

When structuring URLs, there are several best practices to follow:

Use descriptive keywords

The URL itself should contain relevant keywords when possible. This tells both users and search engines what the page is about.

For example:

Bad: example.com/product.php?id=335

Good: example.com/black-leather-jacket

Keywords in the URL reinforce the page topic and can improve click-through rates in search results.

Keep URLs Short and Simple

Shorter, simpler URLs are easier to read and understand for users. Long parameter-heavy URLs should be avoided.

Here are some tips:

  • Omit unnecessary parameters like .php or .html. Use clean URLs.
  • Limit folder nesting and subfolders in URLs.
  • Avoid excessive hyphenation and delimiters.
  • Shorten when possible while retaining keywords.

For example:

Bad: example.com/category/subcategory/subcategory/subcategory/product-name-of-the-product.html

Good: example.com/category/subcategory/product-name

Use dashes as delimiters

The hyphen – is the recommended delimiter for word separation in URLs.

Underscores _ and camelCase should be avoided. Dashes visually separate words clearly.

Structure elements consistently

Keep URL structure consistent across the site. Maintain logical patterns that users can recognize.

For example, all product URLs should generally follow:


While all brand pages follow:


Consistency improves usability.

Create canonical URLs

Use canonical URLs to consolidate pages or content with multiple URLs. This prevents duplicate content penalties.

For example, example.com/collection/black-leather-jacket should redirect to the canonical URL example.com/black-leather-jacket.

The canonical URL is the master destination search engines should index.

Optimize for user-friendliness

URLs are displayed in search engines and shared on social media. Prioritize usability.

  • Avoid excessive keywords just for SEO.
  • Spell out words rather than obscure abbreviations.
  • Be cautious about case sensitivity. Many users expect lowercase.
  • The goal is clicks and conversions, not just rankings.

Best practices for ecommerce URL types

Here are structure recommendations for common ecommerce page types:

Product URLs


  • Include primary product name keywords.
  • Keep product names concise using hyphens.
  • Avoid repetitive product codes or SKUs in URLs.

Category URLs


  • Use category names in the URL path.
  • Go from broadest to most specific category.

Brand URLs


  • Brand keywords help search engines understand the page.
  • Be consistent with capitalization and delimiters.

Coupon code URLs


  • Creates easy access directly to coupon pages.
  • Helps search indexing of coupon pages.

Tools to optimize URL structure

Ecommerce platforms and CMSs provide ways to customize and optimize URL structures:

Shopify – Generates SEO-friendly URLs, but you can edit the URL slug within the platform, such as on the product page.

WooCommerce – Permalinks can be edited for products, categories, and tags.

WordPress – Extensive URL control with permalink settings.

Magento – URL Rewrites and built-in Canonical URLs available.

Make sure you learn how to optimize your platform for ideal URL structure.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why are URLs important for SEO?

URLs play a role in search engine optimization because they can contain relevant keywords and influence click-through rates from search results pages. Optimized URLs can improve rankings and traffic.

How long should a product URL be?

Ideally, between 60-100 characters. Very long URLs with excessive nesting and parameters should be avoided. Shorten product names and folders when possible while retaining important keywords.

Should I use underscores or hyphens in URLs?

Use hyphens (-) as delimiters in URLs. Underscores are not recommended because they are less visible and can be confused with spaces.

How can I fix duplicate content from URL variations?

Implement canonical URLs. This consolidates pages with similar content under one URL that search engines should prioritize indexing. Redirect all variations to the canonical version.

Is URL capitalization important?

Using lower-case rather than upper-case characters or a combination of the two is recommended.

How often should I modify my URL structures?

Avoid frequent URL structure changes which can negatively impact rankings. Monitor for a period after major changes. Only modify URLs when necessary for optimization or site updates.

Should I include file extentions like .php or .html?

No, removing unnecessary file extensions like .html and .php is best. Use clean URL paths without parameters for optimized user experience.

Can URLs be too short?

Possibly – very short generic URLs may not convey enough meaning. But very long URLs can also harm usability. Find a good balance based on your products and site structure.

The bottom line

The best URL structure for ecommerce is better for users, conversions, and search engine visibility. Follow best practices with keywords, consistency, brevity, and user-friendliness in mind.

Focus on creating natural, readable URLs optimized for actual people rather than just search bots. This results in the best SEO and user experience.

Need help optimizing your ecommerce site’s URL structure for better SEO? I offer expert SEO services to assist with implementing best practices, including URL optimization. If you want to improve your site’s visibility, usability, and conversions, then contact me to discuss your needs.

About the author

Daniel Lee

With over a decade's worth of experience, I am an accomplished digital marketer who thrives on creating bespoke SEO and content marketing strategies for a diverse range of clients, from innovative start-ups to established billion-dollar enterprises. Drawing from my Master's degree in International Marketing from the University of Law, and business coaching training from the renowned Møller Institute at Cambridge University, I'm committed to delivering results that drive substantial growth and competitive success for my clients. I look forward to being part of your success story.

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