Mod Rewrite: Product Name vs Code?

Finally getting close to launch time - hooray! (I think).

I am porting my store from a shopping cart that was difficult to optimize, plus it’s a legacy setup from back-in-the-day. We never created product names with SEO in mind, and now I have a burning question.

Right now, rewritten URLS look like:

Mumbo-jumbo! Other names are better, but many of my products are one-of-a-kind and have names like Branch Coral 15.75" x 12.75" x 21.5" so people can distinguish one item from another. Clearly my product names are a mess as far as SEO is concerned.

I thought about (if possible) finding a way to rewrite the URLS to use the product code, then the example above would be:

Which is much cleaner, and certainly easier, but that’s where I have the burning question.

Is a URL like

going to gain me so much in SEO, that it’s worth hours to fix 900 product names?

By the way, I apologize for the generic storename. I have not pointed DNS at this new server yet and the temp URL includes my IP address and account name. You can see the current live store, with the old shopping cart, here if you want:

Well, I don’t have an answer for you, sorry. But I do know what you are saying. I have a lot of products like the lights I sell that have huge product names. They also have dimensions that are also added to the SEO name. The thing is though is that the dimensions are what separates the product name and identifies them. If I change the SEO name, what should I change them to to still have them make sense? I’ve also wondered about the same things you have said and am looking forward to seeing some answers.

I guess we’ll wait and see.


I checked out your your site (gorgeous, by the way! makes me want a tank again:) ). Have you run across any issues with those long URLs? I thought about something like swapping Blueridge coral 5.75" x 4.25" x 4". with Decorative Blueridge Coral and just giving the details in the short description.

Only problem is that would leave me with maybe a couple dozen things all named Decorative Blueridge Coral, a couple dozen more named Decorative Poca Coral, and so on, and my customers would have to know to look at the sku to get a unique identifier for the piece! Sounds like a nightmare really, makes it hard to shop and people just won’t stick around.


Something to consider, would it be typical for your customers to search for the keyword phrase “endless summer sign”? If this would be typical, then it would be best for seo positioning to display your url as /endless-summer-sign.html vs. /ESMP1512.html

Yes, that’s entirely possible. So, it sounds like a long (but keyword-smart) URL is not going to hurt, and a well-designed one will help. Yes?

Looks like I have some product-name cleanup ahead. Thanks for the tip!


Thank you for the compliment, I really appreciate it.

As for the SEO, I agree with Struck. More than likely the customers will be searching for words using google, etc. and not the product code. So I guess it makes more sense to have the SEO names the way they are. I just wish they looked better and were somehow shorter.