URL Structure

How should we structure domain names and URLs so that they are easy for search engines and users alike?

Everything ranging from the number of directories to the placement of keywords will affect the site’s rankings.

Search engines are somewhat complicated stuff nowadays, yet extremely capable of coping with plenty of technological challenges. Indeed, for those who think that bustling with their URL structure does the SEO no good, web developers and SEO experts will be the first ones to disagree.

In fact, poor URL structure is a recurrent SEO concern. It can be pretty grave so much so it can damage website’s rankings, stave off pages from search engine directories, and swallow up ranking clout from other pages on the website, or maybe the entire website.

So hedge your bets and start structuring your URLs to render your website SEO-responsive. Once web developers and enterprise owners have spent the best part of their energies lettering the ideal post, let not the keywords, links and all the rest spoil it for you.

Let’s take a look at some tips to structure your URLs in such a way that have maximum SEO impact.

  1. Use of a single domain & subdomain

Multiple domains or subdomains can confuse search engines. This cracks your links and reduces the all-inclusive credence of your main domain.

  1. Easy-to-read URL and leaving out extraneous characters

The aim is to create a clean and easily explicable URL. This steps up SEO rankings. Also, ideally the URL structure should help with the traffic on the whole. Sometimes, the unconnected and irrelevant characters such as &, %, $, and @ in URLs make it thorny for search engines to trace websites. Leading search engines such as Google has reported its preference for dashes over underscores since it has a bearing on how it interprets the keywords in your URL.

  1. Introduce keywords

Insert keywords if you have the chance to do that. The keywords in the URL inform the search engines about the nature of the webpage alongside giving the visitors a hint whether or not the link is worth clicking.

  1. Canonicalize or standardize to avoid having multiple URLs supplying similar content

This is a much easier concept that it sounds. In case you possess two URLs that are doling out similar content, you should consider 301 redirect or retain a somewhat distinct version of it.

Search engines are programmed to look for exclusive content. Normalization is a good way to curb duplicate content.

URL Strucure
Source: MOZ
  1. Watch out for dynamic parameters

Make sure you exclude them. Most ugly URLs contain more than one parameter. If it’s not possible for you to clean the parameters, reconsider rewriting it as static text.

  1. Keep it short

Who doesn’t love shorter URLs? User experience tells us that URLs that are infested with keywords rank high in search engines. Professionals will not advise you to change existing URLs but do remember the rule for future content.

  1. At least try matching URLs to page titles

It is a good idea to match your page title to the URL though it’s not a strict rule. However, do insert the keywords, brand names or other variations of the title into your URL for a good ranking.

  1. Quit stop words

Drop irrelevant and superfluous words from the URL because in essence, they do not make sense. Again, keep the URL length short because you’re likely to steal away the value and end up weakening the keywords in the URL.

  1. Keep folder count to minimum

Although organizing data is an attractive analogy but you may need to reconsider it for your website. It brings an element of profundity that goes on to confuse not only the search engines but visitors as well.

  1. Be cautious of case sensitivity

All servers react to case-sensitivity in their unique way. Of those, some tend to ignore upper and lower cases, however Linux/UNIX sees both the cases as different content. It is hence recommended that all lowercase be used in URLs to prevent problems taking place.

The above points make up for the basic foundation of creating structured URLs, but we have yet to discuss the significant steps which will help you realize that goal.

  • Combine www and non-www URLs

Websites can have URLs that start with or without www. It is up to you to integrate the both flawlessly so that the backlinks are not disturbed. A non-cohesive website will make your SEO efforts go in vain.

  • Befriend your XML file

A dynamic XML sitemap serves a different purpose than an HTML sitemap. Search engines interpret XML files while people retrieve HTML maps. Of course XML maps take a priority because they escort search engines to your website’s pages, and also offer a reference to search engines at the time canonical URLs are being identified. Both are very much imperative for your SEO.

  • Formatting is vital

Ensure that the format of your URL is optimal. One way to do it is to center it on keywords. Let your site be crawled and give strong suggestions of the subject matter contained therein. Employ hyphens instead of underscores to disconnect words simply because Google prefers it that way.

Just remember that Google, Bing, Yahoo!, and so many other search engines look at three areas to comprehend what a webpage is all about, the first being the URL. Without a properly structured URL, individuals and enterprises can displease both your niche as well as the search engines.

Lastly, enterprise owners that blindly trust their website developers and SEO specialists often disregard SEO considerations. In general, most SEO doctrines meet and even go beyond technical parameters but the opposite doesn’t hold true. SEO must be the guidebook when creating URLs.

Since URLs should prop up highly scalable websites and also fast loading pages, you cannot undermine the importance of rankings and ROI.

Fuss over SEO needs and you’ll end up resolving the conflict between web development and SEO needs.

 

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