Structuring URLs for Easy Data Gathering and Maximum Efficiency
Posted by Dom-Woodman
Imagine you work for an e-commerce company.
Wouldn’t it be useful to know the total organic sessions and conversions to all of your products? Every week?
If you have access to some analytics for an e-commerce company, try and generate that report now. Give it 5 minutes.
Or did that quick question turn out to be deceptively complicated? Did you fall into a rabbit hole of scraping and estimations?
Not being able to easily answer that question — and others like it — is costing you thousands every year.
Let’s jump back a step
Every online business, whether it’s a property portal or an e-commerce store, will likely have spent hours and hours agonizing over decisions about how their website should look, feel, and be constructed.
The biggest decision is usually this: What will we build our website with? And from there, there are hundreds of decisions, all the way down to what categories should we have on our blog?
Each of these decisions will generate future costs and opportunities, shaping how the business operates.
Somewhere in this process, a URL structure will be decided on. Hopefully it will be logical, but the context in which it’s created is different from how it ends up being used.
As a business grows, the desire for more information and better analytics grows. We hire data analysts and pay agencies thousands of dollars to go out, gather this data, and wrangle it into a useful format so that smart business decisions can be made.
It’s too late. You’ve already wasted £1000s a year.
It’s already too late; by this point, you’ve already created hours and hours of extra work for the people who have to analyze your data and thousands will be wasted.
All because no one structured the URLs with data gathering in mind.
How about an example?
Let’s go back to the problem we talked about at the start, but go through the whole story. An e-commerce company goes to an agency and asks them to get total organic sessions to all of their product pages. They want to measure performance over time.
Now this company was very diligent when they made their site. They’d read Moz and hired an SEO agency when they designed their website and so they’d read this piece of advice: products need to sit at the root. (E.g. mysite.com/white-t-shirt.)
Apparently a lot of websites read this piece of advice, because with minimal searching you can find plenty of sites whose product pages that rank do sit at the root: Appleyard Flowers, Game, Tesco Direct.
At one level it makes sense: a product might be in multiple categories (LCD & 42” TVs, for example), so you want to avoid duplicate content. Plus, if you changed the categories, you wouldn’t want to have to redirect all the products.
But from a data gathering point of view, this is awful. Why? There is now no way in Google Analytics to select all the products unless we had the foresight to set up something earlier, like a custom …read more
Source:: Moz Blog