Shopify URL structure, limitations, and SEO

Shopify URL structure, limitations, and SEO

The Shopify URL structure is the way products and collections URLs are organized in your store. And the fact that Shopify limits the editing of URL structure has historically raised questions about how SEO-friendly Shopify is.

In this article, we’ll go through a few elements of the Shopify URL structure, including product, collection, and blog URL structures. We’ll also walk through how to change them in Shopify from the default settings.

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Product URL structure on Shopify

Shopify product URL structure can be confusing because it can seem inconsistent and unfriendly to both users and search engines by creating duplication.

Products are created within the /products/ directory, as we see with GymShark:

https://www.gymshark.com/products/gymshark-sport-leggings-black-ss22

By default, though, when you create a collection and add products to it, you also generate a canonicalized product collection URL like what happens on Jurlique:

https://jurlique.com/collections/body/products/softening-body-lotion-rose

Within the Shopify system, you’re limited to editing the final part of the URL, the product name, which is derived from the page title.

That being said, you are able to edit the product URL and its structure somewhat for Shopify stores. As we can see with the GymShark example above, you’re not able to remove the /products/ folder, you can update your product URL handle, and force them to link from collections in a way that’s more SEO friendly.

We’ll include step-by-step instructions on a few options to do this, both within the standard Shopify editor and in a more advanced way that requires updating the liquid files for the shop.

How to change a Product URL structure on Shopify?

To force the product URL in collections, do the following:

1. From your admin panel, go to Sales Channels > Online Store > Themes:

editing Shopify product URL structure from collection page step 1

2. Click Actions > Edit Code:

editing Shopify product URL structure from collection page step 2

3. Under Layout, click product-grid-item.liquid under “Snippets”:

editing Shopify product URL structure from collection page step 3

4. Look for “featured.url”:

editing Shopify product URL structure from collection page step 4

5. Update{{ featured.url | within: collection }} to{{ featured.url }}

6. Click Save

7. Check your live website

If you choose to implement this option, you should also ideally implement 301 redirects in your Shopify store from the collection URLs to the product URLs so you’re not fully diluting your authority, as even orphan pages get crawled by Google sometimes.

How to change a Product URL handle?

To edit the product URL handle, follow these instructions:

1. From the home screen, navigate to Products:

editing Shopify product URL handle step 1

2. From Products, choose an item, either live or in a draft. Scroll down until you reach “Search engine listing preview”:

editing Shopify product URL handle step 2

3. Click on “Edit website SEO”. Scroll down until you reach “URL handle”:

editing Shopify product URL handle step 3

4. Here you can edit the last part of the URL structure:

editing Shopify product URL handle step 4

5. By default Shopify asks if you want to create a URL redirect from the old product URL to the new. This follows best practices for SEO, and should be ticked.

6. Scroll down and click “Save” at the bottom of the page.

How to use product URLs for better SEO?

Shopify URLs reflect the way in which you name your products, collections, blog posts, and otherwise. If the website is organized in a way that makes sense and isn’t too flat or duplicated, product URLs shouldn’t affect your Shopify SEO efforts.

If your product naming is based on a clear descriptor of the product itself, then yes, the URLs will be more SEO-friendly. In part, then, it depends on how you decide to name products, pages and collections.

So if for your products you put their titles in as SKUs or ISBNs — a string of numbers rather than words — your URLs probably won’t be very SEO-friendly. A few other considerations for SEO-friendliness with a Shopify product URL include:

  • If you choose to keep rather than 301 redirect your collection-based product pages, make sure to work with your development team to update the canonical on those product pages. (We go through this step-by-step above).
  • If your product is temporarily sold out, keep the product page live, as Shopify currently doesn’t allow for 302 redirects. You can give customers the opportunity to go on a waiting list to be notified when it’s back in stock if you have that functionality. Of course, clearly indicate the product is sold out.
  • If your product is permanently sold out and not coming back for the foreseeable future, a 301 permanent redirect is probably worth implementing.
    • If you delete a product page in Shopify, a 301 redirect isn’t automatically suggested, so you should create a 301 redirect manually
  • As we suggest with your product URLs, your collection pages should be human-readable and descriptive, rather than, for example, matching your inventory category codes.

Shopify collection page URL structure

Shopify collection URL updates are similar to product URL updates, with similar limitations in terms of what you can and can’t edit. Collections are created at: https://www.yoursite.com/collections/your-collection-name, where what you’re able to edit is your-collection-name. So while you need to keep the /collections/ folder in your URL structure for collection pages, you should be able to update the collection URL handle. A few collection examples include:

  • https://www.allbirds.com/collections/womens-runners
  • https://www.deathwishcoffee.com/collections/single-serve
  • https://www.gymshark.com/collections/new-releases/womens

If you want to have subcategories on Shopify, it is possible, you’ll just still need to nest everything into the collections folder, like we see, again, with Gymshark above.

We’ll go through how to make changes to the Shopify collection pages URLs step-by-step.

How to change a collection URL handle?

1. As with editing product URLs, from Home, you want to navigate to Products.

2. From Products, click Collections:

editing Shopify collection URL handle step 2

3. Once you’ve chosen a collection scroll down to Search engine listing preview

editing Shopify collection URL handle step 3

4. By default, Shopify creates the collection URL from the Page TItle:

editing Shopify collection URL handle step 4

5. If you want to change it manually, make changes in the URL handle field. As with products, a trigger will automatically come up to create a redirect from new to old. Leave this field ticked.

editing Shopify collection URL handle step 5

How to change a blog URL on Shopify?

So the default setup for Shopify blogs is a bit strange, as it’s meant to allow you to have different blogs. So if you call your blog “blog”, you may end up with a structure like /blogs/blog/article-title, which probably isn’t what you were expecting.

If a website only has one blog, many choose “News,” or you can give your blog a branded name, or whatever you like. The /blogs/ folder will stay, regardless of what you choose.

If you want to change your blog post URL:

1. From home go to Sales Channel > Online Store > Blog posts:

editing Shopify blog post URL

2. If you want to change the article URL, as with product and collection URLs, scroll down to Search engine listing preview and click “Edit Website SEO”

3. In the URL and handle field change the URL to what you’d like. The default is based off the Page title.

4. If you have more than one blog in your Shopify store, like “/blogs/news” and “/blogs/journal”, you might want to move an article from one blog to another. In this case, on the blog post page, scroll down to Organization, and click the Blog dropdown.

changing Shopify blog post URL when moving the article to another blog

5. Choose a new blog to assign it to.

6. Click Save.

When you change the blog an article is assigned to, a 301 redirect isn’t automatically prompted, so you should manually add one.

How to change a URL for other pages on Shopify?

As with blog posts, collections and products, what is editable within Shopify for your eCommerce shop is only the final part of the URL. Pages will live within the “Pages” folder structure by default.

If you want to change your blog post URL:

1. From home go to Sales Channel > Online Store > Pages.

2. From the list menu, choose the page URL you want to change.

3. If you want to change the page URL, as with product and collection URLs, scroll down to Search engine listing preview and click “Edit Website SEO.”

4. Scroll down to “URL and handle” and edit the editable text to change the page URL. Keep the URL redirect prompt ticked.

editing Shopify page URL handle

5. Click Save.

Are Shopify URLs SEO-friendly?

Shopify URLs reflect the way in which you name your products, collections, blog posts, and other pages. If the store structure is organized in a way that makes sense and isn't too flat or duplicated, it will be enough for good SEO performance.

While the folder setup can be restrictive and cause duplication, which isn’t ideal for SEO, there are ways to manage that, particularly if you set it up to manage duplication from the start. We’ve shared a lot of the common ways to manage that duplication and restriction of the URL structure in this article.

What to consider if you're migrating from another platform?

Specifically with your URL structure, if you’ve created a very customized, layered folder structure with many categories and subcategories, you’ll probably want to map out ahead of time how that will look in Shopify, with the restrictions around collections and products we’ve discussed here.

Overall, the Shopify URL structure is what you make of it. While there are a few considerations to manage in order to fully take advantage of organic search, no content management system is perfect, often even when it’s a custom CMS built specifically for your needs. Shopify can still be an SEO-friendly option for you and your eCommerce store.

About the author
Nikoleta Kokleviciute
Nikoleta is a Marketing Manager at TinyIMG, an app for image and SEO optimization for Shopify merchants. Nikoleta loves diving deep into digital marketing, eCommerce, social media trends, and creating content that benefits its readers!