Boost URL Optimization Success with These Five Tips
Most people who browse the web do not give much thought into a URL, or website address, other than when they may have to type it out manually (“boy, that’s a long address!” or “hey, that’s easy to remember”). As such, the default mindset for many when they begin their own websites follows a similar path. Unfortunately for those who think this way, the URL structure of your pages can have a significant impact on your page rankings and overall visibility. Before you panic and begin redirecting all of your pages, however, take the time to read the following five tips that can be put to good use for current and future website page plans.
Make It Legible
There are at least two benefits and reasons as to why you should want all of your URLs to be legible entities. The first is from the perspective of human nature and sharing: if we are able to remember the name of the article, for instance, then we’ll be much more likely to succeed in telling a friend about it or typing it out manually from memory. The second benefit and/or reason is that search engines love URLs that are legible and relevant. This makes it easy for Google and Bing to classify your pages; if they cannot read the URLs as basic language, then they cannot use that information to properly classify and rank your pages in the same way.
Hyphens, Hyphens, Hyphens
Continuing along the same lines as the above point, it is vital that you use hyphens in your URL structure above all else. If you were to string the article title’s words all together as one word, then search engines will not know how to interpret that and it will seem illegible. In the same way that no spaces creates issues, using a symbol like the underscore will present similar problems: search engines do not read them. When pinging URLs, it’s simple: always opt for using hyphens to separate each word in the structure.
Isolate Best Content in Root
This will require a couple of tricks depending on where your default directory for content is, but putting your best-performing content in the root folder will further augment its effect on your website. Instead of having a highly-liked and shared article at ‘www.domain.com/articles/march2015/x’, move it to ‘www.domain.com/x’ instead. This is a rather simple structural change to make, but one that will yield plenty of benefit in the long-run.
We’ve already talked in depth about the need for words to be properly formatted in your URL, but one more element remains to be addressed: capitalization. URLs are case-sensitive in all instances, so capitalizing various letters in your URL structure will only confuse and potentially make you miss out on other organic forms of traffic. When everything is lower case, there is no way that you can be blamed for creating a confusing URL structure when pinging URLs to search engines.
Avoiding capitalized letters in your URL structure, promoting your best content to the root folder, using hyphens in between words and not using random combinations of letters and numbers are all great ways to optimize URL structure for SEO. What other tactics have you used to get the most out of this dynamic?