It is said that good search engine optimization or SEO actually starts at the earliest phase of web development. The way that your website is designed, arranged and set up for user navigation can positively or negatively impact the effectiveness of your website. The URL structure of your website is one of those areas that requires focus. This article will feature tips on how to create an SEO friendly URL structure as a means of boosting your ranking and relevance in the search engines.
The Basics SEO Friendly URL Structure
The basics of a SEO URL structure includes the hypertext transfer protocol (http://), the domain name of the website (www.yourwebsite.com), the sub-directory location of the file (/folder/) and the file name that is being requested (page.html, file.php or image.jpg). The whole example would be: http://www.yourwebsite.com/folder/page.html. You have the ability to customize your domain name, the sub-directory and the file name, as a means of boosting your rank and relevance in the search engines.
Choosing a good domain name is very important. It should be short and easy to remember, using keywords, the name of your company or other relevant words to describe your business. The sub-directory can also utilize keywords and phrases that increase relevance to the content contained within, however it is important that it actually is relevant to the content you are providing. Be specific as a means of providing additional navigation to your users, such as /jerseys/ or /sleepwear/, for a website that sells sports-related apparel and collectibles.
The page name that you choose is more important than you think. Not only does it identify where the user is on your website, such as home.html, store.html, contact.html, etc., but it also works to enhance your overall site structure for the search engines. Sub-directories and pages can also be used to fine-tune your products and services even further, using /jerseys/men.html and /jerseys/women.html or women/jerseys.html and men/jerseys.html for specific areas of your website.
Sub-domains vs. Sub-directories
What is the difference between sub-domains and sub-directories? A sub-domain can be perceived by the search engines as a separate domain from your primary domain. This can be a huge benefit to your rank and relevance, but it also requires additional optimization on your part for the search engines. Google uses this approach too for all of their products, such as news.google.com, images.google.com and play.google.com, so it is worth it to try this technique for multifaceted businesses to increase targeting for specific demographics and users.
Sub-directories, on the other hand, are used primarily to separate specific, yet related, areas of your website for easier update control and user navigation. Categorizing and structuring your website by relevant keywords will help your customers find what they are looking for and can help you analyze the effectiveness of your marketing and site design, as these separate directories will show up in your statistics programs.
SEO URL Best Practices – The Customer Comes First
The keywords you use and the folders you choose to house your site content, products and other offerings, should match the content that is found inside. When you put the needs and interests of your customers first, SEO friendly URL structure will naturally occur, and you will receive benefits in the search engines as a result.