Welcome to your guide on the best practices for search engine optimization (SEO). We will be covering how you can improve the structure of your URLs.

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Simple-to-understand URLs will convey content information easily

One of the best ways to organize your site is to create descriptive categories and filenames for each document contained on your website. This will not only help you keep track of where everything is, it will increase your crawlability in search engines. The user-friendly URLs that result from this practice will also ensure easier linking for visitors. Unclear or excessively long URLs may reduce the number of users willing to link to your site.

One thing to keep in mind when you are creating a URL is how the name is going to be shared. You want users to be able to remember it clearly and easily, as well as pass it on to others. Some links may use the URL as anchor text, making relevancy even more important. The better information users and search engines have when looking for your page, the easier it is to find it.

URLs are displayed in search results

In a Google search, the URL to your web document is shown as part of the search result. It will appear below the title of the document and the snippet describing the document’s content. If the URL contains words that were searched by the user, they will be bold.

Google knows how to navigate many different types of URL structures efficiently, regardless of complexity. However, taking the time now to simplify your URLs will increase the visibility of your site to both search engines and users. There are some advanced techniques that Google supports, such as rewriting dynamic URLs to static ones. However, these techniques can be easily mismanaged and may end up causing more problems than they are worth.

Summary

Make sure your URL is easy for search engines and users to find and understand!

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Use words in URLs
The more relevant the words in your URL, the more likely it is that visitors will navigate your site successfully. If the URL is simple, users may feel better about linking to them.

  • Avoid:
  • Using unnecessary parameters and session IDs which can make your URLs lengthy
  • Being vague with your page names, such as “page1.html”
  • Overwhelming the URL with keywords “marketing-site-marketing-site-site.htm”

Create a simple directory structure
The organizational structure of your directory is vital when it comes to site usability. Users should be able to navigate through the site and know how to get where they need to go. Your directory structure can also be used to signify what type of content the user can expect when visiting the URL

  • Avoid:
    • Deep nesting your subdirectories, such as “/dir/dir2/dir3/dir4/page.html”

Irrelevant directory names that don’t match the content

Provide one version of a URL to reach a document
The structure and internal linking of your pages should be set so that all versions of a URL link to the same place. If they don’t it may split the reputation of the content and limit the effectiveness of your website. It may be wise to establish a 301 redirect from non-preferred URLs to the dominant URL in order to solve the problem. You may also use canonical URL or use the rel=”canonical” link element if you cannot redirect.

  • Avoid:
    • having pages from subdomains and the root directory access the same content ( e.g. “domain.com/page.htm” and “sub.domain.com/page.htm”)
    • Using strange URL capitalization; users will remember lower-case URLs better

Next, learn about making your site easier to navigate or click here for how you make use of the “description” meta tag or here for the introduction to SEO Best Practices.

If you are struggling with your SEO

  • Determining if you need to be on search engines
  • Getting found on search engines
  • Getting phone calls and emails leads from your web site
  • Where to start with your web site

Have questions?

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If you have questions or want to know more about the services we offer, please call us at (613)627-3926. Salient Marketing is located in Ottawa, Ontario and has a 12-year reputation for helping local businesses improve their websites with SEO-based marketing solutions. Let the experts at Salient Marketing put their experience to work for you and your company.