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What is product-url anyway?

I keep having to field questions about the product-url field, and since it came up yesterday, I figured I'd try to clear up all the confusion about it.

So the name product-url suggests that whatever you type in there will become the URL of that product. Unfortunately, this is not the case, or rather, not in the intuitive way. The URL you enter there will be used as the URL for that product in Yahoo Shopping, on the built-in search results page, and on the shopping cart page, however, the URL you type in there DOES NOT actually change the physical URL of the page.

What is the URL of a page in a Yahoo Store?

In any Yahoo Store built in the store editor, the URL of a page is the store's domain name and the page ID + .html. For example, in my store at www.ytimes.info, I have a page whose id is rtml101, thehrefore, the URL of that page is http://www.ytimes.info/rtml101.html.

Why would you want to change the URL?

For SEO reasons, it is believed to be better to have a URL that includes keywords. When you simply create a page in the editor, the ID (therefore the page URL) gets generated automatically based on what you type in the "Name" field. This would normally be Ok, however, what the editor does is it sort of munges the words of the Name field together to come up with the id. For example, Book about yahoo store became bookabyahsto. Well, not particularly useful for SEO....

Can you change the URL then?

The short answer is no. Once a page has been created, it's ID - therefore its URL - is set for good. The only way to "change" it is to delete that page and re-create it with a different ID.

How can you specify the ID for a new page?

There are two ways to do this. If you are using database upload and generally manage your store from a CSV file, you can add a column called ID to your data file, and specify the ID there. Or, if you usually use the editor to create pages, then switch to Advanced Mode, then click "Contents", then "New". There you can specify the ID for your new page.

For well established pages (those with good ranking) I would not mess with the URL.

Ok, so what is product-url for then?

When Yahoo Store was transformed int Yahoo Merchant Solutions, one of the ideas was to make it possible to build a yahoo store on the web hosting platform and not in the store editor. Since stores that are built using store-tags on the web hosting platform of yahoo are on a different sub-domain than the store editor pages, there had to be a way to point the built-in search results page, the shopping cart page, or yahoo shopping to those alternate locations. That's where product-url came in. So if your store is built with store tags on the web hosting side, then you can (and should) continue to use product-url to specify your product's location.

You also need to fill out the product-url field if you participate in Yahoo Shopping. All items with blank product-url entries are rejected by Product Submit and will not be included in Yahoo Shopping.

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