I would love to know how URL structure affects search engine rankings. For example, if I have the blog url
/blog/stories/123456-fat-bunny-good-bunny and tell a story about fat bunnies being good... I would expect any half decent search engine to rank my article based on the couple of hundred words I wrote about fat bunnies being good.
/blog/stories/fat-bunny-good-bunny is an alternative as is
/fat-bunny-good-bunny as is
But all the articles contain the same words which is the real content. So how is it that one of those URL's is punishment, when the words rendered as content are all the same. Unless of course you know something I don't about how the URL itself affects ranking. I always think of the URL as nothing more than a locator to help the server. I like nice looking ones just like the next person, but from a technical point of view, I am not sure it matters. If you can point out some papers that concisely explain this in a 2013 context even better!
I don't claim to be an SEO expert of any kind, but it seems rather clear to me that a site's URL structure should be as simple as possible. The big G gives webmasters this advice all the time. Here's one example from Google Webmaster Tools:
"Whenever possible, shorten URLs by trimming unnecessary parameters"
Even if it doesn't matter from a technical point of view and won't improve rankings in the SERPs, site owners should have the ability to keep URLs short and clean. Apart from SEO, it's better for the user experience too, and that's what matters the most.
Am I correct in determining that this isn't possible for blog URLs within Shopify? I'm new to Shopify and trying to determine if we need to consider other e-commerce solutions that provide more control as we're about to embark on a complete redesign. Thanks for your help!
That article is informative, but in my opinion is more applicable to websites other than Shopify. The main gist of that article is to:
* keep URLS human friendly for no real reason other than humans like that. Blog URL is Ok there, even with an ID.
* keep out GET params that can confuse the crawler. Blog URL is perfect there as it has zero GET params.
A close reading of that article provides some nice tips, but there is really nothing in that article pertinent to how Shopify renders blog related URLs. Other than the ID sneaking into an otherwise human readable URL (and that ID hardly ruins it anyway)... you have little to stew over here.
Again, focus on content and don't worry about the platform harming you. People do the most damage to their search rankings by avoiding the actual issue of writing good content. Providing great content is the way to go.
Shopify's ecommerce blog (shopify.com/blog) runs on our blogging platform. It got something like a quarter of a million hits last year, and does really well in SEO. So while we may not offer infinite flexibility in blog URLs, you can definitely do really well in SEO using Shopify's blog.
Investing in great content is obviously the way to go, but the little guys need every possible advantage we can get in a competitive space. I guess I just don't like the lack of control and numbers in my URLs. Seems sloppy and unnecessary.
And as I'm about to take over this "semi-ignored" site as a new project, I want to be able to replicate what I have done with success in the past. Content will be a HUGE part of our long-term strategy, but my perfectionist self hates leaving anything potentially unoptimized due to lack of control.
Is it really that difficult to let site owners control our blog URLs? Seems pretty simple to me, but I'm just a marketing guy that likes to get what I ask for :-).
I seriously doubt a number in the URL will do any harm. Google may advise to avoid URL parameters (my guess is because a parameter might change a page's content), but the number in Shopify blog post URLs isn't a parameter, it's just part of the URL which, I would assume, is more or less ignored by the Googlebot.
Can anyone tell me what benefit a random number in the URL provides? If so, I would love to hear it.
As a customer, I'd like to recommend to Shopify that you provide webmasters with more flexibility in blog URLs. Otherwise, I think you'll continue to lose business from site owners that want to have more control over their SEO than mommy bloggers using WordPress.
It not a random number. It represents the ID of the article. I would bet it remains a part of the URL due to some decision made some time ago. There is a real issue you could pursue with their technical department. Why does the article ID have to be embedded in the URL?
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