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How Bad Is the Shopify URL Structure For SEO?

The efficacy of Shopify’s URL structure for Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a topic of considerable debate among digital marketing professionals.

On one hand, Shopify’s default URL structure presents certain rigidities, such as obligatory inclusion of product or collection directories, that can potentially have a negative impact on SEO.

However, with sound understanding and strategic utilization of SEO principles, these constraints can be transformed into opportunities for enhancing visibility and ranking on search engine result pages.

We invite you to explore this nuanced issue in further detail, as we dissect Shopify’s URL structure, its implications for SEO, and the strategies that can be employed to navigate around its limitations.

Key Takeaways

  • Shopify URL structure is critical for SEO
  • Editing the product URL handle and implementing 301 redirects can improve SEO
  • Customizing product URLs can enhance SEO performance
  • The non-editable /products/ and /collections/ directories restrict customization

Understanding Shopify’s URL Structure

To fully optimize your Shopify store for search engines, it is crucial to understand the structure of Shopify’s URLs and how they can be tailored for better SEO performance. The Shopify URL structure is a critical aspect of SEO, affecting how search engines perceive and rank your site.

Firstly, products are created within the /products/ directory, a part of the URL that cannot be removed. This is an aspect that has raised questions about how bad is the Shopify URL structure for SEO. The final part of the URL, the product name, can be edited for better SEO, making it a necessary step to optimize your store.

The process involves changing a product’s URL handle via the product grid item and implementing 301 redirects to prevent any loss in search engine ranking. This process is crucial in understanding Shopify’s URL structure and its SEO implications.

Furthermore, collection URLs follow a specific format including the /collections/ folder, which is mandatory. Lastly, to enhance SEO, Shopify URLs should reflect clear product descriptions, avoiding use of SKUs or ISBNs. This way, the Shopify URL structure becomes an effective tool for SEO optimization.

SEO Implications of Shopify URLs

Understanding the SEO implications of Shopify’s URL structure is pivotal for enhancing the visibility and ranking of your online store on search engines.

The default URL structure of Shopify includes a /products/ directory, something that cannot be removed. However, the product URL handle can be edited for better Shopify SEO. When making such changes, implementing 301 redirects is crucial to maintain authority and prevent traffic loss.

Moreover, the canonicalized product collection URL that Shopify uses also has SEO implications. It can be optimized by using SEO-friendly product descriptors and updating canonicals on collection-based product pages. This can effectively enhance the SEO implications of Shopify URLs.

The collection URL structure on Shopify allows for nested subcategories within the /collections/ folder. This provides a comprehensive and organized structure, which is beneficial for SEO. However, it is essential to note that the enhancement of Shopify URL SEO requires a strategic approach that includes the utilization of SEO-friendly descriptors and the implementation of 301 redirects for permanently sold out products.

Customizing Shopify’s Product URLs

Building on the importance of optimizing Shopify’s URL structure for SEO, one needs to pay particular attention to the customization of product URLs. Despite being locked into the /products/ directory, Shopify’s product URLs can still be tailored to enhance SEO performance.

The last part of the URL, namely the product name, can be manipulated to be SEO-friendly. This crucial aspect of customizing Shopify’s product URLs involves using clear product descriptors instead of non-descriptive identifiers such as SKUs or ISBNs. Such a strategy makes the URL more understandable to both users and search engines.

To alter the product URL handle, navigate to Sales Channels > Online Store > Themes, then click Actions > Edit Code. This process allows for the customization of the Shopify URL structure at the product level.

Furthermore, remember to implement 301 redirects whenever you change product URLs. This practice helps maintain the authority of the old URL, thereby preventing any potential loss of SEO value.

Limitations in Shopify’s URL Structure

Shopify’s URL structure, while serviceable, comes with certain limitations that are worth noting. Its inherent rigidity, particularly with the unchangeable /products/ and /collections/ directories, may impact SEO rankings due to lack of flexibility.

Despite these limitations, there are ways to work within the confines of the platform to improve SEO performance.

Shopify’s Non-editable URLs

Despite its many benefits, Shopify has limitations in its URL structure, particularly in the non-editable /products/ and /collections/ directories.

  1. Shopify’s URL structure includes non-editable /products/ and /collections/ directories. This limitation restricts the customization of your URLs, potentially impacting your SEO efforts.
  2. To edit the product name part of a URL, you have to navigate through several menus, which can be cumbersome.
  3. Changing product URL handles involves manually editing each URL, a time-consuming task for large inventories.
  4. While Shopify allows you to create 301 redirects for sold out products, it adds another layer of complexity to managing your online store’s SEO.

Impact on SEO Rankings

The inherent limitations in Shopify’s default URL structure can significantly influence your store’s SEO rankings. Particularly, the non-editable /products/ and /collections/ directories can be problematic for optimizing SEO. While Shopify allows for some URL handle modification, the fixed nature of these directories is not ideal. This rigid structure can impact SEO rankings negatively, as search engines prefer clear, concise URLs that accurately describe the page’s content. The Shopify URL structure limits flexibility in URL customization, which is critical for SEO performance. Despite the ability to change the last part of the URL and implement 301 redirects, the unchangeable directories in Shopify’s URL structure present a challenging limitation for online store owners aiming to maximize their SEO potential.

Overcoming Shopify Limitations

Navigating the inherent constraints in Shopify’s URL structure requires strategic planning and a deep understanding of SEO principles. It’s not that Shopify is bad for SEO, but overcoming Shopify limitations necessitates a proactive approach.

  1. Improve SEO by refining product URL handles: Shopify allows customization of product URLs; use it to reflect clear product descriptors.
  2. Implement 301 redirects: When altering a Shopify URL structure, it’s vital to ensure users and search engines are directed to the new page.
  3. Understand Shopify’s collection URLs: They follow a specific format and can be nested within subcategories, which can aid SEO if utilized correctly.
  4. Engage a Shopify SEO expert: Overcoming limitations can be complex; professional assistance can make a significant difference.

Overcoming Shopify’s SEO Challenges

While Shopify offers several built-in SEO tools and features, it’s crucial to understand how to effectively address its limitations and apply strategic workarounds for optimum performance. One of the most significant challenges is the inflexible Shopify URL structure. Due to its rigid system, you cannot modify this structure as you would in a .htaccess file on other platforms.

Overcoming Shopify’s SEO challenges requires a focus on the elements within your control. For instance, you can optimize product URLs by editing the product URL handle, ensuring it includes key SEO-friendly terms relevant to your product. Similarly, the Shopify collection page URL structure can be manipulated to include essential keywords.

Moreover, take full advantage of Shopify’s built-in SEO tools and features. These include features like meta descriptions, alt tags for images, and site maps, all of which contribute to better search engine visibility.

Engage with SEO experts who have deep knowledge of Shopify’s system and its constraints. They can provide strategic recommendations tailored to your business needs, helping you overcome the limitations and maximize your site’s SEO potential.

Debunking Shopify SEO Myths

There are many misconceptions surrounding Shopify’s SEO capabilities that can mislead or confuse users.

In our next segment, ‘Debunking Shopify SEO Myths’, we aim to clarify these misunderstandings and provide accurate insights.

Shopify SEO Misconceptions

In the realm of eCommerce, several misconceptions about Shopify’s SEO practices persist. Many of these misconceptions revolve around its URL structure.

  1. A prevailing myth is that the Shopify URL structure is inherently bad for SEO. In reality, while it has its unique characteristics, it is not detrimental to SEO.
  2. Another misconception is the unalterable ‘/products/’ directory in Shopify URLs. While it’s true that this section cannot be removed, the product name can be edited for SEO optimization.
  3. One more fallacy is the inability to change a product’s URL structure on Shopify. This can be done through the Sales Channels > Online Store > Themes section.
  4. Lastly, the notion that Shopify URLs should contain SKUs or ISBNs for SEO purposes is incorrect. Clear product descriptors are preferable in the URL structure.

Unraveling SEO Fallacies

To dispel the frequently encountered fallacies surrounding Shopify’s SEO practices, it is crucial to delve into the specifics of the platform’s URL structure and its customization possibilities. Contrary to common SEO fallacies, Shopify URL structure is not inherently bad for SEO.

The product and collection page URLs follow a specific format and allow for significant customization, including editing the final part of the URL for improved SEO. This involves reflecting clear product descriptors, updating canonicals, and implementing 301 redirects for sold out products.

Changing a product URL structure may require accessing the code, but Shopify offers a straightforward process within the admin panel. Therefore, the assumption that Shopify’s URL structure is detrimental to SEO is a misconception.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Shopify Bad for Seo?

Shopify has certain limitations for SEO, but these can be mitigated with effective strategies. When comparing platforms, Shopify’s SEO capabilities are competitive, making it a viable choice for businesses seeking online growth.

Is It Hard to Get Good SEO With a Shopify Site?

Achieving good SEO with Shopify is not overly difficult. Effective Shopify customization, strategic SEO strategies, and appropriate keyword integration can significantly enhance the site’s search engine visibility and ranking.

What Is the URL Structure of a Shopify Store?

The URL structure of a Shopify store can be customized for SEO optimization. This involves domain selection, modifying product and collection URLs, and applying SEO-friendly handles. Effective URL optimization enhances visibility and searchability of the store.

What Are the Technical SEO Issues With Shopify?

Technical SEO issues with Shopify include certain platform limitations like inability to fully customize robots.txt file, indexation issues due to the automated sitemap, and potential duplicate content problems arising from its URL structure.


In summary, Shopify’s URL structure, while initially presenting certain SEO challenges, is not fundamentally detrimental to SEO performance. By understanding its layout, recognizing its limitations, and employing optimization strategies such as customizing product URLs, implementing 301 redirects, and using clear product descriptors, these challenges can be effectively addressed.

Therefore, the narrative that Shopify’s URL structure is inherently poor for SEO is largely myth, requiring nuanced understanding and strategic action for optimal outcomes.