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URL structure... same words, does order matter?

     
10:28 pm on Feb 5, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I've read some blog posts about this. Some people say order doesn't matter. Others say it does. Some say directory structure provides hints to google to understand the content better. Others say it doesn't matter. So I'd like to ask what people on here think. Here's my example.

a) www.store.com/shoes/red
www.store.com/shoes/blue

b) www.store.com/red-shoes
www.store.com/blue-shoes

If someone searches for "red shoes" does either a or b have a SEO advantage? I would think that b does since it's an exact word match. But the a gives a search engine a clue that "red" and "blue" are "shoes". It would also seem to avoid some ranking confusing since the "read" and "blue" should be more differentiated than "red-shoes" and "blue-shoes". I can envision b confusing a search engine since the URLS are so close to the same thing while the directory structure of a provides a clearer distinction.

So which one is better? Or does it not matter?
7:52 am on Feb 6, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Both have their advantages. Hyphens do the trick, search engines will know, what you mean and it's clear to users as well. However, depending on how many pages you have, choosing A would provide a clear structure to your site, which search engines also enjoy. In other words, if it's only a matter of a few pages, I'd say B. But If you have shoes in every colour of the rainbow, A could be the better choice. If you also have other categories like boots and socks in various colours, A, due to its structural advantages, would be my choice.
8:50 am on Feb 6, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Just letting you know that keyword urls do not have any value these days. Set up your folders as they make sense to YOU for management purposes.

Any value a "keyword" might give will be in your CONTENT, not your urls.
4:59 am on Feb 7, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Thanks for the replies.

Tangor, I really wish that was the case. I know many people say that. In my experience, the words in the URL matter. Thus this exercise. I did a small scale experiment. Changing nothing but the words in the URL took the URL from so far back that it might as well not exist to at least the first few pages and still moving up. Same content and same metadata but just a different URL.
7:50 am on Feb 7, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I agree with fretfull on this one. Wording in the Url matters to the user, thus it matters to search engines. Even if they say otherwise, they'd be contradicting themselves.
10:37 am on Feb 7, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I suppose that chasing all the small changes does have some value. But it is no longer a magic bullet and care needs to be taken when playing the game that small

widgets/red is more powerful than red/widgets or red-widgets

Which gets back to my original comment: lay your urls out where management of site makes sense. Object is widgets, everything else is variations of the SAME offer.

Just remember that URL is not how folks search. Spend whatever time you wish playing the game, just know there's not that much value playing with urls compared to the value that searchable CONTENT will provide.

Tweaking the nits might make a difference when done at scale...
8:01 pm on Feb 7, 2019 (gmt 0)

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In my experience, what the URL is is not a small change or a nit. It's major factor in SEO. In the small scale test I did, a search engine is listing both the old and new URLs. The old cryptic URL that's been around for years doesn't even show up unless I specifically go looking for it. The new user readable URL showed up within days and completely outranks the old URL. Same content. Same metadata. Different URL. Searching by keywords, completely different ranking.

I'm not talking about searching for URLs. I'm taking about searching by keywords. Having those keywords in the URL definitely matter. Is it the only thing that matters. Of course not. If the content doesn't back it up then it won't rank. But by the same token, if the URL is cryptic then the content alone may not be enough. The two are synergistic.
8:36 pm on Feb 7, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Ha! We're saying the same thing from two different perspectives.

(Note: User reader URLS benefit the webmaster, too!)
11:49 am on Feb 14, 2019 (gmt 0)

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If the store is about shoes only then

option b has seo advantage because its closer to root domain.
option a has a directory between it

if its a general store, then "option b" would be better because this will help in building structural relevancy
9:01 am on Feb 15, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Even if it does not technically matter for SEs right now:
1) A makes more sense to humans to have that full directory structure, and
2) there is no guaranteeing what will matter to SEs in the coming months and years.
 

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