SEO and URL’s
Search Engine Optimization requires the proper use of URL’s.
What’s in a URL? For the search engine optimization (SEO) world, everything!
By just having a keyword-rich domain name and creating a sound information architecture followed by proper page naming conventions can speed your SEO success.
Looking at the web you’ll find many sites that make the mistake of not creating a hierarchical flow to their site and fail to use the best keywords in their page names as well as imprudent variables in URL strings. I’ve found rewriting the URL provides the benefit that a properly created URL structures requires.
This is your address on the web and to search engines it is much like real estate: location, location, location.
If you have a keyword-rich domain site will provide you the authority very rapidly. Remember, this authority can decrease over time, but it still doesn’t hurt you. Ideally, we all wish we had a domain name consisting of our most important keywords but for most of us who restrained time and money, we have do the best with the resources we have..
If you are starting to look for a new domain this is a simple process of performing keyword research, defining an overarching general term representing the site, and buying a domain that has no more than one hyphen inside it. In addition, it is recommended that you stay with the .coms and .orgs because they hold higher authority, but it may be a good idea to buy up the .net, .biz, .us, etc.,to protect your name from imposters.
The Importance of Folder Structure and Information Architecture
This is where search engines have been paying more attention in the last year since early 2010 Google often displays URLs with links to site categories in the listing’s URL line. Since then we had major changes in 2011 and most recently the Penguin update in June 2012.
Google does things for a reason when they do, it is an indication of something you should be doing too. In 2010 Google announced that they prefer a sound information architecture. However, for a long time in the existence of SEO information architecture this has been one of the most important elements in obtaining organic ranking success.
For example, if I gave you a three URLs and asked you go to my page selling Data Acquisition Instruments, which of these three URL structures would you choose:
Do you see what I am talking about now? The best way to develop a solid information architecture is by implementing all of the categories with your keyword research.
Let’s suppose you’re demonstrating to a search engine how to go down through your site. In showing the hierarchical flow of the site, you want to record the lower tiers of the site, but you don’t want to make it too hard to follow.
To do this, make sure that you stay within three folders of the home page. By designing the proper information architecture, search engines consider the most important categories on your site and their association of these category’s pages within their parent category. If you do it correctly, you will add keywords to the top-level folders on your site as well.
The Importance of Page Naming
Most people get this wrong, pages named after product numbers or dynamically generated, with no hyphenation between words and focused with on-page SEO tend to forget the architecture of the page. If you are building a page name, you must consider your keyword research or the top keyword for the page. If it’s a product, you should consider a targeted term plus the product name or ID.
Remember, most of your attempts at successfully naming a page will at least be better than a dynamically generated version or letting IT make the decision. Also note, In the past there has been debate over hyphens or underscores in word spacing. Now both can be read by crawlers, although I prefer hyphens.
Be aware not to add spaces such as ” ” the quote signs, because search engines or users tend to reject these and if you leave no space between words it, search engines always have problem deciphering key term separation.
Note: If you’re rewriting your URLs, it may be worth rewriting them to remove the script extension in case you move to a different programming platform down the road. This will help alleviate any future headaches.
Check It Out For Yourself
To this day I still remember when a client is open to a URL rewrite. I’ve seen so much come from this process. With so many other sites are doing it wrong, these feel like a “can’t miss” type of project.
If you don’t build a strong pathway in your site to create relevance to your site’s theme and it’s targeted keywords, how would you expect search engines or users to find or even understand your site?