The structure of URLs and domains is actually one of the fundamental building blocks of search engine optimization. It is very critical to ensure that it is optimal in structure. There are several practices that allow the proper structuring of a URL nowadays. By taking these practices into consideration, it should be easier to enjoy benefits such as higher page rankings, higher conversion rates, and lower bounce rates.
Here are the best practices in SEO that should help make the structure of a URL optimal for both the search engines and organic traffic:
1.Use domains and subdomains.
Subdomains is different from subfolders. Subdomains can help out in providing content to blogs and websites. It can also easily tell search engines how important a content is. If it is in the parent domain, then it is more important. By having subdomains, it is easier to rank higher in search engine page results.
2.Make use of fewer folders.
Though it may not harm your page rankings or SEO campaigns, it is generally better to have fewer folders (generally shown as slashes in your URLs) mainly because you will have an easier time editing your site when you need to. More folders will also affect your visitors’ as well as search engine’s depth perception of your website.
3.Put keywords in the URLs.
It is a solid idea to have your target keyword in the URLs since that makes it easier for visitors to associate your website with what they are searching for. Visitors will know what to expect or what they can see in your website as soon as they see the keyword in the link, after all.
4.Make the link more readable to humans.
The easier it is for humans to read the link, the better it will be for the search engines. If humans cannot understand the link for your website, how can you expect the search engines to do so?
5.Canonical is in, especially if you have multiple sites serving duplicate content.
This just means that you have to canonicalize your links. For canonicalizing your links, you can either use a 301 redirect if you do not have a reason to keep the other site or use a rel=canonical if you want to maintain the other version. The duplicate content will not get you a penalty from search engines unless you do it in a larger scale.
6.Dynamic parameters should be excluded as much as possible.
After all, dynamic parameters can be quite ugly. You better avoid having URL parameters. If it seems that you really need to add these parameters, then consider converting them into static, readable text instead. There should be tools or CMS platforms available these days that can help you out in that conversion.
7.Match the URLs to the content title – most of the time.
If the title is too long, that does not mean that you would have to include the title’s verbatim to a link. Just including those words that can give the visitors an idea on what the main topic for that page is all about.
8.Shorter URLs are preferable than longer ones.
It is not because the search engines will have a difficult time processing the longer links. It is more of an issue with user experience. Visitors will have a difficult time remembering the link or even processing them. That is why it is better to use shorter URLs than longer ones.
9.Redirection is a good thing, in some cases.
However, it is recommended that the redirection hops are limited to one or two times. Having the search engine go for more than two hops can get one in trouble, especially since search engines will see the longer hops as less important links. The redirection hops will not be useful in your search engine page rankings then. Another thing about redirection hops is that you might make a mistake in the middle of it, causing the search engines to be redirected somewhere else, thus affecting your rankings greatly.
10.Hyphens and underscores are now the preferred word separator.
Search engines have overcome their previous shortcoming in this field. Before, underscores are not being read by search engines and thus rendering underscores useless in URL optimization. Now, underscores are being treated the same way as hyphens. What should be avoided now for word separators is the use of spaces since they are rendered as %20 and can make your URLs look awkward.
With these simple optimization tips, you are sure to make your URLs better. After you are done optimizing the URLs, you can certainly see significant improvement in your SEO numbers. At the end of the day, when the SEO reports and figures are coming in, you will be able to experience a successful search engine optimization campaign. And all that is thanks to the fact that you took the effort to optimize your URLs.