Editor’s note: “Ask an SEO” is a weekly column by technical SEO expert Jenny Halasz. Come up with your hardest SEO question and fill out our form. You might see your answer in the next #AskanSEO post!
Today’s Ask an SEO question is from J. Watson in South Africa. He asks:
I need to know how to name the folders and then the products.
- My folder is named: Office Chairs
- The subfolder is named: High Back Chairs
- The Product is named: Kingston Office Chair High Back
My URL looks like this: https://example.com/kingston-office-chair-high-back/
Is this example wrong? Is the keyword chair and office used too much or is it done right?
There are many ways to use keywords effectively in product files and subfolders, but they do tend to get repetitive if you follow traditional “best practices.”
Naming Each Category & Subcategory
A lot of sites use descriptive folder names and descriptive file names, and there is nothing wrong with this if you don’t also stuff keywords. However, this can be hard to do, especially if you are using a programmatic approach to file and folder naming.
Let’s take the following example:
High back office chairs within an office chair section which is within an office furniture section, which is within a furniture section.
If you used every folder and subfolder within this structure, you could conceivably end up with a URL that looked like this:
There’s nothing wrong with this URL. It’s descriptive, it isn’t keyword stuffed, and it’s in a logical hierarchical structure.
If you search for an office chair on Wayfair, you see a similar structure. It has fewer nested categories and subcategories but does place the product within a folder and a subfolder.
Naming Just the Product File
Some sites choose to simplify the URL to only the product name, so it would just be:
Target uses this strategy to place all products within a /p/ folder:
And Walmart does the same but stuffs a bit too much (in my opinion) into the product name to the point that it’s somewhat hard to determine what it is:
Which is the Correct File/Folder Naming Strategy?
Either strategy is fine, especially if you maintain folder structure signals with breadcrumbs or other internal linking clues within the site.
You can see that all of these sites do a good job of this:
Without internal link signals though, you may run into a situation where Google isn’t quite sure what category a product really belongs in. This can be overcome with good keyword and content management.
There’s a school of thought that deeply nested pages are less likely to get indexed or ranked than higher level pages in a folder structure, but this is old thinking that was at one time based on the idea that Google couldn’t crawl all of your pages within a single session, and that’s absolutely not true anymore.
So to answer the question, what you have is perfectly fine, and if another site has a nested folder structure, that’s perfectly fine, too.
In terms of optimization, just try to make the folder/file name clear as to what is on the page, and it will be good – as long as you don’t stuff keywords.
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Featured Image: Image by Paulo Bobita